'Many thousands' of jobs will be lost in no-deal Brexit

Sir John Major

Major's suggestion is important because Parliament has repeatedly signalled its opposition to a no-deal Brexit, but has no obvious way of stopping it.

That prompted Mr Hunt to accuse him of avoiding direct answers and relying on nothing more than optimism to win a new deal from the European Union, or to leave without a deal which would hurt businesses across Britain.

They face a battle to force through their commitments, however, as MPs and peers launch tactical bids to block any attempt to prorogue parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit.

"I sat down and tried to get a compromise with [Opposition Leader] Jeremy Corbyn to try to get a deal that would get through Parliament", she said.

Asked by Sky News how many jobs would be lost in no-deal scenario, Clark said: "It's many thousands of jobs".

Mr Clark cited evidence from businesses when challenged that some are claiming the United Kingdom could weather an exit on World Trade Organisation terms.

A spokeswoman for Mrs May told a Westminster briefing: "The Prime Minister has always been clear that leaving without a deal would be disruptive".

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During the campaign to succeed prime minister Theresa May, the former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was explicit about his intention to suspend the parliament to ensure that the UK's default legal position is enforced, a prospect the former Conservative prime minister finds "utterly and totally unacceptable".

"I'm not going to take anything off the table, any more than I'm going to take no-deal off the table", Johnson said.

The victor will be chosen by members of the Conservative Party.

Amber Rudd said she has "accepted" the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, despite having previously fiercely opposed it.

The BBC will still be showing two one-on-one interviews with the candidates, hosted by Andrew Neil, on BBC One this Friday at 19:00 BST.

An announcement is expected on July 23.

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