PM candidate Johnson will demand European Union talks free trade - campaign chairman

Tory leadership hopefuls Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are set to face further questions about their Brexit plans at a hustings in Northern Ireland. "But if a withdrawal deal is simply not on the cards then the only way to fulfil the democratic mandate of the referendum is to leave without a deal, which is what we will do", he said at the Policy Exchange think-tank event in London.

Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, visits the Polhill Garden Centre near Halstead in Kent, Britain.

The amendment had sought to deny funds to certain government departments unless parliament has ratified a deal, or Withdrawal Agreement, with the European Union, or lawmakers have agreed to Britain leaving without a deal.

Hammond said in March that he had almost 27 billion pounds ($34 billion) in fiscal headroom - equivalent to the difference between the target he has set himself for the budget deficit and the shortfall projected by Britain's budget forecaster. "If we could do it for the bankers in the financial crisis, we can do it for our fisherman, farmers and small businesses now", he added.

But finance minister Philip Hammond who oversaw much of those cuts immediately dismissed the plan.

Hunt ramped up the no-deal stakes on the weekend in an effort to make up ground on the favourite, Boris Johnson, who has pledged Brexit on October 21 "do or die".

"Our immediate priority is going to be to support businesses that are directly affected by a dramatic change in our circumstances", he told a news conference in central London.

Writing on Twitter, the Chancellor said: "The "fiscal firepower" we have built up in case of a no-deal Brexit will only be available for extra spending if we leave with an orderly transition".

Mr Hammond's warning came as Mr Hunt announced a £6 billion war chest to handle a no-deal Brexit. "The money is there", Johnson told reporters when asked about his spending proposals.

"There is a hard deadline in what I have said; by the end of September, I, as Prime Minister, will make a judgement as to whether there is a realistic prospect of a deal that can get through Parliament in the short term".

More than three years after voting to leave the EU, Britons still do not know whether they will leave with a deal, or without, or even leave at all.

Tory former de facto deputy prime minister Damian Green, a backer of Mr Johnson's campaign, dismissed the report, telling BBC Two's Newsnight: "I just find that quite an extraordinary proposition". "We can do better".

  • Jon Douglas