Boris The EU Will Not Split Tory Party


Boris Johnson has denied the Tories will split over the EU after the Prime Minister launched an attack on him in the House of Commons.

The London Mayor said the party would unite behind David Cameron after the EU referendum despite signs of a deepening rift in the party over Europe.

It comes as former Foreign Secretary Lord Hague warned the party it could lose the next election if it became embroiled in in-fighting over the EU.

:: Everything You Need To Know About The EU

Speaking on Tuesday morning, Mr Johnson said: “I think one of the big differences between now and what I remember back in the 1990s is that the Conservative Party actually has a much better team spirit, much better feeling about this stuff.

“I”m sure, I have absolutely no doubt  that after this is over the Tory Party is going to unite again around David Cameron”s leadership.”

His comments were made ahead of a visit to a Slough business by Mr Cameron to press his case for remaining in the EU – one of many such events planned for the coming weeks.

Mr Cameron launched a scathing attack on his long-term rival in front of a packed House of Commons on Monday.

The Prime Minister said Mr Johnson’s suggestion of a second referendum on the UK”s EU membership was “for the birds”.

Mr Johnson also criticised a letter signed by 200 top business leaders warning leaving the EU would “deter investment and threaten jobs”.

He accused them of “supporting alarm and anxiety”.

:: Where Do Ministers Stand On EU?

Chairmen or chief executives at 36 FTSE 100 companies – including BT, Marks & Spencer, Kingfisher and Vodafone – were among the signatories.

Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling, who is to campaign against the Prime Minister, said big businesses had called on the UK to adopt the Euro and had it done so that would have been a “disaster”.

He said: “It is also very noticeable that some of our biggest manufacturers – Toyota, Honda, Nissan – all said that it would make no difference to their plans at all if we were to leave the European Union.”

As first reported by Sky News City Editor Mark Kleinman, some of the PM”s closest business advisers refused to sign the letter.

Members of Mr Cameron”s Business Advisory Group (BAG) who opted not to sign include Alison Brittain, chief executive of Whitbread; Jeff Fairburn, who runs the housebuilder Persimmon; Liv Garfield, the Severn Trent boss; Robert Noel, Land Securities” chief executive; Steve Varley, the UK chairman of EY; and Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General.

:: Who Are Team In And Team Out?

Tesco, Sainsbury”s and Barclays are also absent, but the chief executives of Heathrow and Gatwick airports have signed up.

The letter says: “Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs.

“We believe that leaving the EU would deter investment and threaten jobs. It would put the economy at risk.”

The release of the letter is a repeat of the letter from business leaders used successfully during the campaign for Scotland to stay in the Union.