Will Boris’s support for Brexit sway EU referendum result? We examine the evidence

Boris’s father describes decision as “career-ending move”

Boris Johnson campaigns for Brexit

After a tortuously lengthy deliberating period, Boris has announced he will campaign for Britain to leave the European Union.

A large proportion of London’s business community will be somewhat despondent at the mayor’s decision.

Business bodies that have publicly voiced support for Britain’s continued membership of a reformed EU include the Institute of Directors, the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and the London Chamber of Commerce.

Boris is one of the UK’s most well-known politicians and will now become the Leave campaign’s most powerful weapon.

This is a major change for the Leave campaign, which has so far had no-one more famous than Nigel Farage, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith banging the drum for Brexit.

But will Boris swing it?

Polls indicate that the public is split down the middle on whether to remain in the EU or not. This means there is everything to play for in the build up to the referendum which will take place on 23 June.

One effect Boris’s decision may have is in helping to draw many of the undecided Tory MPs over to the Leave side.

The Leave campaign has claimed that more than 100 Conservative MPs may end up joining them.

The other key effect Boris will have is through his widely perceived charisma. Boris is apparently liked by a significant proportion of the general public. He will therefore be able to make an impression on some people if he campaigns hard.

The news has already had major economic repurcussions, as news of Boris’s decision has seen Sterling head towards its biggest single-session loss since October 2009.

Path to glory?

Boris’s father descried his son’s decision as a “career-ending move”.

He said: “I cannot think of any more career-ending move than to do what he did yesterday, in the sense that he is leaving the mayoralty in May. 

“If he wanted to get a nice job in the cabinet on May 8 this is not the way to do it.”

However, all of Boris’s political moves must be looked at through the prism of his march towards Downing Street.

According to the BBC, he even described himself as not a “natural outer” recently, so his convictions about leaving the EU are perhaps not as strong as he would like us to think.

Instead, he may be looking to gain support from the EU sceptic side of the parliamentary Conservative Party – those who will vote on David Cameron’s successor before the next election.

Boris has the premiership within his grasp. But could this fifty-fifty gamble upset the apple cart? It means if Britons vote with him, and we make our Brexit from the EU, he will have been on the winning side and the Boris political juggernaut will continue its journey towards Number 10. If he loses, he will have a hard time winning that lost support back.

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