BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg tweeted that the senior Tory told her they were refusing to back former Vote Leave allies Mr Johnson and Mr Gove in the leadership race. She said: “one very senior Tory is not backing either Johnson or Gove because of the vitriol between them – if one of them wins, the animosity btw them and the loser could ‘destroy the next govt’ they said – desperate to move on from the psychodrama.” It comes as the contest to replace Theresa May kicks off today, with the Environment Secretary launching his campaign.
Mr Gove made a series of digs at Mr Johnson, claiming his Brexit strategy of leaving on October 31 with or without a deal would hand Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Downing Street by Christmas.
He added that if he gets through to the final two candidates he will ask the former foreign secretary not to withdraw from the contest as he did in 2016.
He said: “Mr Johnson, whatever you do, don’t pull out, I know you have before, and I know you may not believe in your heart that you can do it, but the Conservative party members deserve a choice. So let’s have a proper race.”
Frontrunner Mr Johnson is expected to outline his bid for the top job later this week.
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Laura Kuenssberg tweeted that a senior Tory was refusing to back Boris Johnson or Michael Gove
5.40pm update: Tory minister insists Boris will NOT make same Brexit mistake as Theresa May
Kwasi Kwarteng today renewed his support for Boris Johnson to become the next Tory leader, arguing the former foreign secretary would not make the same mistake Theresa May made by delaying Brexit.
He told BBC Politics Live it is “very clear” to him that Mr Johnson would not be writing a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk to request a further Brexit extension beyond October 31.
Mr Kwarteng said: “The reason why we had an extension, the reason why we didn’t leave on March 29 was because the Prime Minister wrote a letter to Donald Tusk which asked for an extension.
“Now, what is very clear to me is that if Boris Johnson is the prime pinister, he will not be writing a letter to Donald Tusk asking for an extension.
“That’s the basis on which the extension happened. If the Prime Minister doesn’t write the letter, then we come out.”
4.25pm update: Gove admits he WOULD delay Brexit to get deal over the line
As he launched his bid to replace Theresa May, Michael Gove said he would be prepared to delay Brexit by “a day, a week or whatever was required” to secure a divorce deal.
3.30pm update: Sturgeon slams “continued Brexit delusion” in Tory leadership race
Nicola Sturgeon branded the race to replace Theresa May as the UK’s next prime minister a “horror show”.
Scotland’s First Minister said: “What a horror show the Tory leadership election is. Tax cuts for the richest, attacks on abortion rights, hypocrisy on drugs, continued Brexit delusion. True colours well and truly on show.”
Nicola Sturgeon slammed the “continued Brexit delusion” in the Tory leadership race
2.50pm update: EU set to use Brexiteers’ plan for Irish border solution
EU chiefs are dreaming up plans for a technological fix to keep trade flowing between Ireland and the continent via Britain in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
European Commission officials are plotting to avoid customs chaos by rolling out “IT systems” to ensure goods can continue travelling across the Irish border, through the UK and onto France if Britain leaves the EU without a deal on October 31.
The secret plans will be unveiled to EU leaders next week, and promise to address the fears of “the most concerned member states”.
Eurocrats have pledged to maintain the so-called “land-bridge route between Ireland and the rest of the EU”.
READ MORE: EU set to use Brexiteers’ plan for Irish border solution, blocking need for backstop
2.10pm update: ’Simmering rage at Brexit treachery’ Tory heartland wants OUT THE EU – deal or no deal
Grassroots Conservatives have developed a mood of “simmering rage” at their party’s failure to implement Brexit and want out of the EU, with or without a deal, on October 31.
Around 160,000 Tory Party members will decide Britain’s fate in Europe next month, in one of the most important leadership contests in living memory.
However, in the Tory heartland of Kent, many of the voters have become disillusioned.
Politico reports: “The mood in the party is one of simmering rage at what they regard as the treachery of an unconsummated Brexit and British sovereignty denied — blocked by Westminster, the civil service and the Tory leadership.”
It added: “The views of the people that sustain the Tory Party with well-to-do fund-raisers and doorstep-leafleting are overwhelmingly Eurosceptic. A large majority are determined to leave the EU with or without a deal.”
Andrea Thorpe, chairman of Maidstone and the Weald Conservative Association, has urged the Government to “get control again”.
Mr Thorpe has dismissed the argument from Remainer’s and ‘project fear’ that voters did not fully understand Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum, he said: “We all knew what we were voting for.”
READ MORE: ’Simmering rage at Brexit treachery’ Tory heartland wants OUT THE EU – deal or no deal
Brexit news: Tory party members in Kent want out of the EU deal or no deal on October 31
12.55pm update: McVey launches campaign and promises to deliver Brexit on October 31
Esther McVey has pledged to honour the result of the 2016 EU referendum and deliver Brexit on October 31.
