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02/21/2016 12:58 pm ET | Updated Feb 21, 2016

London Mayor Boris Johnson Says He Favors Brexit

"I want a better deal for the people of this country to save them money and to take back control," Johnson said.

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LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters) - London Mayor Boris Johnson said on Sunday he would back Britain's exit from the European Union in a June 23 referendum, ending intense speculation over the position of one of British politics' most influential figures.

Speaking to a crowd of reporters on the steps of his London home, Johnson said Prime Minister David Cameron had not achieved fundamental reform of the European Union.

"I will be advocating Vote Leave .... because I want a better deal for the people of this country to save them money and to take back control," Johnson said.

The decision comes a day after Cameron called the June 23 poll and declared his own intention to campaign for Britain to stay in the EU after clinching concessions from other member states that he said would give Britain a special status in the world's biggest trading bloc.

Johnson said the decision to oppose Cameron had been "agonizingly difficult" and praised his renegotiation effort, but that ultimately the reforms agreed in Brussels had fallen far short of meaningful change on issues like sovereignty.

"I don't see how, having worried about this issue for quite so long and having fulminated for quite so long about the lack of democracy in the EU, I can then pass up what I think will be the only chance any of us have in our lifetimes to put an alternative point of view," he said. (Reporting by William James and Guy Faulconbridge)

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