JEREMY Hunt’s Brexit plan is “absolutely insane”, Boris Johnson blasted tonight in a fiery TV clash.
The frontrunner for No10 slammed his rival as Mr Hunt refused to say Britain would be out of the EU by 2020.
But he also admitted it would be impossible to secure any changes to the hated Irish backstop in fresh talks with Brussels.
In a BBC interview with Andrew Neil, BoJo also:
- DENIED his character flaws make him unfit for high office
- ADMITTED he was responsible for the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch
- REJECTED claims he condemned British mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to years in an Iranian jail
- ACCUSED the telly host of losing his temper
Mr Johnson hit out at the prospect of a third delay to Brexit as he repeated his pledge to leave on October 31, with or without a deal.
He said: “It would be absolutely insane now to say that yet again we have a you know, a phoney deadline.
“I think it’s very, very important that we get ready to leave on October 31, come what may. And we will.”
Pressed on his Brexit plan, Mr Johnson suggested it would be impossible to persuade the EU to put a time limit on the backstop and insisted he would remove it from the Brexit deal entirely instead.
Asked if a change to the backstop would save the withdrawal agreement, he said: “Everybody says that they’re not going to do that.
“What they need to do to the Irish backstop is they need to take the 175 pages of the Irish backstop and they need basically to remit it, to remove it, to delete it and to put the solution to all the issues of frictionless trade across the Irish border and indeed elsewhere and resolve them in the context of the free trade agreement.”
It’s very, very important that we get ready to leave on October 31, come what may
BoJo repeatedly clashed with Mr Neil in the heated telly encounter – accusing him of being “choleric”, meaning bad-tempered.
In the same programme, Mr Hunt refused to commit to delivering Brexit by the end of this year.
Asked if Brexit will happen by Christmas, the Foreign Secretary replied: “I expect so.”
But he added: “Prime Ministers should only make promises they know they can deliver.
“And there’s another reason why we have to be careful about this October 31 date. It is because Parliament may try and take a No Deal Brexit off the table altogether.
“I can’t control what Parliament does and that’s why I’m being honest with people about the difficulties.”
Mr Hunt insisted he would be able to secure a tweak to the backstop which would be enough to push the Brexit deal through the Commons.
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Speaking later this evening at a hustings event in Cheltenham, the Foreign Secretary admitted activists would be unhappy at the suggestion of a further delay.
He said: “I fully accept maybe I’ll pay a political price for being honest with people.”
Mr Hunt is trailing Boris in the race for No10 with Tory activists keen for a diehard Brexiteer to become the next PM.
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