JEREMY HUNT has sensationally suggested Brexit could be stopped and the Conservative Party collapse unless Tory members make the right choice for their next leader.
Conservative members area currently choosing between Mr Hunt and Boris Johnson for their next leader. Theresa May’s successor will be announced later this month. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph Mr Hunt appeared to suggest Brexit might not happen if Mr Johnson wins.
Addressing Conservative members he said: “Your decision at the ballot box has rarely mattered more.
“Get this wrong and we risk no Brexit, no Conservative Government and maybe even no Conservative Party.
“Poll after poll shows I am best placed to best Corbyn’s Labour because I appeal to people who might vote Conservative not just those who already do.”
Both Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson insist they are the best placed candidate to ensure the UK leaves the EU on October 31 as planned.
However whilst Mr Johnson has ruled out any delay Mr Hunt has suggested he would accept a brief extension if needed to secure a decent Brexit deal.
Both candidates have vowed to renegotiate Mrs May’s EU exit agreement to amend or remove the Northern Ireland backstop, which could see the UK stuck in a customs union with the EU.
However senior EU figures are currently insisting the backstop must remain.
Mr Hunt added: “The quickest way to leave is not by offering a deadline Parliament could stop but by negotiating a deal it will accept.
“Then we must unite.
“The great genius of our party is that we are a broad and tolerant church with both radical and one nation traditions.”
However Mr Johnson has questioned Mr Hunt’s commitment to Brexit, noting he campaigned for ‘Remain’ in 2016.
The Labour Party has committed to backing a referendum on any Brexit agreement, with remaining in the EU as one of the options.