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Boris Johnson to campaign for Brexit in referendum

Mayor of London Boris Johnson speaks to the media outside his home in Islington, London, where he said he is to campaign for Britain to leave the European Union in the forthcoming in/out referendum. Picture by Stefan Rousseau/PA
Gavin Cordon, Press Association

BORIS Johnson has declared that he is to join the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

The London mayor put an end to months of speculation, saying that David Cameron's re-negotiation had failed to deliver fundamental change in Britain's relationship with Brussels.

"I don't think that anybody can claim that this is fundamental reform of the EU or of Britain's relationship with the EU," he said.

His announcement - made outside his London home on Sunday - is a huge boost for the "out" campaign potentially giving them a popular figurehead able to connect with voters in a way few other Westminster politicians can manage.

At the same time, it comes as a bitter blow for David Cameron who had long believed that his old rival from their days at Eton and Oxford would ultimately fall in behind his EU re-negotiation package.

Amid chaotic scenes, Mr Johnson insisted that he had agonised over the decision before finally declaring his hand.

"The last thing I wanted was to go against David Cameron or the Government but after a great deal of heartache I don't think there is anything else I can do," he said.

"I will be advocating vote leave ... because I want a better deal for the people of this country to save them money and to take back control."

Earlier, Mr Cameron had issued a last ditch appeal for the London mayor not to align himself with "outers" like Ukip leader Nigel Farage and Respect's George Galloway.

"I think the prospect of linking arms with Nigel Farage and George Galloway and taking a leap into the dark is the wrong step for our country," he said.

"If Boris and if others really care about being able to get things done in our world, then the EU is one of the ways in which we get them done."

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