United Kingdom must leave European Union by October 31, says Boris Johnson

United Kingdom must leave European Union by October 31, says Boris Johnson

Striking an unusually sober tone, Boris Johnson, the favourite to win the Conservative leadership election and be the next prime minister, on Wednesday launched his campaign, insisting he was best placed to deliver Brexit by October 31.

For many, the contest for prime minister is his to lose - he has the most declared Conservative supporters in parliament and is widely popular among the party's members, the people who will ultimately choose May's successor.

No-deal BrexitCandidates: (top L-R) Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid; (bottom L-R) Matt Hancock, Marker Harper, Esther McVey, Rory Stewart, Andrea Leadsom.

To a packed room where some supportive politicians were forced to stand, Mr Johnson drew on his past as a former London mayor to try to persuade Conservatives that only he could take the party to election victory, explaining away some of his well-documented gaffes as his desire to "speak as directly as I can".

He said "delaying this does not stop no-deal being the ultimate default end point, what it does it put it further into the future".

British opposition lawmakers failed Wednesday in their latest attempt to ensure the United Kingdom can't leave the European Union without a divorce deal.

"Whilst I think no one has got ideal experience to deliver Brexit because no one has done anything like it before, I think with that experience that I've got outside government and the experience I've got in government..." He added, "Delay means defeat, delay means ruin".

Johnson said a new government with "new optimism" and "total conviction about the way forward" could find a way to find a compromise, although he gave no detail.

"Whether you want to leave the European Union or to stay in, the only way to unlock the Brexit process in parliament, the only way to secure a stable majority in Parliament, the only way to legitimise the outcome so we can build a lasting settlement in the country is to give the people the final say", said Michael Heseltine, a former deputy prime minister.

The former foreign secretary said the time had come "to remember our duty to the people and the reasons for the Brexit vote". Because the Conservatives are the UK's governing party, the victor of the race automatically becomes prime minister - and steps into a paralyzing Brexit impasse which Theresa May has tried and failed to break.

At his launch Mr Johnson was also pressed by journalists on his use of language - including when he wrote in his Daily Telegraph column that Muslim women wearing the burka looked like "letterboxes".

"Any Tory (Conservative) leadership candidate should know that parliament will continue to fight against no deal".

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