Mr Farage has guessed there is a 50/50 chance of a general election by this autumn, regardless of whether the next prime minister takes Britain out of the EU with a deal or without one. And he said he is gearing up for the battle. He told The Telegraph: “Boris says he wants to put me back in my box. So if he wants a fight – hold my jacket.”
Mr Farage also said he had already met major Conservative party donors, who would flock to his party “in droves” ahead of an election if the UK remained in the EU after the October 31 deadline.
He said: “At the moment all we hear from the Conservatives is aggression. Arrogance and aggression. As if it is their divine right to these votes. It isn’t.”
Meanwhile, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg has suggested that Mr Johnson’s camp needs to be careful about becoming complacent 10 days before the next leader is announced.
Ballots started landing on the doormats a week ago.
But only 50 percent of members have so far cast their vote, which means Tory voters are still trying to decide if they prefer Mr Hunt or Mr Johnson.
She said on Twitter: “The suggestion that voting has been slower than expected implies that Tory members have been rather more hesitant in making up their minds than most MPs believed they would.
“Anecdotal evidence still suggests that Mr Johnson is the clear front runner, and Mr Hunt would need an enormous game-changing moment to have a real chance.
“As you’d expect, the information has been seized on by the Hunt camp, the foreign secretary tweeting: “It’s all to play for.”
“That is, maybe, a rather heroic suggestion, but with 10 days to go, the contest to become the next prime minister is possibly more open than had previously been assumed.”
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12.45pm update: Ann Widdecombe blasts Tories – ‘No confidence to deliver Brexit’
The former Tory MP, who is now an MEP for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, pointed out that while the prime minister is set to be replaced the “parliamentary arithmetic” has not changed.
Ms Widdecombe said: “Given that the parliamentary arithmetic has not altered, I have no confidence in the Government to deliver Brexit.”
The Brexiteer insisted that the UK must leave the EU “with or without a deal” on October 31.
And Ms Widdecombe added that the Brexit Party could go on to win a general election following their victory in May’s European elections.
12.05pm update: Now Remainer Lords plot fresh bid to stop EU exit
The cross-party group of peers in the House of Lords have put forward an amendment to legislation on Northern Ireland in a move designed to stop Theresa May’s replacement taking the UK out of the EU without a deal on October 31 by proroguing Parliament.
The proposal builds on the change to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill by arch-Remainer Dominic Grieve which was passed by the Commons earlier this week, Politico reported.
Mr Grieve’s amendment forces the Government to report back every two weeks on attempts to resolve the deadlock on power sharing in Northern Ireland.
The latest Remainer plot threatens to make it harder for Tory favourite Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament as a last resort to leave the EU on Halloween.
11.11am update: End of Brexit Party? Support for Nigel Farage’s rebel party plummets – shock new poll
The BMG Research survey for The Independent put the Brexit Party, which stormed to success in May’s European elections, on 14 percent.
It showed the Tories on 28 percent, Labour trailing by a single point on 27 percent and the Liberal Democrats on 18 percent.
The poll suggests some people who voted for the Brexit Party in May have returned to the Conservatives, heartened by the prospect of a Boris Johnson government delivering a “do or die” Brexit with or without a deal on 31 October.
Compared to a poll by the same group last month, the Tories were up two points, Labour unchanged, the Lib Dems up one – but Brexit Party down four.
BMG Research also repeated the question asked in the 2016 referendum – “Should the UK remain a member of the EU, or leave the EU?” – and found Remain on 53 percent, six-points ahead of Leave on 47 percent.
The poll also found a majority of voters would rather scrap Brexit or hold a second referendum than face a no deal Brexit at Halloween.
BMG Research interviewed 1,532 UK adults online between 2 and 5 July.
10.04am update: BBC attacked over ‘bias’ as Hunt’s Question Time tweet misfires
Contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were scheduled to go head to head on BBC Question Time next Tuesday following their recent ITV contest this week.
However, the BBC confirmed that it had been unable to “reach an agreement” with either candidate.
According to the BBC, one of the candidates admitted concerns about the format whereby half of the audience would be Tory supporters and the other would represent alternative political views.
Quickly responding to the claim, Mr Hunt insisted that he was “not said candidate”.
Although Mr Hunt’s tweet may have appealed to some voters, the Foreign Secretary was savaged on Twitter following the remark and with some even attacking the BBC’s supposed bias.
One user wrote: “Can I confirm the BBC is completely Remain biased?”
Another wrote: “Don’t blame him. QT’s Remain bias is completely unacceptable.”
9.36am update: No-deal Brexit would lead to the loss of “many thousands” of jobs
Business Secretary Greg Clark has warned colleagues to “strain every sinew to avoid that”, with leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both pledging to leave the EU without a deal if need be.
But the men hoping to succeed Theresa May as prime minister face a battle to force through their commitment, as some MPs vow to block any attempt.
Mr Johnson has pledged that he will enact the EU exit by the Halloween deadline “come what may, do or die”, while Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt said he would be willing to delay if a deal was in sight.
Mr Clark told Sky News: “It’s evident that if you have the disruption that comes from a no-deal Brexit there will be people that will lose their jobs.
“It’s many thousands of jobs. Everyone knows that.”
Mr Clark cited evidence from businesses when challenged that some are claiming the UK could weather an exit on World Trade Organisation terms.
“I think every person that considers the evidence that companies have given – whether it’s in the automotive sector, whether it’s in the food sector, whether it’s in aerospace, in industries up and down the country – you know if you become less efficient and your ability to trade is impeded, then of course losing your competitiveness means there will be jobs lost
8.55am update: Mrs May’s words of advice for next Tory leader
Mrs May says she “did everything I could to get it over the line!”
She told the Daily Mail: “I was willing to sit down with Jeremy Corbyn, willing to sacrifice my premiership – give up my job!
“People have asked me: ‘Why didn’t you tip the table over?” But if you do that constantly, it’s like the little girl crying wolf – it ceases to have an effect.’
Mrs May added: “What about her likely successor’s claim that he will be able to secure concessions that Brussels denied her? He clipped response are 12 tart words: ‘The EU have said they don’t want to and won’t reopen agreement.’
She also expressed her anger with hard-Brexit Tories, who are now backing Boris Johnson, even though they refused to back her deal.
Mrs May said: “I had assumed mistakenly that the tough bit of the negotiation was with the EU, that Parliament would accept the vote of the British people and just want to get it done, that people who’d spent their lives campaigning for Brexit would vote to get us out on March 29 and May 27. But they didn’t.”
8.25am update: Theresa May reflects over her time as Primce Minister
Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May has said she “did everything” she could to get Brexit “over the line”.
In an interview with the Mail, Mrs May discussed her commitment to negotiating a deal for Britain to leave the EU, as well as giving her thoughts on the character required to be Prime Minister and the regrets from her time at Number 10.
She pointed to her willingness to work with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and ultimately to lose her position as leader as evidence of the lengths she was willing to go to deliver Brexit.
“People have asked me: ‘Why didn’t you tip the table over?’ But if you do that constantly, it’s like the little girl crying wolf – it ceases to have an effect,” Mrs May told the Daily Mail.
Mrs May also said being Prime Minister is not about power but about service to the public.
She said: “All too often those who see it as a position of power see it as about themselves and not about the people they are serving. There is a real difference.”
7.24am update: Johnson insist ‘common sense’ breaking out over getting Brexit done
Boris Johnson appears to be 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.
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.
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.”