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Boris Johnson vows to deliver Brexit as he launches campaign to be Prime Minister

Yahoo! News UK logo Yahoo! News UK 12/06/2019 Andy Wells

© Getty Boris Johnson has officially launched his campaign to be the next Prime Minister with a promise to deliver Brexit.

Mr Johnson has been noticeably absent from the leadership campaign, leading some to believe he is being “hidden” to avoid making any gaffes.

But he appealed to supporters today to back him so he can deliver Brexit - with or without a deal - by 31 October, saying that “now is the time to unite the country”.

He said that around the country there was “moral despair” that MPs had not yet implemented Brexit.

© Reuters Mr Johnson said “now was the time to remember our duty” when it came to the results of the EU referendum.

"We simply will not get a result if we give the slightest hint that we want to go on kicking the can down the road with yet more delay.

"Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn. Kick the can and we kick the bucket."

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Several prominent Tory MPs turned up to watch Mr Johnson's speech (PA) © Provided by Oath Inc. Several prominent Tory MPs turned up to watch Mr Johnson's speech (PA) A smattering of anti-Brexit protesters gathered to picket outside the venue for Mr Johnson's campaign launch in central London, while veteran anti-EU withdrawal protester Steve Bray said: "My message to Mr Johnson is he's not fit to be an MP, let alone PM.”

Attendees at the launch were offered “Boris bacon butties” and “Boris eggs Benedict” inside the venue.

They were also invited to wear “Back Boris” badges.

With 80 Tory MPs already backing the former Foreign Secretary, he currently stands as the favourite to take over from Theresa May next month.

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: The former Foreign Secretary is the favourite to win the leadership contest (Getty) © Provided by Oath Inc. The former Foreign Secretary is the favourite to win the leadership contest (Getty)

While Mr Johnson has proved popular with many MPs, he nevertheless remains a divisive figure in his own party.

Ahead of his launch, Cabinet minister Liz Truss defended the former London Mayor as a "brilliant" Foreign Secretary who deserves to be PM.

a screenshot of a cell phone: The latest odds in the race to be the next Tory leader (PA) © Provided by Oath Inc. The latest odds in the race to be the next Tory leader (PA) Chief Secretary to the Treasury Ms Truss attempted to bat away a string of criticisms about how Mr Johnson may not be a fit and proper person to hold office.

When the accusation that Mr Johnson was "the worst Foreign Secretary in living memory" was put to her by the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, she said such attacks were due to his "huge public appeal”.

a screenshot of a cell phone: The timetable of the Tory leadership contest (PA) © Provided by Oath Inc. The timetable of the Tory leadership contest (PA)

She said: "I think it's a sign - that he is being attacked shows the huge public appeal he has, the huge power he has to communicate.

"His record is of being the most successful mayor of London we have had, of being an excellent foreign secretary who got countries around the world to take action against Russia by expelling their diplomats.”

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: British Conservative Party lawmaker Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Britain's Conservative Party is holding an election to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, who resigned last week after failing to lead Britain out of the European Union on schedule. Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is currently the bookies favorite to replace May. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) British Conservative Party lawmaker Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Britain's Conservative Party is holding an election to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, who resigned last week after failing to lead Britain out of the European Union on schedule. Former Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is currently the bookies favorite to replace May. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) Ms Truss also defended Mr Johnson when asked about his sacking for "lying in public" about an affair, saying: "I do not think the British public is interested in Boris's personal life.”

Boris Johnson, Esther McVey, Dominic Raab, Matthew Hancock, Andrea Leadsom, Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Mark Harper posing for a photo: File photos of the ten contenders in the Conservative leadership race (top row, left to right) former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper, (bottom row, left to right) former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, former House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid. © Provided by Oath Inc. File photos of the ten contenders in the Conservative leadership race (top row, left to right) former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper, (bottom row, left to right) former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, former House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Defending the Tory leadership hopeful from accusations that he is refusing to speak to journalists during his campaign for the top job, she said: "He has got nothing to hide.

"This is the parliamentary stage of the process. The important thing is he is talking to parliamentary colleagues."

Mr Johnson’s path to securing Brexit may hit a major stumbling block before a new PM is even voted in as Parliament is set to vote on Labour’s plans to stop leaving without a deal later today.

Mr Johnson’s potential stumbling block could force him to hold a snap election shortly after entering Downing Street.

A new poll shows that the Tories would win a thumping majority if Mr Johnson was in charge during an election - meaning he may be persuaded to take Brexit to the country in a General Election.

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