Boris Johnson has said all his cabinet ministers would have to sign up to leaving the EU without a deal on October 31 if no new agreement is reached.
His demand suggests there would be no room for high profile Conservatives opposed to no-deal including Amber Rudd and David Lidington in his top team.
In an interview with ConHome published on Thursday morning, Johnson was asked if his ministers must be “committed to leaving on 31st October, deal or no deal”.
The frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest said: “Yes, that will be the policy of the government.”
“I want obviously to have a broad range of talent in my government, the government that I will lead, but clearly people must be reconciled to the very, very, very small possibility, and I stress it will be a very, very small possibility, that we would have to leave on those terms,” he said.
“I don’t think it will happen but they would have to be reconciled to it.”
David Gauke, the justice secretary, has said he could not work for Johnson.
“On the basis of what I’ve heard so far, I wouldn’t serve. To be fair to him, I wouldn’t be able to give him full-hearted support,” he told ITV’s Peston programme on Wednesday evening.
Johnson has made a firm commitment to take the UK out of the EU by October 31 “do or die”.
Jeremy Hunt, Johnson’s rival for the leadership, has said he is prepared to take the UK out without a deal but would be prepared to delay Brexit if an agreement looked within his grasp.