The Tory Cabinet minister and former London mayor rejected the idea that the prospect of quitting the EU was having a negative effect on the British currency, as he spoke in Norfolk before campaigning was suspended because of the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox.
Earlier, the Bank of England issued a fresh warning that a vote to leave risked knocking economic growth, pushing the pound sharply lower and sending shockwaves through the global economy.
Asked about the comments, Johnson said: “The pound is roughly where it has been. It is no lower today than it has been in the last few months. I seem to remember the pound fell sharply on the day when I said I was going to support the leave campaign but we have just seen record employment figures and British exports are doing well.
“We shouldn’t be talking this country down. It’s a great country and a great economy. I think it will flourish outside the EU.”
The leading Brexit campaigner also backed a letter from two former chancellors and two former Tory leaders – Lord Lamont, Lord Lawson, Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Howard – that attacked Carney’s decision to express views on the referendum.
David Cameron subsequently said it was deeply concerning that the Bank of England’s independence was being undermined by the leave camp.
However, Johnson told reporters: “Everybody has a right to their view but I thought there was a piece in the Daily Telegraph where some former chancellors seemed to me to articulate the point rather well. I would associate myself with some of the things they said.”
Johnson went on to attack George Osborne’s proposals for an emergency budget of tax rises and spending cuts in the event of Brexit, saying he would certainly vote against any such plan.
“It’s like saying would I support the tooth fairy being given a DBE - it’s a fantastical proposition,” he said. “If it were to appear, I would certainly not support it, I would oppose it but I don’t think it will. What we are seeing is the last fusillade of Project Fear.”
This article was written by Rowena Mason Political correspondent, for theguardian.com on Thursday 16th June 2016 22.11 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010