Boris Johnson has dismissed an article he wrote in favour of Britain staying in the EU as “semi-parodic.”
Johnson, who campaigned fiercely in support of Brexit, wrote the unpublished article just two days before announcing his alliance with the Leave camp.
In the pro-EU article, published in a new book and the Sunday Times, he supported membership of the free-trade zone and insisted that Britain’s membership of the 28-nation bloc is a “boon for the world and Europe.”
“This is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms,” he wrote on February 19.
” The membership fee seems rather small for all that access. Why are we so determined to turn our back on it?”
The foreign secretary’s article for the Telegraph also foresaw the “economic shock” that has since seen the pound fall to historic lows.
He has since defended his comments. Speaking to the press outside his home in London, he explained that he was “wrestling” with the situation and had not taken a stance at the time of writing.
“I wrote a long piece which came down overwhelmingly in favour of leaving,” he said. “I then thought I better see if I can make an alternative case to myself.”
“I set them side-by-side and it was blindingly obvious what the right thing to do was, and I think the people made the right decision.”
The previously unseen article has been published in a new book by the Sunday Times political editor, Tim Shipman, called “All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class.”
In the weeks running up to the referendum, the foreign secretary became one of the most prominent and recognisable Leave campaigners.
The article also urged voters to “think of the future.” Johnson wrote: “Think of the desire of your children and your grandchildren to live and work in other European countries; to sell things there, to make friends and perhaps to find partners there.”