In a sign that a Tory truce on #Europe is under severe strain before the official campaigning has even begun, the prime minister infuriated anti-EU campaigners by describing Johnson’s idea for a second vote as undemocratic and one “for the birds”.
As the London mayor shook his head and shouted rubbish in the Commons chamber, the prime minister mocked Johnson by likening his idea for a second referendum to a couple who start divorce proceedings as a way to make up.
“I have known a number of couples who have begun divorce proceedings,” Cameron said in remarks that were seen to be aimed at Johnson, who has experienced trouble in his marriage. “But I do not know any who have begun divorce proceedings in order to renew their marriage vows.”
Senior Tories say that the prime minister decided to turn his fire on Johnson because he felt the London mayor had misled Downing Street over which side he would support in the referendum. As recently as a week ago the London mayor told one senior Tory who is helping the prime minister to prepare for the referendum campaign: “I’m sure I will be with you.”
David Cameron has vented his frustration at Boris Johnson over Europe, as he ridiculed the mayor of London over his apparent call for a second EU referendum and came close to accusing him of backing a vote to leave to boost his chances of one day leading the Conservative party.