Dominic Raab backs Boris Johnson for PM as 'only candidate' to meet October Brexit deadline
Dominic Raab has thrown his weight behind Boris Johnson to be the next Tory leader less than a day of being knocked out of the race.
In a boost for the Conservative frontrunner, Mr Raab said Mr Johnson was “the only candidate” who could take Britain out of the European Union by the 31 October deadline.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, the former Brexit Secretary said: “We must leave the EU on October 31 - we’ve had enough delays and we need to get on with it so we can deliver on the task the British people gave us as politicians.”
He added: “Boris will make sure we leave the EU on time and move on to uniting the country behind a positive programme where everyone can benefit from the UK’s success.”
The endorsement comes after Mr Johnson raised eyebrows during a BBC debate between the five remaining candidates on Tuesday evening when he said it was only “eminently feasible” for the UK to leave the bloc by 31 October.
Challenged to guarantee the date, Johnson replied: “If we allow 31 October to come and go as we let March come and go, I think the public would look on us with increasing mystification.”
Mr Raab was forced to quit the race as he failed to secure at least 33 votes to reach the third ballot.
His former 30 backers will now be primed to choose from the remaining candidates.
In the second ballot that took place yesterday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid came fifth with 33 votes, followed by Rory Stewart with 37.
Boris Johnson continues to race ahead with 126 votes, while Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove followed with 46 and 41 votes respectively.
MPs are set to vote in the third ballot on Wednesday afternoon, with results are expected at 6pm.