July 9, 2019 / 7:25 PM / 7 days ago

Johnson refuses to say if he would quit if UK still in EU after Oct. 31

Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, visits construction work for the expansion of Terminal Two at Manchester Airport in Manchester, Britain July 9, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Boris Johnson, the favourite to become the next British prime minister, refused to say whether he would resign if the United Kingdom does not leave the European Union on Oct. 31, the current deadline for Brexit.

In the early stages of the only scheduled head-to-head television debate with his rival Jeremy Hunt, Johnson refused to answer a question from Hunt whether he would quit if he failed to deliver his plan to deliver Brexit by the end of October.

“I think it is very, very important not to envisage any circumstances in which we would fail to come out of the EU on Oct. 31. I don’t want to hold out to the EU the prospect that they might encourage my resignation by refusing to agree a deal,” he said on the debate on ITV television.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; writing by Kate Holton; editing by William Schomberg

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