Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected suggestions that a "leave" vote in the forthcoming referendum on Britain's relationship with the European Union would lead to a second referendum, in an attack on London mayor Boris Johnson and other eurosceptics.
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, Cameron said that campaigning for the UK to leave the EU, with the hopes of using an initial "leave" result to trigger another EU renegotiation process and referendum, "ignores more profound points about democracy, diplomacy and legality".
"I won’t dwell on the irony that some people who want to vote to leave – apparently want to use a leave vote to remain," Cameron said in a prepared statement setting out his case for why the UK should remain in the EU.
"This is a straight democratic decision, staying in or leaving, and no government can ignore that," Cameron said, adding that a second renegotiation followed by a second referendum was "not on the ballot paper".
Read more: Everything you need to know about Brexit
The idea of two referendums has been floated by Dominic Cummings, justice secretary Michael Gove's former special adviser who is now the campaign director of the eurosceptic Vote Leave group. Johnson has also flirted with the idea in the past, and in his weekly column in the Daily Telegraph out last night, the mayor indicated he was still open to the proposition, writing: "There is only one way to get the change we need, and that is to vote to go, because all EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says no."
Johnson, who only revealed last night that he would campaign for the UK to leave the EU, asked the Prime Minister following his statement today to explain "in exactly what way this deal returns sovereignty" to the UK parliament – a question Cameron quickly dismissed, saying he had secured additional powers with respect to welfare, immigration and bailouts, among other issues.
The mayor was just one of multiple eurosceptic Tories who grilled the Prime Minister on the EU reform deal.
Cameron separately faced tough questions from an influential group of MPs earlier today, when Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chairs the Liaison Committee, wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to publish an analysis of the overall costs and benefits of the UK's membership of the EU.
Tyrie also said that he expected Cameron would give evidence to the committee in the run-up to the referendum on 23 June.
Commenting on the correspondence, Tyrie said: "The debate on the Scottish referendum was informed by a detailed, written analysis of what, in the government’s view, was at stake. The government should produce a similar analysis for the EU referendum, and the sooner the better.
"The Liaison Committee – the Committee of Committee Chairmen – will want to cross examine the Prime Minister on the referendum and the deal which, on behalf of Britain, he has just negotiated," Tyrie added. "The Committee are looking forward to him agreeing a date soon."