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Johnson insists ‘common sense’ breaking out over getting Brexit done

UK News | Published:

Boris Johnson seized on comments by Amber Rudd to suggest that MPs would fall in line behind a no-deal Brexit.

Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson during a Tory leadership hustings in Maidstone, Kent

Boris Johnson appears increasingly confident that MPs will not block a no-deal Brexit after Cabinet minister Amber Rudd said it had to remain in the “armoury” of the new prime minister.

The Tory leadership frontrunner said MPs had “time after time” failed to take the prospect of a no-deal Brexit off the table.

Mr Johnson has insisted he wants a deal with Brussels but is prepared to walk away on October 31 without one if necessary.

He highlighted comments from Ms Rudd, one of the leading figures in the 2016 Remain campaign and a supporter of Jeremy Hunt’s leadership bid.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson arriving with Maidstone and The Weald MP Helen Grant (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Work and Pensions Secretary told TalkRadio: “Both candidates have said that no deal is part of the armoury and the negotiations going forward and I have accepted that … the situation is that we are leaving by the end of October, but it would be so much better to get a deal. ”

Mr Johnson said: “I saw Amber saying something rather commonsensical today about having no-deal as part of our armoury.

“That’s been government policy as far as I can remember for the last three years.”

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Tory leadership contest timetable
(PA Graphics)

Former prime minister Sir John Major has threatened to drag Mr Johnson through the courts if he attempts to suspend Parliament in order to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal exit from the European Union.

But at a Tory leadership hustings in Maidstone Mr Johnson said “common sense” would prevail and MPs would support his efforts to separate the UK from the EU.

“When John Major talks about proroguing and all that legal wrangling and what have you … I think actually, that common sense is breaking out.”

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He added that “time after time MPs say that they are going to try to take no deal off the table and, lo and behold, it remains on the table”.

“It’s a pretty adhesive sort of table.”

Mr Johnson dismissed suggestions it was “fanciful” that the October 31 deadline could be met and insisted the country could be prepared to leave on that date.

“We will be ready on October 31 and we’ve got to get on and do it.”

In response to questions about his leadership style, Mr Johnson insisted he was a “glutton for detail”.

He played down speculation that he might call a snap election if he took office, insisting “no, of course not”, in part because the Tory party needed more cash.

“There will be, eventually, an election in 2022.

“But before then what we must do is get our great party ready again, we must fill our coffers flush with cash and we must put out – once again – with greater power and clarity and conviction, our belief in modern, one nation, conservatism.”

Mr Hunt warned that “the big risk” facing the party was “if we approach Brexit in a headstrong way, we end up not with Brexit but with an election”.

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt waits his turn to speak at a Tory leadership hustings in Maidstone (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“There is a big risk with that of, not a Conservative prime minister, but a Marxist prime minister,” he said.

“This is a situation where choosing someone who can pick our way through Brexit, get the details right, negotiate that deal but make careful preparations for no deal in case that doesn’t work – this is truly the quickest way that we will deliver Brexit.”

Mr Hunt said it was a relief that EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier did not secure the nomination for Brussels’ top job as the European Commission president.

And he suggested that the EU had stopped offering concessions to Theresa May because it was apparent she could not get a deal through Parliament.

“They didn’t believe that Theresa May would be able to deliver Parliament for any agreement that was made so they thought it wasn’t worth making the concessions,” he said.

Mr Hunt said that by involving the DUP and all wings of the Tory party in his negotiating team “I will be demonstrating that any proposal that we made to the EU is one that we could actually deliver through Parliament.”

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