Europe

Boris: I won't 'bottle it' on Brexit date

Boris Johnson wants the UK to leave the EU by October 31 "come what may". (AAP)

Boris Johnson, frontrunner for the UK prime ministership, says the country must leave the European Union by October 31 "come what may".

Boris Johnson has repeated his determination to deliver Brexit by Halloween, in what will be seen as an attempt to refocus attention from his private life.

The UK Tory leadership candidate appeared to deliver a retort to his rival to be prime minister as he vowed to not "bottle it" on the October 31 EU exit date.

But Jeremy Hunt called on Johnson not to be a "coward" by avoiding a live TV debate with him this week, as he suggested he would otherwise be "slinking through the back door" of No.10 Downing Street.

Johnson remains under pressure to explain why police were called to the home he shares with partner Carrie Symonds.

"We must leave the EU on Oct 31 come what may. It will honour the referendum result, it will focus the minds of EU negotiators," he wrote in a Daily Telegraph column.

"It is absolutely vital that we keep our eyes on the prize. It has been a long and parching march - but the oasis is finally in sight.

"We are just over four months away from the date on which, by law, we must leave the EU; and this time we are not going to bottle it. We are not going to fail."

Foreign Secretary Hunt has previously attacked Johnson over reports he was "bottling" a live TV debate before postal ballots are returned.

Stepping up pressure on his rival, Hunt insisted that while he has no interest in debating Johnson's private life, he wants to challenge him on television over his commitment to taking the UK out of the EU by the end of October.

In an article in The Times, Hunt said: "A new prime minister needs the legitimacy of having made his arguments publicly and having them subjected to scrutiny."

Hunt supporter and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox signalled it was better for Johnson to be clear about what had happened on Friday while shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said Johnson was "completely unsuitable" to be prime minister after the incident.

Johnson repeatedly refused to explain to Tory grassroots at a Saturday hustings what went on at the south London flat in the early hours of Friday morning, saying the party faithful did not want "to hear about that kind of thing".

Johnson's campaign for No.10 was rocked by the revelations that officers were called to the home he shares with partner Symonds by a neighbour who claimed to have been "frightened and concerned" after hearing shouting, "a loud scream" and banging coming from the property.

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