Britain must be ready to ’walk away’ from EU, says Boris Johnson
2013-05-09 0:00

By Louise Armitstead | Telegraph

Boris Johnson has said Britain "must be prepared" to "walk away" from the European Union if David Cameron’s efforts to strike a new deal with Brussels fail.

The Mayor of London said that he has "always been narrowly in favour" of Britain staying in the EU and "particularly of protecting British interests in the single market", but said there was also a "real opportunity to get a better deal from Europe".

He backed David Cameron’s efforts to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Europe.

However, he added: "It follows from our desire to have a renegotiation that we must also be prepared to say, OK, fair enough, we can’t get the terms that are suitable, then we will walk away."

Referring to a call by Lord Lawson, the former Chancellor, for the UK to leave the European Union, he said: "Big beasts, large and small, lean, big whatever their dimensions, should recognise that only David Cameron is offering both a referendum and a renegotiation."

The Mayor, speaking on the sidelines at the third annual Global Investment Conference in London, dismissed some claims that Britain would suffer outside the EU.

"This is not for Britain the existential problem it was 20 years ago or when we joined at the height of the Cold War when the European Union was one of those institutions that guaranteed stability in the world," he said.

"The world has moved on. We now live in the globalised economy where the real growth markets are to be found outside Europe."

Earlier at the conference, David Cameron had dismissed eurosceptic fears, warning in a speech that it would be wrong for Britain to "simply leave" the union.


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