The Europe Report

Meeting: 
MQT on 2014-09-17
Session date: 
September 17, 2014
Reference: 
2014/3110
Question By: 
Stephen Knight
Organisation: 
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Did you have London's interests at heart when you commissioned the Europe Report, or your own?

Supplementary Questions: 

Answer

Answer for The Europe Report

Answer for The Europe Report

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I think the Europe Report was of great benefit, to provide a framework for Londoners and London businesses to think through the arguments, and I hope very much that we will have a discussion next year about the reforms that people want to see from the European Union (EU).  If you look at the European Parliament results, I think most people would be very happy to see some changes to the way Brussels works, less bureaucracy, less interference and it was very important to set out for people what we think the cost benefits are of being in the EU, being within a reformed EU, being outside the EU and so on.  It was a very good exercise. 

Stephen Knight AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  You said earlier this morning that you do not speculate on hypothetical scenarios, I think in response to a question about your own future.  Is the truth not that this whole Europe Report was just that? It was speculation on scenarios, and it had at its core a flawed premise that there exists some fantasy world in which one can be outside of the EU but have better trade relationships with the rest of the world and with EU nations?  Because of that flawed premise, is it not right that this report has been panned from all sides, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Adam Smith Institute and a number of others?  The truth is, Mr Mayor, is it not the case that there is not a panacea outside the EU for massive trade, and was this report not really more about spending £36,000 of taxpayers’ money on a vehicle to enable you to reposition yourself with your Eurosceptics in the Conservative Party ahead of your national future political ambitions?

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No, nonsense.  Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.  No, this is of massive importance to London. 

Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Quickly, because the Liberal Democrats are out of time. 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  People need to understand the pros and cons of membership and what we could win from a renegotiation.  I think Londoners think about it very deeply, they worry about it.  Business in London worries about it, investors in our city worry about it.  They need to understand the framework in which the debate could take place.  This is not a hypothetical consideration.  There is going to be a reform of the EU.  We might as well now consider what London should gain from it and what the best way forward is for our city.  By the way, the interesting thing that emerged from that report, which was actually very widely welcomed, was that there are two good options.  The first good option is a sustained reformed EU, and that would be my preference, as I have made clear.  The second option would be to strike new relationships and to look at the wider world, which is growing in relative importance, as our trading partners.