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Cameron defends EU deal after London mayor backs Brexit

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Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 10:23 GMT, Feb 23, 2016 |
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There was heated debate, jeering and cheering in Britain’s House of Commons on Monday (February 22) as British Prime Minister David Cameron laid out his plans for an in-out referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union.

The opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his party, backed by the trade unions, would support Britain staying in the EU.

He called Cameron’s referendum plans a “theatrical sideshow about trying to appease or failing to appease half of the prime minister’s own Conservative party.”

The chamber saw a clash between Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson who has said he would support leaving the bloc.

Johnson, a Conservative member of parliament, is one of Britain’s most charismatic politicians. His announcement on Sunday has dealt a blow to Cameron who vowed to campaign to stay in after striking a deal to reform Britain’s ties with the EU last week.

In the highly-charged Commons atmosphere, lawmakers yelled at the trademark scruffy Johnson to “tuck his shirt in” as he stood to challenge Cameron’s deal.

“May I ask my right honourable friend the prime minister to explain to the house and to the country exactly what way this deal returns sovereignty over any field of law-making to these houses of parliament,” he said.

Cameron told the mayor that his Brussels deal will exempt Britain from the “ever closer union” with Europe.