Stanley Johnson, father of Mayor Boris Johnson, says his son has got it wrong with Brexit
PUBLISHED: 12:18 25 February 2016 | UPDATED: 14:23 25 February 2016
Stanley Johnson, father of Mayor Boris Johnson, said his son’s decision to back the “leave” campaign in the EU referendum could prove to be a damaging career move.
Stanley Johnson, father of Mayor Boris Johnson, said his son’s decision to back the “leave” campaign in the EU referendum could prove to be a seriously damaging career move.
Speaking to the Ham&High, Primrose Hill resident Mr Johnson senior stressed there is no family feud, but that he and Boris have simply reached different conclusions on a question of vital importance.
The former Conservative MEP said: “I was one of the first Brits to be appointed to the European Commission, way back in 1973, when Britain joined the EU. I arrived in Brussels with my family and I was the first head of the prevention of pollution division.
“There is no conflict between me and Boris, but because I’ve had this long experience of working on environmental issues, I believe there are certain problems that can only be tackled at the EU level.”
The 75-year-old is co-chair of the Environmentalists for Europe group, and said he believes the issues he campaigns on are of great importance to residents in Hampstead and Highgate.
He said: “We are talking about air pollution, water pollution, waste, and so on. It’s time the voice of the ordinary people was heard.
“It’s all very well for David Cameron to be talking about a stronger, safer Britain, but I also wish he had talked about a cleaner, greener Britain.”
Mr Johnson said that he wants to change the perception that environmental concerns are only the preserve of a wealthy elite whilst most people are more preoccupied with economic issues.
He said: “Bill Oddie is our patron, and don’t tell me that Bill Oddie doesn’t speak to ordinary people who do care about nature and wildlife.
“We have been fighting like mad to save the hedgehogs here in Camden from HS2. There are huge numbers of environmental issues which are of interest in this area.
“Many of the measures we have to protect wildlife have come about as a result of the EU nature protection directives, so that’s why I am sticking my head above the parapet now, because I want these issues also to feature in the referendum campaign.”
Speaking earlier in the week to the Today programme in the wake of Boris’s announcement that he would back the Brexit campaign, Mr Johnson senior said: “I think to say this is a careerist move, I think would be a total travesty. I can’t think of a more career-ending move than to do what he did yesterday.
“He’s leaving the mayoralty in May and if he wanted to get a nice job in the Cabinet on May 8, this is certainly not the way to do it.
“What Boris has done – and I don’t think I agree with this – but what he has done is put on the table what the real issue is and the real issue is, does the British people accept the loss of sovereignty that entails being part of the EU.”