BORIS Johnson tonight warned the Tories face “extinction” if they fail to deliver Brexit.
The frontrunner told “One Nation” moderate Tory MPs the party had to realise the “depth of problems we face”.
And in the first hustings of the contest, the former Foreign Secretary said: “Unless we get on and do this thing, we will be punished for a very long time.
“There is a very real choice between getting Brexit done – and the potential extinction of this great party.”
Mr Johnson insisted he would step up No Deal preparation from the moment he enters No10, wouldn’t call a General Election to solve the Brexit logjam and would fight a second referendum “with every fibre of my body”.
He added: “The way to win in any seat is to stop banging on about Brexit, and put that bawling baby to bed, pacify it and recapture the political agenda with One Nation conservatism.”
We are facing an existential crisis
Boris concluded: “We are facing an existential crisis and will not be forgiven if we do not deliver Brexit on October 31.
“I believe I am best placed to lift this party, beat Jeremy Corbyn and put Farage back in his box.”
He insisted he doesn’t want to pursue a No Deal Brexit but predicted the threat of it would help shift the EU’s position.
Mr Johnson told MPs: “The more determined we are to pursue No Deal the less likely we will have to deploy it. I do not want it. But to have an orderly exit from the EU it is vital you prepare.”
The former Foreign Secretary said that the Northern Ireland backstop was “simply not viable” and his hope was to use the Brady amendment as the basis for a “managed exit”.
Watching MPs claimed he won over many sceptical listeners. Ex-Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said afterwards: “He is the one who can save the party.”
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The heavyweight followed Home Secretary Sajid Javid who won applause from the MPs by telling them: “We will not beat the Brexit Party by becoming the Brexit Party.”
Billing himself as an outsider, he told the MPs, mainly Europhile Tories, that while he’d keep No Deal on the table, a deal with the EU was the “responsible” course to take.
Aid Secretary Rory Stewart – a rank outsider who has toured the country to post a series of social media clips – insisted he had no intention of pulling out of the race.
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