Boris Johnson faced accusations that he is rowing back on promises to leave the EU on October 31 after it emerged he told rival contenders they “hardly” disagreed on Brexit.
Mr Johnson is reported to have told his rivals for the top job about the lack of difference in their plans at the end of Tuesday night’s BBC debate.
He is the hardest Brexiteer remaining in the race – saying he would tear the UK from the EU by October 31, deal or no deal.
His remaining rivals have said they would be willing to delay exit – by various lengths – if it meant getting a deal over the line.
Leaving the BBC studio in the basement of New Broadcasting House a still attached mic caught Mr Johnson’s comments according to The Sun .
Mr Johnson reportedly said: “You see chaps, we don’t disagree on that much”.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove replied: “Dates, Boris, dates”.
Mr Johnson retorted: “Hardly, pah”.
One Tory source told the paper: “It made the other contenders raise their eyebrows.
“Is Boris going to get out when he says he is, or isn’t he?”
But rival Jeremy Hunt went on the attack after the debate saying Mr Johnson’s position was unclear after Tuesday’s debate.
Mr Hunt told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well I am not entirely sure what he believes on this, having listened to him last night
“Now, the danger is that if we choose the wrong person now, we will have no trust, no negotiation, no deal, and possibly, if we have an election, no Brexit”.
A source close to Boris has nsisted his remarks did not draw into question anything he had said.
The source said: “It’s clear that all the major candidates want to leave on October 31.
“The only difference is Boris is committed to leaving on October 31, deal or no deal. That hasn’t changed, and will not change.”