Belfast Telegraph

Johnson: EU exit would allow UK to forge new trade deals and create 284,000 jobs

Leaving the European Union will enable Britain to strike trade deals with some of the biggest economies in the world creating almost 300,000 new jobs, Boris Johnson has claimed.

On the second day of his Vote Leave battle bus tour of the South West, the former London mayor said that Brexit would enable the UK to escape the "protectionism" of the EU which has held back negotiations on a series of major deals.

Vote Leave said that in recent years the EU had failed to complete a series of five key negotiations - with the United States, India, Japan and the Asean and Mercosur groups of nations - because of the protectionism within member states.

Speaking in Dorset, Mr Johnson said that outside the EU, Britain would be able to make its own arrangements with these economies - which EU figures suggest could bring 284,000 jobs to the UK.

"If we vote Leave we will be able to forge bold new trade deals with growing economies around the world. These are deals that the EU has tried and failed to achieve due to protectionist forces in Europe," Mr Johnson said.

"After we liberate ourselves from the shackles of Brussels we will be able to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs right across the UK.

"Predictably, the gloomsters want to do down Britain - they claim we are not strong enough to stand on our own two feet. What total tosh. There is a huge world of opportunity and prosperity out there if we take this opportunity to take back control."

The claims are likely to prove controversial. The Remain campaign has consistently argued the UK will be in a far weaker position to negotiate new trade arrangements as a single nation and that any new deals would take years to complete.

President Barack Obama has warned that Britain would be at "the back of the queue" when it came to negotiating a separate deal with the US in the event of a vote for Brexit.

During a visit to Reid Steel in Christchurch, Mr Johnson symbolically took a steel grinder to a metal placard showing the £350 million a week Vote Leave says the UK pays to the EU.