Johnson takes aim at rival over fake Brexit deadline comments in PM race

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt appear on BBC TV's debate with candidates vying to replace British PM Theresa May, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Boris Johnson, the favourite to become Britain's next prime minister, took aim at his rival Jeremy Hunt, saying the governing Conservative Party would suffer if a new leader treated the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline as a "fake" target.

Johnson has made a "do or die" pledge to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31, saying the government must speed up preparations for leaving without a deal to put pressure on Brussels to offer up a new Brexit agreement.

"If we fail again, if we kick the can down the road on 31st October, if we continue to delay, if we treat this as a fake deadline, just yet another rigmarole, then I think the voters will be very frustrated indeed," he told the Conservative Home website in an interview published on Thursday.

"And I think that our party, the Conservative Party, which I fought for a very long time across this country, I think that we will not easily recover."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Costas Pitas)

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