Boris Johnson’s allies today unleashed a heavy onslaught on Jeremy Hunt’s do-or-dither position on quitting the European Union, in a crunch battle for No 10.
They sought to portray the Foreign Secretary as a “flip flopper” over the date of Brexit, suggesting the EU would welcome him as Theresa May in trousers.
However, former Chief Whip Sir Patrick McLoughlin hit back against the attack on Mr Hunt by Mr Johnson’s campaign chairman Iain Duncan Smith, arguing that it showed the Boris camp was rattled.
The Tory big beasts locked horns as Conservative HQ prepared to send out ballot papers to party members later this week to elect their new leader.
Former party leader Mr Duncan Smith sought to make a clear dividing line between the two contenders over quitting the EU on October 31.
“If you want to leave on October 31… Boris Johnson is the only person who absolutely swears that he will deliver that rather than messing around, or flip-flopping around different dates,” he told Sky News.
He later told LBC radio: The truth is there is a choice who do you believe is most likely to get you out on October 31, one way or the other do-or-dither or do-or-die?
Mr Hunt has said he is prepared to leave the EU without a deal but has warned of the economic harm it could inflict on the UK and has stopped short of putting a firm deadline for Brexit of October 31.