Boris Johnson denies Leavers were motivated by immigration and says the UK will maintain access to the single market


Boris Johnson has set out his stall to take control not only back from Brussels but also of the Conservative Party (Source: Getty)

Boris Johnson wants to keep the UK's access to the single market and does not believe concerns about immigration played a defining role in the vote to leave the EU.

The former mayor of London and chief Brexit campaigner set out his stall in his weekly column in The Telegraph this morning, in the first major vision of what path the UK should take from a leading Leave campaigner since Friday.

"There will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market," Johnson wrote.

Read more: Why Brexit negotiations won't be easy

"British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down."

"Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defence."

Johnson previously indicated he would like to leave the single market if the UK voted for Brexit. He added that the post-Brexit government "will be able to take back democratic control of immigration policy", but he does not believe "those who voted Leave were mainly driven by anxieties about immigration."

Johnson is the favourite to succeed David Cameron when he steps down as prime minister later this year. The MP for Uxbridge was reportedly on leadership manoeuvres over the weekend, lining up fellow Leave campaigner Michael Gove to run his campaign bid and hosting a close inner circle of backers at his Oxfordshire home.

As European leaders urged the UK to pull the trigger on Article 50 and begin formal negotiations over exiting, Johnson reiterated he does not believe there is any rush to set the clock ticking

He added that it was up to Leave campaigners to work together with those who wanted to stay in the EU in order "heal" and "build bridges".