Boris Johnson has ruled out forming an electoral pact with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party if he becomes prime minister next week.
Speculation has been rife that Johnson will have to do a deal with the Brexit Party if an election is triggered before Brexit is delivered by MPs determined to stop no deal.
Farage’s outfit is riding high in the polls, eating into Tory support, and eurosceptic MPs including Steve Baker have suggested a pact will be necessary to keep the party in power.
Johnson, the frontunner to be PM, has so far insisted that the Tories should not be talking about doing deals with any party.
But asked by a heckler at the final Tory hustings of the leadership campaign to rule out a pact, he hardened his language, replying: “I will rule it out, yes, I will rule it out.”
Earlier, Johnson revealed he and Farage tried to forge a common position long ago but failed.
And he was adamant that his promise to leave the EU “do or die” by October 31 would succeed and neutralise the need for any pact.
“I think it must have been about 25 years ago or more but I met Nigel Farage in a pub for a historic sort of Cold War meeting where I tried to recruit him and he tried to recruit me, and we failed and we went our separate ways,” he said.
“I don’t believe that we should do deals with any party.
“We’re the Conservative party, we’re a great party, we’re going to get this thing done, we’re going to restore trust and confidence in our democracy, we’re going to get on with setting our Conservative agenda again.”
Meanwhile, Johnson was unable to firmly tell the thousands of Tory supporters that packed the ExCel centre in east London whether he was good with money.
Having answered a question on helping young children to manage money, LBC presenter and hustings moderator Iain Dale said to Johnson: “Are you good at managing money?”
Johnson replied: “I’m... I got into terrible... I think you asked me a question about my personal finances, no it wasn’t you it was Hannah (Vaughan Jones, previous moderator) who asked me a question.
“What can I say, I’ve certainly spent a lot. Yes.”
Dale said: “If you’re going to be first lord of the Treasury then you need to be quite good at managing money, I would have thought.”
Johnson concluded: “Yes I know but...”
The former foreign secretary kicked off the event by brandishing a kipper on stage.
He whipped out the plastic-wrapped fish, which he said was given to him by the editor of the Daily Express, to try and make a point about onerous EU regulation.
Johnson claimed a kipper smoker on the Isle of Man was “utterly furious” because apparently his costs have been increased by EU rules he said mean each fish must be accompanied by a plastic-wrapped ice pillow.
“Pointless, expensive, environmentally-damaging health and safety, ladies and gentlemen,” Johnson said.
He also denied that he dyes his famous blond hair after Tory MP David Morris, a former hairdresser, suggested he may have been colouring his locks.
Morris, who has been a critic of Johnson, told MailOnline the green tinge visible on Johnson’s head in some photographs at different hustings events could be evidence that he was “evening out” the colour by using “ash toner”.
But asked by Dale if he dyed his hair, Johnson replied: “Never. Outrageous suggestion. What with?”