London Mayor and Conservative MP Boris Johnson has already made headlines for taking a public stance against Prime Minister David Cameron and campaigning for the UK to vote to exit the European Union when the nation holds a referendum on 23 June.
Yesterday evening, his campaigning extended to calling upon LGBT people vote to leave the EU.
Johnson filmed a video message for campaigning group Out and Proud – an LGBT organization that is promoting the message that the UK would be better if it were out of the EU.
In the video, Johnson said, ‘We in Britain have the most progressive attitudes towards LGBT issues anywhere in the world and it’s a wonderful thing to see. But let me ask you Let me ask you a question, did those rights, those freedoms, that spirit come from the EU?
‘Or did it come form people campaigning in our courts, our parliament?
‘It was us, the British people that created that environment of happiness and contentment for LGBT people and it is absolutely vital that we fight for those rights today because they are under threat in Poland, in Hungary, in Romania and other parts of the EU where they are not protected in the way they are in our country.
‘What we need is to take back control LGBT issues and everything else.
‘I’m out and I’m proud.’
The video was shown at the official launch event of Out and Proud at the Light Lounge in Chinatown, London, last night.
Among the speakers were Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, who asserted that leaving the EU would make Britain safer from terrorism. She said that being in the EU meant the UK was unable to ‘share the intelligence we need to keep us safe.’
On the subject of the freedoms afforded LGBTI people in the UK, she told the audience, ‘I understand that you understand why that freedom is so important. I understand, as well that you know, that freedom needs defending.
‘The freedom for every individual, every human being to thrive, to reach their full potential. And to do that we need democracy. We need accountability. And we need our sovereignty back.’
She echoed Johnson’s view, saying that the gains made by LGBT people in the UK were ‘because of that accountability, because of public pressure and because of our parliament.’
Mordaunt’s boss is Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who is campaigning for the UK to remain part of the European Union. He told Huffington Post that arguments claiming Britain’s membership of the EU put it at additional risk were ‘ridiculous’.
Recent opinion polls on how Britain will vote in the upcoming referendum have the vote fairly evently split – with an average of 51% in favor of staying and 49% on leaving, based on recent polls.
However, no major surveys of opinion have been taken since the terrorirst attacks in Brussels this week, and most pollsters agree that around one in five Brits have yet to make up their mind on how they will vote.