Tory leadership candidate Michael Gove says he would delay Brexit to get a deal

Environment Secretary Michael Gove speaking at the V&A Museum, London during the Step Up To The Plate event, where food giant Nestle and major supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose pledges to help halve food waste by 2030. (Photo by Jonathan Brady/PA Images via Getty Images)
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has been speaking at the leadership hustings. (GETTY)

Michael Gove has said he would consider delaying Brexit beyond October 31 if a deal with the EU was on the brink of completion.

The leadership hopeful said he would be willing to leave the EU without a deal but admitted it would be a ‘challenge’.

The Environment Secretary made the comments at the Tory leadership hustings organised by the ‘One Nation’ group of centre-right Conservative MPs, three days before Theresa May officially resigns as Prime Minister.

According to Buzzfeed’s Alex Wickham Mr Gove said: “If we are making progress and are on the verge of a deal, and we’ve had a good EU Council in October and we’re 99 percent of the way there on Halloween are we seriously saying we wouldn’t take a bit more time to get the deal done?”

A combination of pictures created in London on May 26, 2019 shows recent pictures of declared contenders to replace Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May when she resigns on June 7: Britain's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Michael Gove (L) and former foreign secretary Boris Johnson (R) both pictured leaving 10 Downing Street, central London. - The race to become Britain's next premier  heated up on May 26, 2019 as Environment Secretary Michael Gove joined an already crowded field of hopefuls with competing visions of how to finally pull their divided country out of the EU. Gove's bid for the leadership in the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum scuppered the chances of his one-time ally Boris Johnson, who is also running this time around and is seen as the current favourite. (Photo by STF / AFP)        (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Gove will be up against Boris Johnson in the Tory leadership race. (GETTY)

He later added: “No deal would be a challenge but it has to be on the table. It’s not the best option.”

At one point during the hustings, the Tory MPs cheered when Mr Gove said the Tories cannot have an election without delivering Brexit.

According to The Telegraph, Mr Gove said: “Are we going to let an arbitrary deadline be the determinate of what a good deal is?

“If we get to October, let’s say we’re 95 percent there, say we default to no deal. That would be a mistake.”

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Cabinet ministers Claire Perry and Anne Milton have backed the Tory MP to be the next Prime Minister, saying they believed he could unite the warring Conservative Party.

They released a statement saying: “This moment calls for serious leadership. It requires a Prime Minister who can bring our United Kingdom back together and who doesn’t just believe in Britain, but can meet the challenges of the 21st century Britain.

“And in our view, there is only one candidate in this leadership race who can deliver, and that is Michael Gove.”

There are 11 MPs in the race to be the new leader, with Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom and Jeremy Hunt the frontrunners.