BORIS JOHNSON’S former deputy joined him in the Tory leadership contest yesterday, citing ‘a hunger for someone new’.
Kit Malthouse became the tenth MP to announce a bid, promising to unite the Conservative Party behind Brexit.
The former deputy mayor of London pledged to build on efforts to renegotiate the Northern Ireland backstop. ‘We need to get to October 31 ready and able to take no deal if we want to,’ he said.
‘Those people who say no deal is going to be a catastrophe are wrong, but so are those people who say it is going to be a walk in the park.’
Jeremy Hunt promised to re-open negotiations with the EU, warning that any leader who calls a general election before securing Brexit will destroy the Conservatives.
He warned it would be ‘political suicide’ to seek to deliver a no-deal Brexit through an election.
Meanwhile, Commons speaker John Bercow, who said he was staying on this summer, praised Mr Hunt and environment secretary Michael Gove as ‘extremely capable ministers’.
BBC and Sky News are now planning studio debates between the candidates next month. Treasury minister Jesse Norman and Brexit minister James Cleverly are also rumoured to be joining the line-up.