Boris Johnson says he's willing to take the UK out of the EU without a deal

David Harding
On the way to Number 10? Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, ahead of the European Parliament elections (PA)

Boris Johnson said today he would take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

Mr Johnson confirmed his plan to run to be the next Tory party leader at a conference in Switzerland today.

Speaking just hours after a tearful Theresa May announced she was stepping down, Johnson said: “Of course I am going to go for it”.

The former Foreign Secretary is easily the frontrunner to succeed Mrs May, and was immediately installed as favourite by bookmakers thanks to his huge popularity with Conservative Party members.

He said today: “The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal.”

It came after a statement on Friday morning in Downing Street by Mrs May, who said she would quit on 7 June, triggering a contest to find the next leader who will automatically become PM.

An emotional May said it had been “the honour of my life” to serve as Britain’s second female prime minister.

She also said she would leave “with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love”.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.”

A recent poll of Tory members by YouGov shows a commanding lead for Mr Johnson.

The pollster pitted Mr Johnson against nine other candidates and found him to be the clear favourite in every instance.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected to challenge for the leadership (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

How will the leadership election work?

The Tories elect leaders through a two-stage process.

Firstly, Conservative MPs put their own names forward and the MPs then vote in a series of rounds to whittle down the candidates.

As many as 26 candidates could put their names forward.

In each round, the person with the fewest votes is removed. This continues until there are only two candidates remaining.

Then, in stage two, the entire party membership is balloted to pick a leader.

If Johnson is one of these two, he will be the overwhelming favourite to win.

Chairman of the backbench Conservative Party 1922 Committee, Graham Brady could be a surprise contender (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

Who else is in the running?

Johnson is strongly backed by some within the party and already has the support of the former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and MPs such as Johnny Mercer.

But he is also a highly divisive figure with MPs, some of whom will move to block his appointment.

Former minister Esther McVey has announced her intention to run, along with newly appointment International Development Secretary Rory Stewart. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also threw his hat into the ring today.

Senior MP Graham Brady is also likely to stand.

Former cabinet minister, Esther McVey, who will stand for the leadership (PA)

A number of others have held back from publicly announcing they plan to run but are agreed to be intending to do so.

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab is expected to be a challenger.

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab is also seen as a frontrunner (PA)

Andrea Leadsom, whose resignation over Brexit was widely seen to be the final nail in the coffin of Theresa May’s premiership, has said she is considering it.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and Health Secretary Matt Hancock and chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss are all expected to join the race.

What does the public think of Boris Johnson?

Outside of the Tory Party, more people think Boris Johnson would make a good Prime Minister than any other candidate, according to a new YouGov poll released today.

Just over a quarter of voters - (28%) - say that Johnson would be a good bet for the top job, and a further 11% claiming he would do a very good job.

His nearest challenger in this poll is Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who received the backing of 19% of voters.

However, showing just how much of a divisive a figure Johnson is, more people also think he would be a bad Prime Minister than any other potential candidate.

Fifty four per cent of voters say Johnson would make a bad PM, well ahead of his challengers.

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