BORIS Johnson has promised that “do or die” he will take Britain out of the EU on Halloween.

The frontrunner to the be the next Tory leader was a on a media blitz yesterday, speaking to the BBC, LBC and Talk Radio. However, it only came after he refused to turn up to a head-to-head debate with rival Jeremy Hunt on Sky News.

Johnson, who still remains, by quite some considerable distance, the bookies’ favourite to be the next prime minister, also dodged questions about the row with partner Carrie Symonds which led to a neighbour calling the police.

During the interview with LBC, the show’s host, Nick Ferrari, asked Johnson about a photograph of him and Symonds, apparently taken in the Sussex countryside on Sunday. The picture featured prominently on the front pages of the papers yesterday, but there have been doubts expressed about the legitimacy of the image, with some claims that it was set up or even an old photo.

Ferrari, who asked 26 times if the pictures were staged or not, suggested that Johnson’s haircut in the photograph did not match his current, shorter style.

Johnson said: “I am aware of all sorts of pictures of me out on the internet. And it is entirely up to newspapers to decide what they want to print. It’s not a state secret, it just happens to be something I don’t want to get into.”

The National:

Asked to confirm if the pictures were old or not, he replied: “No. Why should I?”

When pressed on why his haircut appeared different in the pictures yesterday, he said: “This conversation is descending into farce ... this is beyond satire.”

Then, in the interview with Talk Radio, Johnson committed to leaving on October 31, adding: “Do or die, come what may.”

“I’ve never seen such morosity and gloom from a government,” he told TalkRadio.

“For three years we’ve been sitting around wrapped in defeatism telling the British public they can’t do this or that. It is pathetic.”

Johnson, who appointed former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith as his campaign manager yesterday, later wrote to Hunt, asking the Foreign Secretary to also commit to Brexit by the end of October, with or without a deal.

“If you will not, voters deserve to know what alternative deadline you will set.

“What would you consider to be an acceptable delay?”

In response to Johnson’s letter, Hunt tweeted: “Hi Boris, it’s good to talk. But no need for snail-mail, why not turn up to Sky tonight and I’ll give you full and frank answers? #BoJoNoShow.”

Meanwhile, Downing Street has said the transition to the new prime minister is expected to take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 24 – the day after the result of the Tory leadership contest is announced.

Theresa May is expected to take her final Prime Minister’s Questions before heading to Buckingham Palace to resign,

“We would expect the transition to the new prime minister to take place on the Wednesday afternoon, after Prime Minister’s Questions,” May’s official spokesman said.

Analysis: Evasive Boris avoids the case for the Union

BORIS Johnson’s premiership would put “the future of our Union at its heart,” gushed three Scottish Tory MPs. 

Writing in the Telegraph on Monday, Ross Thomson, Colin Clark, and Douglas Ross assured readers that their man was a “passionate and committed Unionist”.

They added: “In Scotland, the SNP’s never-ending calls for Indy Ref two have become the never ending background noise of a midge loose in a room [sic]. 

“Boris is the candidate who has been clear that more referendums – on either the EU or independence – are not on the cards. In doing so he will help swat the SNP.”

The National:

Despite the proclamations of his proxies, it’s not entirely clear that Johnson has put the Union anywhere close to the heart of his campaign so far. 
There was no mention of what his three cheerleaders called the “awesome foursome” during any of the big media interviews yesterday. 

The closest Johnson came was during his chat on LBC, when he told host Nick Ferrari: “I want to bring this incredible country together to release the potential of the whole of the UK.”

But maybe there’s a reason he’s not saying so much about Scotland; last week’s YouGov poll of Tory members – the only voters with a vote in this election – suggested a majority would be happy to see Scots go their own way if it meant Brexit being delivered.

Perhaps another reason he’s not talking much about Scotland is because he’s not talking much about anything. He ducked out of a debate with Jeremy Hunt last night, and the interviews he does do are so rare and fleeting that they’re dominated by Brexit and his personal life.

Despite only a handful of votes up here, there is talk of another visit to Scotland – his last was in May before he declared – but with polls this weekend revealing that 53% of Scots would back a Yes vote in indyref2 if he becomes prime minister, Johnson is likely to discover that swatting is a pretty useless way to get rid of midges.