Boris Johnson kicks off bid to be British prime minister

Nine of the 10 contenders in the Conservative Party leadership contest  Boris Johson Andrea Leadsom Michael Gove Esther McVey Jeremy Hunt  Rory Stewart Sajid Javid Matt Hancock and Dominic Raab

"In a leadership contest of fairytale tax cuts and unworkable pledges, this promise to get a new deal or leave without a deal on October 31 is the most ludicrous of them all", worldwide development minister Stewart said in a statement.

Parliament has already voted against leaving the European Union without an agreement on divorce terms, but there is no easy way for lawmakers to stop a government that is determined to carrying out Brexit without a deal.

The Brexit secretary, Steve Barclay, said it was a "blind motion" that gave no indication what path MPs would try to pursue to block no deal, saying it would have "virtually unlimited scope".

Conservative lawmakers will hold the first of a series of secret ballots on Thursday on the leadership candidates, who also include foreign minister Jeremy Hunt and interior minister Sajid Javid.

If the vote was successful, they could have used their control of the Commons agenda on that day to bring forward legislation to prevent any future prime minister forcing through a no-deal Brexit.

But the plan did not garner enough support to pass the motion and it was voted down by a majority of 11 - with MPs voting 309 to 298 against it. At that point MPs will be asked to vote on legislation that would make it illegal for a future prime minister to prorogue parliament (end a parliamentary session) and push through a no-deal Brexit.

Brexiteers such as Dominic Raab and Esther McVey have said the priority must be honouring the 2016 referendum result and the United Kingdom should be prepared to accept no deal.


"If we now block it (Brexit) we will reap the whirlwind, we will face mortal retribution from the electorate".

He said he would not pretend everything was going to be plain sailing, adding he believed that maturity and sense of duty will prevail to get Brexit done.

"Around the country there is a mood of disillusion, even despair, at our inability to get things done", he said.

"I don't think it's sensible for candidates to box themselves into a corner on this", he said.

The governing Conservative Party is holding a contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, who quit as party leader last week after Parliament three times rejected her divorce deal with the EU.

Mr Johnson has kept a low profile in the race to succeed Theresa May so far, his only significant intervention being a pledge - immediately criticised by his rivals - to cut income tax bills for people earning more than £50,000 a year.

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