In his first major interview of the Tory leadership race, the front-runner to succeed Theresa May said he would step up preparations to counter no-deal “disruption” if he was chosen as the next leader of the Conservative Party.
Comparing them to the sea monsters from Greek mythology that troubled Odysseus, he said: “I truly believe only I can steer the country between the Scylla and Charybdis of Corbyn and Farage and on to calmer water.
“This can only be achieved by delivering Brexit as promised on October 31 and delivering a One Nation Tory agenda.”
Mr Johnson said he would scrap the backstop – something the EU has so far refused to do – and would settle the Irish border issue only when Brussels was ready to agree to a future relationship.
The £39bn settlement would only be paid when there was greater clarity about the way forward, he said.
“I always thought it was extraordinary that we should agree to write the entire cheque before having a final deal,” he said. “In getting a good deal, money is a great solvent and a great lubricant.”
The former foreign secretary also revealed he had forgiven Michael Gove for sabotaging his leadership bid in 2016 and had recently hung up on Donald Trump because he thought the call was a hoax.
Mr Johnson has received backing from prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker, the deputy leader of the backbench European Research Group who had been considering his own leadership bid.
He also picked up endorsements from sacked defence secretary Gavin Williamson, cabinet ministers James Brokenshire, Chris Grayling and Alun Cairns, and former international development secretary Priti Patel.
However he has faced attacks from supporters of the former Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, who described Mr Johnson as a ”controversial face from the past”.
The nomination process will take place on Monday, with candidates requiring eight MPs to back them in order to enter the race, with the first round of voting on Thursday.