Boris Johnson makes his first pitch to be Tory leader

Boris Johnson today made his first public pitch to succeed Theresa May as senior Tories called for an experienced Brexiteer to take over. 

Days after he finally backed the Prime Minister's deal Mr Johnson said a No Deal exit is 'far the best option' and insisted the Conservatives should 'get on with'.

And in his own vision for the party he said the Toris should then concentrate on 'cutting taxes wherever we reasonably can' including stamp duty and inheritance tax. 

It came as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said it was 'more likely than not that the next leader will be someone who campaigned for Brexit'.

Boris Johnson has three times the support of his closest rival in leadership polling and made his first pitch to be leader today

Boris Johnson has three times the support of his closest rival in leadership polling and made his first pitch to be leader today

Mr Johnson, who has been accused of disloyalty for his opposition to Mrs May's deal, wrote in the Telegraph today: 'We cannot go on like this. We need to get on with it and to get it done. We should really come out with No Deal – now looking by far the best option; but if we cannot achieve that, then we need to get out, now.

Iain Duncan Smith the VERY unlikely soft-top heart-throb 

Iain Duncan Smith's arrival to see Theresa May at Chequers in his £25,000 Morgan 4/4 last week made headlines and turned the former Tory leader into an unlikely heart-throb.

Iain Duncan Smith pictured in his £25,000 Morgan 4/4

Iain Duncan Smith pictured in his £25,000 Morgan 4/4 

'He's been getting fan mail from middle-aged women all week asking for a ride,' a Commons source said. 

It is not the first time IDS's soft-top motor has hit the headlines – we first revealed his 'Mr Toad' look, below, back in 2003. 

'We need to get Brexit done, because we have so much more to do, and so much more that unites the Conservative Party than divides us. We have so many achievements to be proud of – and yet every single one is being drowned out in the Brexit cacophony'.

Chris Grayling has called for an 'experienced' Brexiteer to take over the party - seen as a nod towards Mr Johnson rather that his rival Dominic Raab.

He told the Telegraph: 'The party has to ask itself a question about the leadership: the next two or three years are going to be very tough because the European stuff is not going to go away. 

'Is the person who takes us through the next two or three years and sorts out Brexit and gets the sort of hard time that Theresa has had, the same person who we want to be leading us into the 2027 general election?

'It may be that we are planning two things rather than one. Planning somebody who has got the experience and resilience to get us through the immediate future. But then ... we have got a really good generation of younger politicians in their 40s who can make a real impact, who are going to be the leadership of the party in the future.'

Moderate Tories appeared to step up efforts to frustrate the leadership ambitions of Boris Johnson last night, launching a new grouping opposed to a No Deal Brexit.

Around 40 MPs have signed up to the One Nation Group which will be led by Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and former education secretary Nicky Morgan.

The faction, which is aiming to be a counterweight to the European Research Group, is planning to host its own hustings in any future party leadership contest and has ruled out supporting anyone who wants a No Deal departure.

Mr Johnson, however, did get some backing from an unlikely quarter last night – Tony Blair. 

The former PM claimed the Tories could beat Labour in a general election if 'formidable' Mr Johnson was leader.

Amber Rudd is relaunching the One Nation faction inside the Tory party as moderates move to block Boris Johnson and hard Brexiteers in the race for power

Amber Rudd is relaunching the One Nation faction inside the Tory party as moderates move to block Boris Johnson and hard Brexiteers in the race for power

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss

Leading Brexiteer candidate Dominic Raab has set out his plan to tackle knife crime amid rising violent crime on the streets of Britain

As ministers fight for the job Liz Truss (left in Westminster on Friday) today called for the Tory party to remodernise, while Dominic Raab published his plans to tackle knife crime 

Jeremy Hunt is seen as a safe pair of hands and could help unite the party, some MPs have claimed

Jeremy Hunt is seen as a safe pair of hands and could help unite the party, some MPs have claimed

High profile members of the One Nation Group also include Business Secretary Greg Clark, Justice Secretary David Gauke, Scottish Secretary David Mundell, energy minister Claire Perry, as well as Damian Green and Sir Nicholas Soames.

