Theresa May takes swipe at front-runner Boris Johnson

Tory leadership

Tory leadership

Ahead of the last hustings in the region time is running out for Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his predecessor Boris Johnson to win over party members.

That was the verdict of a poll among party members conducted by the website ConservativeHome.

She's also brandishing her credentials because she's still not assured of that job remember, and there's still an terrible lot to play for, so she's really just trying to play up her credentials in terms of defending the Brexit deal that Barnier supposedly negotiated, and which has led to the downfall of our existing Prime Minister.

In contrast to Hunt, Boris Johnson, his rival for the top job, has pledged to meet the October 31 deadline for Brexit "do or die", a position that surveys show is popular among the 180,000 grassroots Conservative Party members who are voting for the next leader.

Boris Johnson knows full well that the Conservative Party is under severe threat from the Brexit Party, that the voters out there will have no truck whatsoever with a further extension, and if the Conservative Party government does not deliver by Halloween; then quite frankly the Conservative Party is finished, and so are his hopes of being Prime Minister.

Mrs May conceded she could have talked to more colleagues to get her withdrawal deal through the House of Commons.

"But if a female prime minister does it, it is 'Why is she crying?'" she said.

Johnson has not ruled out proroguing, despite former prime minister Sir John Major warning that he will launch judicial review proceedings if he does.

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Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd accepted on Thursday that no deal would have to be "part of the armoury" for negotiations with the European Union, in a move apparently created to preserve her chances of a job in the new administration.

"It's evident that if you have the disruption that comes from a no-deal Brexit there will be people that will lose their jobs", he told Sky News.

"I think, somehow, Alex, much as I love the US, much as it would be a dream job for me in many ways, I'm afraid I've got to stick around in case they drop the ball again".

"You know if you become less efficient and your ability to trade is impeded then, of course, losing your competitiveness means that there will be jobs that will be lost". Clark said he would not "trim and chop and change my views" on the dangers of no deal in order to preserve his place in government. A No.10 spokeswoman said: "The prime minister has always been clear that leaving without a deal would be disruptive".

But, when pressed during an interview with the BBC's Andrew Neil, he refused to say whether the United Kingdom would have left by Christmas, though claimed "it's not going to be months".

"The situation is we are leaving by the end of Oct but it would be so much better to get a deal".

The pair were each to be interviewed for half an hour in a programme to be aired on Friday night.

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