'Boris Johnson today vowed to take the UK out of the EU at all costs - as the Tory leadership contest exploded into the open.
The former foreign secretary said Brexit must happen by October 31 'deal or no deal' as he made a high-octane pitch for 10 Downing Street.
'We will leave the EU on October 31, deal or no deal,' Mr Johnson told an economic conference in Switzerland this afternoon.
'The way to get a good deal is to prepare for a no deal,'
The intervention came as candidates scrambled to get out of the blocks after Theresa May tearfully announced she is quitting - admitting she had failed to deliver on the result of the 2016 referendum.
More than a dozen Tories could end up battling it out for the top job, in what could be a frantic two-month long contest.
They include Cabinet big beasts such as Jeremy Hunt - who has already confirmed today that he will run - and Sajid Javid, as well as Brexiteers like Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom and Liz Truss.
But a range of more obscure names are also contemplating joining the fight. Sir Graham Brady, the Tory 'shop steward' who chairs the 1922 committee , is an unexpected entrant.
And backbench 'hardman' Steve Baker, deputy chair of the Brexiteer ERG bloc, has also indicated that he could take part in the race.
However, after Mrs May - with pain etched on her face - declared that she had reached the end of the line, other Tories have been questioning why anyone would want the job. Veteran ex-Chancellor Ken Clarke, who has made several efforts become Tory leader, said: 'I don't think it is very tempting at the moment.''
Read more: Let battle commence! Frontrunner Boris says 'back me and we'll be out the EU on October 31 deal or NO DEAL' as Tory leadership jostling breaks out and dozens of no-hoper contenders come out the woodwork
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