Sir John Major yesterday criticised potential leadership candidates for jockeying for position instead of focusing on attempts to get the Brexit deal passed.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme: 'I think they should concentrate on the decision we should make next week, not who is going to be prime minister at some future stage.'

Sir John appeared to criticise hopefuls such as Mr Johnson, Esther McVey and Dominic Raab, who last week backed Mrs May's Brexit deal despite making dire warnings about it.

'I find it extraordinarily odd that there are people who decided the Prime Minister's deal was going to turn us into a vassal state and they voted against it. Once it is apparent there's going to be a leadership election and one of them might become prime minister, the question of a vassal state disappears and they support it,' he said. 'I think the public will be very cynical about that.

'I don't know when the Prime Minister will go and nobody can be certain... but when we elect a new prime minister I think it has to be someone who can be a national leader, not a factional leader and I think that does disqualify a number of candidates.'

Britain faces a hung Parliament if another general election is held

Sir John Curitce's latest numbers suggest a near identical Commons would be returned - accept with slightly weaker Tory and Labour parties in a more hung parliament

If No 10 does call another general election Britain faces another hung Parliament, according to the latest polling on the issue.

The majority of public is also opposed to going back to the polls to break the Brexit deadlock at Westminster.

But Theresa May may be forced to call a possible snap general election within weeks if she loses because remainer MPs will try to force her to deliver a soft Brexit or a second referendum.

Now she has lost MPs are preparing to force a soft Brexit and long delay to leaving the EU upon May next week.

No 10 has threatened to call a general election rather than be forced into a soft Brexit - but looming over that threat is a new forecast of what might happen in a snap election by polling expert Sir John Curtice.   

But Sir John's latest numbers suggest a near identical Commons would be returned - accept with slightly weaker Tory and Labour parties in a more hung parliament. 

The figures suggest even the dramatic step of a new general election would do little to break the stalemate.  

The PM hopes this bleak outlook will persuade Labour MPs to back it as the party has accepted the divorce deal - but she is set to be disappointed. She needs 75 more votes than she got on March 12 to win. 

Polls since the 2017 election have seen the two main parties mostly neck and neck. The Tories have held a narrow lead in recent months

Polls since the 2017 election have seen the two main parties mostly neck and neck. The Tories have held a narrow lead in recent months 

Sir John also said the UK will always have a centre-Right party and a centre-Left party, adding: 'Whether that's exactly the same Conservative Party as we have now or not, I can't be certain – but that there will be a Conservative Party on the centre-Right of politics, but it needs to be at the centre-Right if it wishes to win, not the far-Right.'

Several senior Tories yesterday appeared to be on manoeuvres to replace Mrs May this weekend.

Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, called for the Conservative party to 'remodernise' as she set out her stall in a newspaper interview. Miss Truss, who backed Remain in the referendum and was previously in charge at the Ministry of Justice and Defra, picked out cutting taxes for businesses and stamp duty for young home buyers as key policies.

She told The Sunday Times: 'Sometimes politics can be in danger of being managerial. The Conservative Party needs to remodernise. We need to be optimistic, aspirational. We need to participate in the battle of ideas. We haven't been doing.'

Other Cabinet ministers tipped to join the race when the time comes include Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Work and Pensions Secretary Miss Rudd, Home Secretary Sajid Javid and House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom. Mr Johnson, Miss McVey and Mr Raab, who all quit the Cabinet in protest at Mrs May's handling of Brexit, are also expected to go for No 10. Mr Raab, a former Brexit Secretary, yesterday attempted to outflank hostile competition by addressing allegations that he used a non-disclosure agreement, also known as a 'gagging order', to silence a former colleague who accused him of bullying.

He told The Sunday Times the claims were 'completely false', while his allies suggested they were being deployed as part of a 'smear campaign'.

Another former Cabinet minister, Justine Greening, said she 'might' run for the Tory leadership. In an interview with The Sunday Times, she said the party needed a leader for the '2020s, not the 1920s'.

'It's 32 years since we had a landslide and we have to answer the question about why we have failed to connect with people and their ambitions,' she told the paper. Miss Greening, a prominent Remain campaigner, quit as education secretary when Mrs May attempted to make her the work and pensions chief in early 2018.

Mr Blair last night told the HuffPost UK news website that Mr Johnson

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