Brexit news: Sajid Javid says he would be prepared to leave EU with no deal on 31 October

Home secretary becomes latest Tory leadership candidate to say he would be willing to deliver no-deal Brexit

Who could replace Theresa May as Tory leader?

Sajid Javid has said he would be prepared to take Britain out of the EU without a deal if he became prime minister.

The home secretary, who is one of 12 candidates vying to succeed Theresa May, said he hoped to be able to secure MPs’ backing for a Brexit deal but claimed that if this was not possible, Britain should “with great regret, leave without one”.

Mr Javid set out a five-point plan for taking Britain out of the EU, including a fresh attempt to secure parliament’s approval for a deal.

He said he would also ramp up preparations for no deal, saying: “This isn’t because I want it, but we have to accept the reality of our situation.

“The EU’s insistence that negotiations happen under a ticking clock mean, come 31 October, that is what we face if we don’t have a deal.”

Writing in the Daily Mail, he added: “As prime minister I would have a clear position. We should leave on 31 October. And if we cannot get a deal we should, with great regret, leave without one, having done everything we can to minimise disruption.”

The EU has said repeatedly that it is not willing to reopen negotiations on the current deal, but Mr Javid insisted he would try to negotiate directly with Ireland to find a way to keep the Northern Ireland border open after Brexit.

He insisted Home Office analysis had concluded that there could be a technological solution to the problem, meaning the controversial Northern Irish backstop, which is hated by many Conservative MPs, would not be needed.

He said: “I’ve looked at this in the Home Office, tasking a team from Border Force to look at what we’d need in place. They were clear the technologies already exist to avoid a hard border, and important work in being undertaken by the Alternative Arrangement Commission on this front. What we need is the trust and will on both sides to make this work a reality.”

A Home Office document leaked earlier this year said the analysis had concluded that such a solution was at least a decade away.

Mr Javid also ruled out a fresh referendum, saying: “The voters have been asked their opinion more than enough times. Never in this country’s history have we asked people to go to the polls a second time without implementing their verdict from the first.

“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.”

The candidates’ position on no deal has become a key issue in the contest.

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, was seen to have damaged his chances after suggesting that a no-deal outcome would be “political suicide” for the Conservatives.

Several of the candidates, including frontrunner Boris Johnson, have said they would try to secure a better deal but would be willing to leave without an agreement if that proves impossible.

One, former cabinet minister Esther McVey, has said she would favour leaving without a deal.

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