Boris Johnson urges EU vote before 2015

THE government should call a referendum on the EU before 2015, Boris Johnson said yesterday, adding that an exit from Europe would not “be the end of the world”.

Speaking yesterday to BBC 1’s The Andrew Marr Show, the London mayor said it would be “fantastic” to speed up the timetable and schedule a referendum before the next general election.

“I can’t see them doing it before 2015, but all is apparently going to be revealed in a speech that is forthcoming,” he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron is due to deliver a landmark speech in the coming weeks about the UK’s place in the EU.

Johnson – considered a potential rival to David Cameron for the Tory leadership – said that the UK should be prepared to walk away from Brussels if it could not negotiate a new relationship, although he stressed that it was not his preferred option.

“Don’t forget that 15 years ago the entire CBI, British industry, the City, everybody was prophesying that there would be gigantic mutant rats with gooseberry eyes swarming out of the gutters in the sewer to gnaw the last emaciated faces of the remaining British bankers because we didn’t go into the euro,” Johnson added.