Monday 22 July 2019 8:35 am

Boris Johnson likens Brexit to moon landings as Tory leadership voting enters final day

Tory party members have until the end of the day to cast their vote in the leadership election, with Boris Johnson expected to be crowned the winner.

Ahead of his likely coronation as Theresa May’s successor, Johnson issued a renewed call to solve the problem of the Irish backstop, the insurance policy designed to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland that has become the sticking point in the Brexit negotiations.

Read more: Cabinet ministers issue no-deal warning as Boris Johnson prepares to take the helm

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Johnson compared the Brexit negotiations to the moon landings in 1969.

“If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border,” he wrote.

“There is no task so simple that government cannot over-complicate if it doesn’t want to do it. And there are few tasks so complex that humanity cannot solve if we have a real sense of mission to pull them off.

“It is time this country recovered some of its can-do spirit. We can come out of the EU on 31 October, and yes, we certainly have the technology to do so. What we need now is the will and the drive.”

Yesterday Cabinet ministers gave Johnson a taste of the trouble they would give him from the backbenches if he stuck to his pledge to take the UK out of the EU with or without a deal on 31 October.

Read more: Tory rebels vote with Labour to help prevent a no-deal Brexit

Philip Hammond, who announced that he would quit on Wednesday before Johnson had the chance to sack him, confirmed he would campaign on the backbenches against no deal, while David Gauke, the justice secretary, also confirmed that he would resign to oppose a no-deal exit on 31 October.

After the results are announced tomorrow, May is expected to hand in her resignation at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday. A number of ministers are expected to resign with her.