Boris Johnson's team forced to deny he only owns one pair of socks as Tory leadership contest continues

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Boris Johnson's team have insisted he has more than one pair of the same socks (AP)

As Boris Johnson continues his fight to become the next Tory leader, focus has turned to the most pressing issue of the day - his socks.

The favourite to be the next Prime Minister has been appearing at various interviews and campaign events over the past few days and eagle-eyed photographers have noticed something very familiar each time.

Mr Johnson’s snazzy choice of socks seems to have been the same for three out of four days - leading his team to insist he wasn’t wearing the same pair every time.

Mr Johnson has been pictured wearing similar socks over several days (PA)

One of his aides said that the former London Mayor owns "multiple pairs of similar patterned socks” - and puts a clean pair on each day.

Mr Johnson will be hoping to focus attention away from both his socks and personal life, following allegations he got into a heated argument with girlfriend Carrie Symonds at the weekend.

Attempting to get back on track, he stepped up pressure on leadership rival Jeremy Hunt over his refusal to commit to taking the UK out of the European Union on October 31, with or without a deal.

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Mr Hunt has called the date a "fake deadline" and said he would be prepared to extend it if a deal with the EU is in reach, but Mr Johnson has made a "do or die" commitment to make sure Brexit is delivered by the end of October.

One of Mr Johnson's most senior supporters, former leadership rival Dominic Raab, suggested he could legally ignore the will of Parliament to deliver his pledge to leave by October 31.

Former Brexit secretary Mr Raab said a Commons motion passed by MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit would have "zero legal effect”.

Mr Johnson is facing a fight to become Tory leader from Jeremy Hunt (PA)

He suggested Mr Hunt's willingness to seek an extension could open the door to a second referendum, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "This is the question for Jeremy Hunt, if he thinks October is a fake deadline... how long will this paralysis go on for and what conditions would you accept for an extension?”

Mr Johnson has argued that a provision under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade - known as Gatt 24 - could be used to avoid tariffs under World Trade Organisation rules for up to 10 years.

The timetable for the Tory leadership contest (PA)

But Dr Fox, a Brexiteer who is backing Mr Hunt for the Tory leadership, said that would require the agreement of the EU, which Brussels has ruled out.

He said it was essential that the public debate on the issue was conducted "on the basis of fact rather than supposition”.

Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt will face questions from the public in a digital hustings on Wednesday evening.