The charismatic, Conservative mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced he’s backing calls for Britain to leave the European Union.
Johnson’s support for the “Vote Leave” campaign presents a serious headache for Conservative leader and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Cameron has been pushing for Britain to stay in the EU, and only last week struck a deal with the bloc’s leaders to give the UK “special status.”
Britons will vote in an “in or out” referendum on June 23. Cameron argues the British economy will suffer if the country opts out.
In a 2,000-word opinion piece in the Telegraph on Sunday, Johnson said leaving was a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to vote for real change.”
“This is a moment to be brave, to reach out — not to hug the skirts of Nurse in Brussels, and refer all decisions to someone else,” he wrote.
In a press conference Sunday, Johnson said his decision to defy the prime minister’s view caused “a huge amount of heartache.”
“The last thing I wanted was to go against David Cameron or the Government,” he said.
“I will be advocating Vote Leave or whatever the team is called — I understand there are many of them — because I want a better deal for the people of this country, to save them money and to take back control.”