The Conservative Party is “toast” if the UK has not left the EU by the current October 31 deadline, Dominic Raab has said.
Speaking to Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday programme, the Tory leadership candidate accused his rivals in the race of going “weak at the knees”.
Jeremy Hunt, who is running second in the contest behind Boris Johnson, meanwhile suggested Brexit could be delayed under his leadership beyond the end of the year if there was the “prospect” of a deal being signed.
The foreign secretary said he was “not committing to a October 31 hard stop” as advocated by Johnson and Raab.
Raab today defended his refusal to rule out suspending parliament in order to prevent MPs from blocking a no-deal Brexit.
“The Tory Party will be toast unless we are out by the end of October. The Conservatives cannot win an election unless we have delivered Brexit,” he said.
We gave people a decision. Now Parliament is trying to steal it back away from them. When people voted, they voted to leave.”
He added: “The big mistake we made in these negotiations was taking no-deal off the table. When we start ruling things out we only weaken our chances of getting a deal.
Raab, Hunt, Rory Stewart, Sajid Javid and Michael Gove have shown no sign they will pull out of the race for No 10, despite Johnson’s overwhelming win in the first ballot.
Johnson goes into the second week of the campaign the clear favourite to succeed Theresa May.
But he has faced criticism over his reluctance to face media scrutiny. Johnson has made clear he will not take part in the first television debate being staged on Sunday by Channel 4.
He has, however, indicated he will participate in a BBC debate on Tuesday when the number of contenders will have been further whittled down.
Stewart warned that Johnson’s reluctance to submit to media scrutiny was undermining trust in politics.
“How is Boris going to deliver Brexit? He keeps saying ‘I am going to deliver it’. I don’t even know what he believes. He won’t talk to me. He won’t talk to you. He won’t talk to the public,” he told Marr.