EU Referendum

Boris Johnson attacks Cameron's EU talks 'failure'

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Media captionBoris Johnson sings in German

The government should be campaigning to leave the EU because of the "total failure" of its renegotiations, Boris Johnson says.

The ex-London mayor and Leave campaigner said the EU was "virtually identical" after the PM's reform talks.

In a speech in London, he criticised what he called the "wholly bogus" arguments in favour of remaining in.

David Cameron said the UK had "the best of both worlds" in its relationship with a "reformed" EU.

He also said the Leave campaign offered "no answers to the most basic questions" and warned security in Europe could be at risk if the UK voted for an exit.

There are just over six weeks to go until the 23 June referendum which will decide whether Britain remains in, or leaves, the EU.

Mr Johnson, one of the favourites to replace Mr Cameron as Conservative leader, was scathing about the reforms the PM secured before calling the vote.

Quoting from the PM's 2013 speech in which Mr Cameron outlined his referendum plans, Mr Johnson said "nothing remotely resembling" the promised changes had been achieved.

Eurosceptics had been "excited" by what had been offered, Mr Johnson said, but "quietly despaired as no reform was forthcoming".

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Media captionDavid Cameron: UK benefits from strength in numbers in EU and Nato

"If you look at what we were promised, and what we got, the government should logically be campaigning on our side today," he said.

Mr Cameron told the BBC he had "always believed that we are better off in a reformed European Union".

The reforms, he said, gave the UK "the best of both worlds" because it was in the single market but out of the euro, and people were able to travel freely but able to "keep our borders".

But Mr Johnson said the government was powerless to control EU migration because "this most basic power of a state - to decide who has the right to live and work in your country - has been taken away and now resides in Brussels".

The Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP said the UK would not be "leaving Europe" if it quits the EU, as he set out the "liberal cosmopolitan" case for an exit - including starting to sing Ode to Joy in German.

He also reiterated the Leave campaign's desire to maintain access to the EU single market area if it leaves - saying this could be achieved without being subject to the "vast, growing and politically-driven empire of EU law".

In his speech, Mr Cameron said the UK would be forced to accept freedom of movement and pay into the EU budget in exchange for single market access, adding that leaving it would be a "reckless and irresponsible course".

"The Leave campaign can't answer them because they don't know the answers," he said.

"They have no plan."

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