The former Work and Pensions Secretary has also promised to give public sector workers a pay rise, and boost funding for policing and education.
Speaking at a meeting of the eurosceptic Bruges Group in central London she said: “I want to stand for leader of the greatest political party ever, the Conservative Party.
“My clear agenda is to deliver Brexit on the 31st of October and then we must unite the country, and then unite our party too.”
She added: “Britain’s public sector workers need a pay rise and our police and our schools desperately need cash. That’s what my campaign is about.”
Brexit news: Jeremy Hunt is prepared to leave the EU without a deal
12.10pm update: Hunt prepared to leave EU with a ‘heavy heart’ without a deal
Jeremy Hunt has stated he will reluctantly take the UK out of the European Union without a deal if it is a stark choice between no deal and no Brexit.
The Foreign Secretary acknowledged parliament would attempt to block Britain leaving the EU without an agreement, whoever the next Prime Minister will be.
At the launch of his leadership bid, Mr Hunt said: “I’ve always said I would be prepared to leave without a deal if there was a straight choice between no deal and no Brexit. But I would do so with a heavy heart because of the risks to businesses and the union.
“And I would not do so if a deal that commands the support of parliament was in sight.
“But parliament has made clear its intentions to take no deal off the table no matter what the new prime minister says or does.”
Mr Hunt also stated if parliament could not break the Brexit impasse, a general election would need to take place, and he warned the Tories would be “annihilated”.
He added: “So without a deal any prime minister who promised to leave by a certain date would have to call a general election to change the parliamentary arithmetic.
“An election we would lose badly.
“Because the lessons of the European and Peterborough elections are clear. If we fight an election before delivering Brexit, we will be annihilated.”
Brexit news: Today’s Tory leadership timeline of events
11.47am update: Mordaunt backs Hunt in leadership race – ‘I trust him on Brexit’
Penny Mordaunt has backed Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership race insisting she trusts him on Brexit.
Defence Secretary endorsed Mr Hunt at the launch of his campaign in central London.
Ms Mordaunt said: “My name will be on Jeremy Hunt’s nomination papers today because he has the experience, values and plans to do all of those things.”
Brexit news: Brexiteer Dominic Raab has launched his Tory leadership bid in Central London
11.45am update: Raab insists he is the ‘Brexiteer with a plan’ and Brexit cannot be delivered on a ‘bluff and bluster’
Dominic Raab spelled out his desire to break from the EU by October 31 even without a deal if necessary.
The former Brexit secretary has insisted during his time in Brussels has learned the UK “won’t even get a shot at a deal” unless it is prepared to leave without an agreement.
Mr Raab insisted he is the “Brexiteer with a plan” and said the UK’s departure from the EU cannot be delivered with “bluff and bluster”.
He also vowed to return to Brussels to make a “best final offer” to replace the controversial backstop.
Mr Raab also stated he would restore discipline in Government and bring forward a “Brexit budget” to cope with “this period of uncertainty”.
11.20am update: Raab takes aim at Tory rivals – ‘Brexiteer you can rely on’
Dominic Raab took a swipe at his fellow Brexiteers in the Tory leadership contest at the launch if his leadership campaign.
The former Brexit Secretary stated he is the “Brexiteer you can rely on”.
Mr Raab also took aim at Boris Johnson’s flagship tax cut policy for those earning £50,000 and insisted he is on the side of the “lowest paid not the wealthy”.
11.10am update: Raab says UK has been ‘humiliated’ by the EU in Brexit talks.
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has condemned the Government’s handling of Brexit negotiations insisting the UK has been “humiliated” by the European Union.
At the launch of his leadership bid, Mr Raab said: “We’ve been humiliated in these talks with the EU, let’s be honest about it.”
READ MORE: Tory leadership race timetable: IT’S ON – what next as race officially begins?
Brexit news: Time table of the Tory leadership contest
10.55am update: Hancock rules out no deal Brexit and suspending parliament – ‘I will not have it’
Matt Hancock referenced Britain’s D-Day veterans as he dismissed the idea parliament could be suspended in order to force through a no deal Brexit.
The Health Secretary also ruled out leaving the EU without an agreement as he said it “will not” get through the House of Commons.
Mr Hancock said: “There’s this idea from some people that to deliver Brexit we should suspend our parliamentary democracy – that we should prorogue Parliament.
“But that goes against everything that those men who waded onto those beaches fought and died for, and I will not have it.”
Brexit news: Matt Hancock has launched his leadership bid in Westminster
10.35am update: Brexiteer McVey officially stands in leadership contest
Esther McVey wrote on Twitter: “Nomination papers are in. It’s official.”
