LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, favourite to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May, will commit on Wednesday to taking Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31, warning the governing Conservatives “delay means defeat” at a campaign launch.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
In a crowded race to replace May, Brexit has become the touchstone policy for the contenders, with Johnson, who led the campaign to leave the EU almost three years ago, taking a tough stance to exit at the end of October, with or without a deal.
The former foreign secretary and ex-London mayor has won over many in his party by arguing only he can rescue the Conservative Party, which has been punished in recent elections over the government’s inability to deliver Brexit on time.
And 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.
As in the 2016 referendum on EU membership, Johnson’s message is clear – any more Brexit delays and the Conservative Party risks opening the door to a government led by opposition Labour leader and veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn.
“After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave the EU on October 31,