Odds over EU business backing

Boris Johnson has accused David Cameron of a “stitch-up” in a row over business leaders’ role in the EU referendum.A leaked letter has suggested the prime minister met a leading business figure in February, before he concluded his EU renegotiations, to discuss how support for EU membership could be “mobilised”.Mr Johnson said it showed his reform efforts were a “meaningless ritual”.

But the prime minister said his deal had addressed “frustrations” with EU red tape, integration and the eurozone.The Leave campaign says it has the backing of more than 300 business leaders for its cause but speaking in London, Mr Cameron said they were “losing the argument” and there was a “clear consensus” that leaving the EU would be damaging for British jobs and livelihoods.

Mr Cameron is leading the campaign for the UK to stay in the EU in the 23 June referendum, having secured what he said was a good deal for Britain at a crunch EU meeting on 19 February.During the nine months of negotiations which preceded the high-stakes summit, David Cameron insisted that if he got the concessions he wanted to the UK’s membership, he would campaign to remain in the EU but if he did not he would “rule nothing out”.

Vote Leave, the main cross-party group backing EU exit, said the PM had long made up his mind and was “orchestrating” the EU campaign well before the support of the EU’s other 27 members had been secured for the UK’s changes.


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