Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt ruled out calling another general election, agreeing that the next UK prime minister must first prioritise Britain’s departure from the EU. The two rivals said the best way to improve the Tory’s polling rankings, and chances of winning the next election, was to deliver Brexit. When speaking to party members in east London last night, Mr Hunt said it was vital to prove that: “We are still a great democracy that does what the people tell us to do.”
Mr Johnson ruled out a deal with the Brexit Party if Parliament was unable to pass a deal or back a no deal exit.
He said: “I don’t think the Conservative Party should do deals with any other parties.”
When asked directly about forming a pact with Mr Farage, after an audience member shouted he “does not share our values”, Mr Johnson said: “Yes, I rule it out”.
Mr Johnson, who is currently the frontrunner in the Tory leadership race, said he was confident of his ability to renegotiate a withdrawal deal with Brussels, that would then be approved by Parliament.
He said: “We have friends in Brussels, plenty of people who will want to negotiate with us throughout the summer.
“If there is a refusal to compromise, if they won’t change a dot or a comma of this withdrawal agreement, then obviously we have no choice than to come out on different terms and that’s what we’ll do.”
The foreign secretary also said he was confident he could renegotiate the current Brexit deal.
But despite the two rivals renegotiation plans, EU chiefs have repeatedly stated Theresa May’s withdrawal deal will not be renegotiated with a new prime minister.
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10.33am update: Speaker John Bercow has selected amendment to stop Parliament being prorogued
John Bercow has selected the cross-party amendment which aims to stop Boris Johnson, if he wins the Tory leadership, from suspending Parliament to get Brexit through.
10.11am update: Tory MP says Johnson is a more ‘charismatic leader’
Tory MP Robert Buckland says the party needs the “charismatic” Boris Johnson to take over as leader of the party.
He says the party is going through “extraordinary” times and charisma is therefore required.
9.27am update: Hunt urged Brussels to look for a ‘solution’ to the Brexit impasse
The Foreign Secretary has urged Brussels to seek a “solution” to the current Brexit impasse.
Speaking on the Today Programme, he said: “I understand Michel Barnier’s frustration and indeed his disappointment that his deal has essentially failed.
“But if you’re looking for a solution – and he used the word solution – then what you don’t do is say ‘Here is a 600-page deal that has failed to get through Parliament three times’ and say ‘I’m sorry it’s my way or the highway, take it or leave it’.
“You won’t get a solution if that happens.
“The way to get through the impasse is to learn from what went wrong.”
8.55am update: Hunt vows to turn Johnson coronation ‘into an upset’
Speaking on ITV’s GMB this morning, Mr Hunt said: “What I said when I got to the final two was I was going to turn a coronation into an upset.
“Look what’s happened recently – we are in an era when unexpected things happen.
“The momentum is coming to me, but no one really knows because they can’t speak to 160,000 Conservative Party members.”
8.47am update: Hunt says the Irish backstop will be scrapped
Mr Hunt has said there is “no way” the Irish backstop will ever pass through Parliament.
He said: “The backstop isn’t going to happen.
“It’s failed to get through Parliament three times, there is no way it is going to ever get through Parliament, and so the question is are we going to look for a solution or not?
“And I think that wiser heads in Europe recognise that this is a constitutional crisis – not just for the UK – but for Europe as well.”
8.24am update: EU chief says the UK is unprepared to leave without a deal
Martin Selmayr, the European Commission’s top ifficial, has said the UK is unprepared to leave without a deal.
Speaking on BBCs Panorama, he said: “We have seen what has been prepared on our side of the border for a hard Brexit.
“We don’t see the same level of preparation on the other side of the border.”
8.10am update: MPs consider resigning to stop Parliament being suspended
In a last ditch attempt to stop a no deal Brexit, MPs MPs are considered resigning to prevent it from happening.
The rumours emerged after Mr Johnson refused to rule out shutting down Parliament in order to force through a no deal Brexit by October 31.
As a result, some ministers are rumoured to be considering resigning in order to back efforts to prevent a no deal exit, if a free vote on the issue is not offered by Theresa May.
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve plans to reintroduce an amendment in the Commons today, which would ensure Parliament cannot be prorogued in October.
If Mr Grieve secures the vote, it is through some rebels, including Sam Gyimah MP, would resign in order to back him.
7.59am update: Boris Johnson crushes no deal Brexit fears
Mr Johnson has insisted that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, his Government will be able to cope with any potential ramifications.
Asked to present his plan on Peston, Mr Johnson insisted that his Government will provide a “confident” plan on how to go forward.
The former Foreign Secretary announced that under his watch, the Government would provide “assurances” for everyone affected by Brexit.
7.54am update: Jeremy Hunt asks members to ‘vote with your heads and your hearts’
During the final hustings event last night, Jeremy Hunt asked members to “vote with your heads as well as your hearts” as he declared: “This race is much closer than people think”.
The foreign secreatry still believes he could sneak a victory against his opponent Boris Johnson, who has been the frontrunner throughout the campaign.