Amber Rudd has said she accepts the possibility of a no-deal Brexit after a u-turn on her position.
She also told the Boris Johnson camp that Jeremy Hunt is still in the fight to be leader of the Conservative party.
The work and pensions secretary said that while the current situation meant come October the country would be exiting the EU without a deal, it would be “so much better” to leave with one.
Appearing on talkRadio, Rudd said: “Both [Tory leadership] candidates have said that no deal is part of the armory and the negotiations going forward. And I have accepted that.”
Rudd has previously positioned herself as a fierce opponent to leaving the EU without a deal and was one of those to place pressure on Theresa May to rule out a no-deal exit ahead of the original March 29 departure date.
She said: “The situation is that we are leaving by the end of October, but it would be so much better to get a deal.”
Looking forward to the end of October, Rudd said negotiations required everybody’s effort, she said: “There was lots of talk about what happens on October 31, will parliament stop it, will John Major make some sort of judicial review if Boris Johnson – if it were him – try tries to prorogue.
“All these pieces could be moving around the board at that point but what we really need is for everybody’s effort to go into trying to get a deal and that as we know, it isn’t as straightforward as we would like it to be because the prime minister has tried on several occasions to do that.
Rudd said she backing Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership race because he is the “best person to be able to get the best deal”.
She said: “Boris’ camp should be aware that we are still in this fight I still think that Jeremy can be the best prime minister he’s carrying as foreign secretary while he’s doing this campaign and let me tell you it looks like busy time for a foreign secretary, so I think he is the one I’m going to continue to talk about and promote.”