10.20am update: Hancock says his Brexit vision is the ‘only credible plan’
Tory leadership contender Matt Hancock has said his Brexit delivery plan is the “only credible plan” for Britain to leave the EU.
The Health Secretary at the official launch of his campaign in Westminster stated now is the time for the country to move forward with a “fresh start” under his leadership.
10.05am update: Brexit ‘uncertainty’ causes UK economy to fall by 0.4 percent
The UK economy has shrunk by 0.4 percent in April following a fall in car production and the “uncertainly” surrounding Brexit.
The economy fell four times more than analysts had predicted following a 0.1 percent fall in March.
Industrial production fell by 2.7 percent and manufacturing by 3.9 per cent.
The ONS’s head of GDP, Rob Kent-Smith said: “GDP growth showed some weakening across the latest 3 months, with the economy shrinking in the month of April mainly due to a dramatic fall in car production, with uncertainty ahead of the UK’s original EU departure date leading to planned shutdowns.
“There was also widespread weakness across manufacturing in April, as the boost from the early completion of orders ahead of the UK’s original EU departure date has faded.”
Brexit news: Amber Rudd has pledged her support for Jeremy Hunt in the leadership contest
9.25am update: Rudd warns Brexiteers parliament will ‘find a way’ to stop no deal
Amber Rudd has warned Tory leadership hopefuls parliament will “find a way” to stop the next leader from taking the UK out of the European Union without a deal.
The Work and Pensions Secretary insisted the House of Commons is a “creative place” and has threatened Brexiteers within her party with the possibility of an election, if Britain was railroaded out of the bloc.
Ms Rudd told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “Members of parliament will find a way to stop no deal and I think that any aspiring leader needs to factor that in.
“I think there could be an election – parliament is a very creative place, and with the assistance of an activist Speaker there will be a way that MPs will find in order to have their voice heard.”
Ms Rudd has already shunned the hardline Eurosceptics standing for Tory leader after she pledged her support behind Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
She wrote on Twitter: “I’m backing @Jeremy_Hunt. These are serious times and we need a respected statesman who Brussels will listen to, not more bluster. Jeremy is a winner with a track record of success in business and in government.”
Brexit news: Sajid Javid has proposed using technology to keep the Irish border open
9.00am update: Javid to pay ‘entire cost’ of new technology to prevent border in Northern Ireland
Sajid Javid has proposed using new technology to keep the controversial Irish border open following the UK’s exit from the EU.
The Home Secretary stated he would be willing to stump up the “entire cost” to make sure there is no hard border in Northern Ireland.
He told LBC: “I would offer to pay the entire cost of this new border system, not just obviously for ourselves, but for the Irish.”
Mr Javid, who is running in the Tory leadership contest, added it is his and and the Government’s “priority” to leave the EU with an agreement on October 31.
He added: “It is absolutely my priority and it has been the government’s priority to leave with a deal because whilst no deal can’t be taken off the table, the focus should absolutely be the deal.”
Brexit news: Andrea Leadsom plans to keep elements of Theresa May’s deal if she was to be become PM
8.45am: Leadson to keep elements of May’s ‘dead’ deal in her ’managed’ exit plan
Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom has said she would seek a “managed exit” from the European Union on October 31.
Ms Leadsom insisted Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement in its entirety is “dead” but would seek to keep “elements” of the deal which is most favoured by parliament.
The former Leader of the House of Commons told BBC Radio: “It is to take the elements of the Withdrawal Agreement that parliamentarians would agree to and that the EU would like to see in place and to put it to parliament and to the EU Commission that these elements are things that would work for all of us and can be delivered by October 31.”
Ms Leadsom added: “The Withdrawal Agreement is dead. It’s been tested three times in Parliament.
“There’s no way that’s going to go through.
“So, what I’m proposing is is a three-step plan to a managed exit.”
Brexit news: Liam Fox has signed a trade deal in principle with South Korea
8.30am update: UK signs post-Brexit trade deal with South Korea
The UK has signed a free trade agreement in principle with South Korea ahead of Britain’s scheduled exit from the European Union on October 31.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox signed the joint statement in Seoul with Korean Minister of Trade Yoo Myung-Hee.
UK-Korean trade was worth £14.6 billion in 2018, with UK exports growing by 9.7 percent since 2017.
Dr Fox said: ”The value of trade between the UK and Korea has more than doubled since the EU-Korea agreement was applied in 2011.
“Providing continuity in our trading relationship will allow businesses in the UK and Korea to keep trading without any additional barriers, which will help us further increase trade in the years ahead.
“As we face growing global economic headwinds, our strong trading relationship will be crucial in driving economic growth and supporting jobs throughout the UK and Korea.”
Additional reporting by Luke Hawker.