Boris Johnson’s father is proud of his EU stand – despite having an opposing view
- Credit: PA
EU remain supporter Stanley Johnson says that he is proud of his eldest son Boris, despite the pair being at opposite ends of the referendum spectrum, and that the former Mayor of London is doing the nation a “great service” being at the focal point of the Brexit campaign.
He enthralled more than 100 people in Bury St Edmunds by telling them he was firmly behind Britain remaining inside the European community and that Sunday lunchtime discussions with his family often threw up many differences of opinion.
And he added that the importance of the referendum has resulted in an the most “all-consuming debate the country has ever had”.
Mr Johnson senior was guest speaker, on Thursday, at the annual dinner of the Bury St Edmunds Constituency Conservative Association, held at Ashlar House, which was attended by a mixed group of remain and leave supporters, plus local MP Jo Churchill.
The charismatic 75-year-old is an expert on environmental and population issues and was Conservative MEP for Wight & Hampshire East from 1979 to 1984. He is also a former employee of the World Bank and the European Commission.
He is co-chairman of Environmentalists for Europe (E4E), a collection of pro-EU environmentalists campaigning for the UK to remain a member of the EU and attempted a political comeback in the 2005 general election when he stood for the Conservative Party in the constituency of Teignbridge. He came second behind the Liberal Democrat candidate.
Mr Johnson gave anecdotal tales of his life including how he left three of his children alone in the African wilderness to set up camp and fend for themselves and how he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise thousands of pounds for charity.
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However, he delivered a passionate call for people to vote remain in the referendum saying: “Britain has profited quite a lot from the EU’s Common Environmental Policy and as a matter of fact Britain has contributed quite a lot to it.
“What really is the difference between me and Boris though is that I want us to stay in there... to fight to get the right sort of deal for the country. Immigration is a big issue and needs to be sorted out and my line is it would be good for us to stay in but I think Europe needs us to help sort it out for them.
“There’s this huge mass of people in the expanded Europe and it’s not just Britain’s problem it is Europe’s and we should continue to fight and help sort it out.
“We also need to deal with the Eurozone which is dragging the continent down and we should be able to get it in the right direction.”
And he concluded by giving praise to his son by saying: “I think Boris did the nation a great service when he said ‘no’ I am going to raise the flag for the other side and I think this is going to be an interesting and all consuming debate the country has ever had.”