Boris Johnson builds lead in race to be United Kingdom prime minister

Boris Johnson builds lead in race to be United Kingdom prime minister

The Tory MPs will decide on Thursday which two candidates will make the run-off in which 160,000 party members choose the next Prime Minister of the country, with Mr Johnson, Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove now left.

"We must leave the European Union on October 31st, with or without a deal, so we can begin to unite our country, restore trust in our politics, and move beyond Brexit to focus on delivering for everyone", Johnson said on Tuesday. A new prime minister should be chosen by the end of July.

The EU says it won't reopen the Brexit agreement it struck with May's government, which has been rejected three times by Britain's Parliament.

"Insofar as my words have given offence over the last 20 or 30 years and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them, then of course I'm sorry for the offence that they have caused", said Mr Johnson, previously foreign secretary and mayor of London.

Pressed on whether she would campaign to return Mr Johnson to Downing Street in a general election, Ms Davidson - who is backing Mr Javid for the party leadership - replied: "Up against Jeremy Corbyn?"

All five candidates were taking part in a live television debate on Tuesday evening, two days after Johnson skipped another televised debate despite being the front-runner for the post.

A Stewart campaign spokeswoman said: "Clearly at some point people will need to combine teams. But any team that gets combined, Rory wants to lead".

And a source in the Gove camp insisted the Environment Secretary had no intention of quitting.

The EU has said it will not renegotiate the divorce deal that May agreed previous year and the British parliament has indicated it will block a no-deal exit.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, survived with 33 votes but found himself outflanked by cabinet newcomer Stewart, who was backed by 37 MPs.

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It is not clear which candidate Mr Stewart's candidates will switch their allegiance to, although it is extremely unlikely to be Boris Johnson whose Brexit stance is most opposed to Mr Stewart's.

But following a lackluster performance in a televised debate on Tuesday night, Stewart shed support.

Mr Hunt has been installed as a secretary of state four times and now heads the Foreign Office.

"I am not entirely sure what he believes on this", Hunt told BBC radio.

"You have to think these things through because prime ministers have to make these judgments".

Mr Johnson argued: "If we allow 31 October to come and go as we let March come and go, I think the public would look on us with increasing mystification". "He has star quality you don't often see in politics".

"Secondly, it has got to be someone who doesn't blink". It's a very tough time, we nearly got wiped out in the European elections and in every constituency we've got the threat of the Brexit Party.

Boris Johnson remains in pole position in the battle to be crowned the leader of the Conservative party but Sajid Javid has been eliminated in the fourth round of voting by MPs.

In Tuesday's TV debate, he said it had been a "mistake" to have a flexible deadline, and the October 31 date would concentrate minds on both sides of the Brexit negotiations.

Then when Mr Javid tackled Mr Stewart over his refusal to publicly condemn US President Donald Trump's sharing of a Katie Hopkins tweet, the former prisons minister turned to the camera and said the Islamic greeting "As-Salaam Alaikum".