Boris Johnson insists Oct 31 Brexit is 'perfectly realistic' as he's quizzed on past gaffes

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
(BBC)

Boris Johnson believes it is ‘perfectly realistic’ that the UK will leave the EU with a deal by the Brexit deadline of October 31.

Mr Johnson is the frontrunner for the Tory leadership, who on Thursday picked up 114 MPs votes in the first round of the election.

He told BBC Radio 4 that he wanted to unite the country - and leave with the best outcome possible.

He told the World at One: “I don’t want no deal as the outcome - I don’t want us to leave with a WTO deal. I certainly don’t think the promises of doom and disaster are true.

Boris has confirmed he will take part in a BBC televised debate following public pressure from the remaining Tory candidates (AP)

“All those who say we should kick the can down the road, they risk doing terminal damage to trust in politics.”

Mr Johnson went on to say it would be wrong to delay Brexit “at this stage” -but did not confirm if it would leave him space to delay at a later date.

He said: "We have to get out by October 31 and I think it would be absolutely bizarre to signal at this stage that the UK government was willing once again to run up the white flag and delay yet again.

“My commitment is to honour the will of the people and to get this thing done, that is what people want.”

When asked why he wanted a deal, Johnson replied: “Because we can get into a situation where we can leave smoothly with an orderly Brexit and that’s what we should aiming for.

Mr Johnson said it would 'bizarre at this stage to signal' the UK would be willing to 'kick the can' and delay Brexit further (PA)

“The only way to convince our partners that we’re determined to get that outcome is to prepare for no deal.”

Answering if he thought it was realistic to secure a deal by October 31, Mr Johnson replied: “On the contrary, I think it’s perfectly realistic.”

The Tory leadership hopeful said he wanted to leave with deal, telling the programme: “If we have to get out on no deal terms or WTO terms, it’s absolutely our responsibility to prepare for it.

“I think what the EU will see is politics has changed in the UK.

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“They now have 29 Brexit MEPs in Strasbourg. The parties in this country are facing an existential threat from parties that are feasting on the failure of the two main parties to deliver on the will of the people.

“It needs to happen on October 31 and we should get on and do it.”

Mr Johnson was also quizzed on his stance on TV debates following pressure from other Tory candidates - and referenced those that were looking to “trip him up” on past gaffes.

He said: “I’ve always been keen on TV debates and slightly bewildered as I think it’s important we have a grown up debate.

Boris described himself as a "passionate politician" (AP)

“I think the public have had quite a lot of blue on blue action over the last three years and I don’t think we necessarily want that.”

“People will always find a moment where they can say they tripped me up and got me on a gaffe or forced me into some indiscretion of some kind - but I will continue to be the politician I’ve been for a very long time.

“That is somebody who believes passionately in his ideas, someone who wants to take his country forward.”