Boris Johnson (pictured in London today) said if it was possible to land a spaceship on the moon 50 years ago the Irish border issue could be solved
The Tory front runner – expected to be installed as the new PM on Wednesday – said if it was possible to land a spaceship on the moon 50 years ago the Irish border issue could be solved.
Mr Johnson accused the civil service of making the ‘simple’ process of leaving the EU more complicated, arguing that all Britain had to do was rediscover its ‘sense of mission’.
But the scale of the challenge he faces has been underlined by claims that six Tory MPs are ready to defect to the
That would be more than enough to rob the new PM of his Commons majority and send him tumbling from power.
Meanwhile, the EU is stepping up its rhetoric, dismissing calls to renegotiate the divorce agreement thrashed out with Theresa May – and preparing a multi-billion pound No Deal bailout package for Ireland.
In his Daily Telegraph, Mr Johnson stressed the importance of positive thinking in securing Brexit.
‘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.
In a vicious swipe at the civil service, Mr Johnson went on: ‘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 October 31, and yes, we certainly have the technology to do so. What we need now is the will and the drive.’
Mr Johnson claimed there were ‘technological pessimists’ who think such a solution is impossible.
But he said: ‘There is abundant scope to find the solutions necessary – and they can and will be found, in the context of the Free Trade Agreement that we will negotiate with the EU (and this is common to both candidates in the current leadership contest) after we have left on October 31.’
His comments came after the Chancellor Philip Hammond became the second Cabinet minister to announce they will quit the Government if Mr Johnson becomes prime minister.
Mr Hammond, who has been in Number 11 for three years, has been a vocal critic of a no-deal Brexit – something Mr Johnson has vowed to do if he cannot secure concessions from Brussels.
Boris Johnson compared Brexit to the moon landings (pictured) as he insisted the UK can get out by the end of October
Mr Johnson is widely expected to close out Jeremy Hunt (pictured out running in London today) to win the Tory leadership
Asked on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show if he thought he would be sacked, Mr Hammond said: ‘No, I’m sure I’m not going to be sacked because I’m going to resign before we get to that point.
‘Assuming that Boris Johnson becomes the next prime minister, I understand that his conditions for serving in his government would include accepting a no-deal exit on 31 October, and it’s not something that I could ever sign up to.
‘It’s very important that the prime minister is able to have a chancellor who is closely aligned with him in terms of policy, and I therefore intend to resign to Theresa May before she goes to the Palace to tender her own resignation on Wednesday.’
Justice Secretary David Gauke – a former Remainer – told the Sunday Times he would also quit on Wednesday if Mr Johnson enters Number 10.
Mr Gauke said: ‘If the test of loyalty to stay in the Cabinet is a commitment to support no deal on October 31 – which, to be fair to him, Boris has consistently said – then that’s not something I’m prepared to sign up to.
‘I recognise that this spell in Government is coming to an end. Given that I’ve been in the Cabinet since Theresa May came to power, I think the appropriate thing is for me to resign to her.’
The postal ballot among Conservative Party members closes at 5pm tonight, with the result due to be announced tomorrow morning.
However, Tory activists needed to send their papers in last week to meet the deadline.
Mrs May will tender her resignation to the Queen after taking Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons on Wednesday afternoon, with the new Tory leader set to enter Number 10 soon after.