British leadership favourite Boris Johnson won the endorsement of a key Brexit-backing rival yesterday despite accusations he was softening his rhetoric on leaving the EU.
Ahead of another round of voting among Conservative MPs, former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said Johnson was the “only candidate” who would take Britain out of the European Union as planned on October 31.
On Tuesday, Raab was eliminated from the contest to replace Theresa May as the leader of the governing Conservative Party and therefore as prime minister, leaving five candidates standing.
One of them was set to be eliminated in another ballot later yesterday, before further votes today to whittle the field down to a final pair.
Former foreign minister Johnson is leading the pack after securing the support of 126 of the 313 Conservative MPs in Tuesday’s ballot.
A figurehead of the 2016 referendum campaign for Brexit, he insists there must be no more delays to Britain’s EU exit, after May postponed it twice.
During a television debate on Tuesday, watched by an average 5.3 million viewers, Johnson said further delay would cause a “catastrophic loss of confidence in politics”.