Boris Johnson is willing to make an offer to the European Union over post-Brexit free trade, but if his offer is rejected, Britain will leave the EU without a deal, the head of his Tory leadership campaign has said.
Iain Duncan Smith, Johnson’s campaign chair, told Sky News his candidate would tell the EU Britain was leaving on 31 October “come what may”.
“With Boris, what he’s actually said clearly is: ‘We’re not going to go back and renegotiate’,” Duncan Smith said.
“What we’re going to do is we will put a different offer down and say to them: ‘Look – we want to get to free trade. Now we can either start talking about that now if you are serious and you want to have a process that means we don’t end up … with tariffs etcetera after the 31st – if that’s what you want, the EU, then we are prepared to talk,” he continued.
“But if all you are interested in doing is saying: ‘All you can have is this deal’, then the answer is: we will be prepared to leave on the 31st.”
Both Johnson and his rival Jeremy Hunt have both been ramping up their no-deal rhetoric as they seek to win the backing of Conservative members. Launching his Brexit plan yesterday, Hunt said he would decide by 30 September whether or not to continue negotiations with the EU or to pursue a no-deal Brexit.
The two candidates are attending Tory leadership hustings in Belfast today.