Boris Johnson compares Brexit to the moon landings as Tory leadership voting closes

'A "sense of mission" akin to the 1969 moon landings can ensure Britain leaves the European Union on 31 October.'

Monday 22 July - The frontrunner to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister took a swipe at his 'pessimist' Cabinet critics as he said the UK could leave the EU with a deal if it had the 'will' and 'drive' to make it happen.

His comments came ahead of the the postal ballot of Tory members closing at 5pm on Monday, with the winner declared at 11 o'clock on Tuesday morning.

Either Mr Johnson or his rival Jeremy Hunt will then take over from Mrs May on Wednesday when she hands in her resignation to the Queen following her final Prime Minister's Questions clash with Jeremy Corbyn. 

Mr Johnson said the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landings showed that Britain could solve the 'technical and logistical' problem of avoiding a hard Irish border as it leaves the EU.

But Mr Johnson said: 'I am afraid that there are technological pessimists - some of them apparently in London  who seem genuinely to think that such technical solutions are impossible, that they are a kind of logical contradiction, a mythological species that we will never see in this universe. Are they right? Of course not.'

Mr Johnson added: 'It is absurd that we have even allowed ourselves to be momentarily delayed by these technical issues. If they could use hand-knitted computer code to make a frictionless re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere in 1969, we can solve the problem of frictionless trade at the Northern Irish border.' 

'There is no task so simple that government cannot overcomplicate if it doesn’t want to do it. And there are few tasks so complex that humanity cannot solve if we have a real sense of mission to pull them off.'

The European Union has repeatedly insisted that it will not reopen talks on the Brexit withdrawal agreement despite long-standing Conservative Brexiteer opposition to the backstop plan to avoid friction at the Northern Ireland border.

Mr Johnson's comments meanwhile came amid mounting opposition from the current Cabinet to his vow to leave the European with or without a deal on 31 October.

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