Tory leader hopeful Sajid Javid says he would not be 'afraid' of no-deal Brexit as he unveils EU plan
Conservative leadership hopeful Sajid Javid has declared that he would be willing to take the UK out of the European Union without a deal.
Laying out a five-point plan for Brexit, the Home Secretary vowed to hold an "emergency Budget" to show the EU that Britain was "not afraid of walking out".
And he revealed that he would offer to cover Dublin's costs for implementing any new technology at the Irish border in a bid to try and break the deadlock over the Northern Ireland backstop.
Spelling out his "honest, credible" Brexit strategy in a piece for the Daily Mail, Mr Javid argued that he was "the right person" to "steady the ship and plot a course to the bright horizon we all want to reach".
In a deliberate echo of Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Mr Javid declared "no, no, no" to the idea of allowing either another Brexit referendum, an early general election or revoking of Article 50, saying voters had "been asked their opinion more than enough times".
"Another vote before we leave would be disastrous for trust in politics, and cause the kind of chaos that risks handing Jeremy Corbyn and his hard-left supporters the keys to No 10," he said.
And while Mr Javid made clear that he did not "want" a no-deal Brexit, he promised to ensure Britain could "prepare fully" for such an outcome if he was chosen as Tory leader.
"As Prime Minister I would immediately step up no deal preparations," he said. "We would aim to keep the impacts to a minimum.
"But, while too much apocalyptic language has been used, we have to be honest. It wouldn't be painless. So, as part of preparations we would have a broad, bold no-deal Budget ready.
"This would also show the EU we are ready – so when we turn up to negotiate, they know we are not afraid of walking out."
'COVER THE COST'
Mr Javid meanwhile vowed to again press for changes to the Northern Ireland backstop, arguing that adding a time limit or exit clause to the controversial arrangement remained the "only thing that has got through our Parliament successfully".
Although both ideas have been previously rejected by the EU, he vowed to work "directly" with Ireland to solve the problem and said he believed there would be "more engagement as a new [European] Commission takes place and we get closer to October".
He added: "Others will ask why Ireland should pay for the consequences of the UK's decision to leave.
"That's a fair point, so as Prime Minister I would agree to cover the cost to Ireland of delivering this.
"It's a small price to avoid no-deal – and the risks that would bring to the hard-won peace."
The Home Secretary admitted that it would be "challenging" to get any revised agreement through Parliament by October 31.
But he vowed: "As Prime Minister I would have a clear position. We should leave on October 31. And if we cannot get a deal we should, with great regret, leave without one, having done everything we can to minimise disruption."
The pledge from Mr Javid comes after fellow candidates Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom made clear that they would be willing to allow a no-deal Brexit to go ahead if picked as the next leader.
The Home Secretary meanwhile received a boost on Friday when Justice Minister Edward Argar endorsed him for the top job.
Writing on the ConservativeHome website, Mr Argar said: "In these increasingly polarised times, Sajid is consistently the leading Conservative with the best net poll ratings among the public – uniquely with positive ratings with both Leave and Remain voters.
"I believe we will, and indeed we must, win the next election. I believe that our country, with its great past and its great present, can and will have an even greater future."
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