BORIS Johnson yesterday called for Britain to renegotiate its relationship with the European Union, saying he wanted a new deal based solely on trade agreements that would be put to the public in a national referendum.
“Boil it to down to the single market, that’s the great achievement of the European Union, I think we could easily scrap the social chapter, the fisheries policy,” the Mayor of London said at an event organised by Thomson Reuters.
“That is a renegotiated treaty we could and should put to the vote of the British people. It is high time that we had a referendum, and it would be a very simple question. Do you want to stay in the EU single market – yes or no?”
The decision by the Mayor of London to deliver a major speech on foreign policy at this time will raise eyebrows about his intentions – and whether he is attempting to undermine David Cameron.
The Prime Minister is in the middle of complex EU budget negotiations with fellow European leaders and is expected to a deliver a landmark speech detailing his approach to the EU at some point in the coming weeks.
Johnson suggested that Britain could adopt a similar relationship to the EU as Norway and Switzerland, neither of which are in the EU but still have access to the single market. But the Mayor said he remains in favour of remaining a member of the organisation to influence terms of trade.
“The choice is going to be very simple: it’s between staying in on our terms or getting out,” he told an audience of investors and bankers.
Johnson also used the event to attack Christian Noyer, the head of France’s central bank, who wants to move Europe’s financial centre out of the London and into the Eurozone.
“I see no reason, with great respect to Mr Noyer, whose name I think means to drown, from memory, why trade in the euro shouldn’t continue to be dominated by London,” the Mayor said.
TEN-YEAR PLAN AT TRANSPORT FOR LONDON
Spending on roads to double to £3.8bn over the next ten years, with a task force set to pick priorities in the spring
Around £640m for cycling upgrades, on top of the £273m already set aside
£300m to be spent on infrastructure upgrades. Elephant & Castle, Tottenham Hale and Woolwich highlighted as candidates for a transport makeover
Work to ensure the transport network is more accessible, including making 28 more stations step-free and 95 per cent of bus stops fully accessible
£280m on cutting delays on the Tube by 30 per cent. Details due next year
Ongoing upgrade work on the Northern Line, with a push towards driverless trains
Air-conditioned trains on the Circle, District and H&C lines, with a view to installing automatic trains
200 more “countdown” pedestrian crossings, like the one at Oxford Circus, to be rolled out across London
Fares set to rise by one per cent above the retail prices index measure of inflation, but the Mayor has the final say