The Conservative Party will “not be forgiven” unless Brexit happens on schedule, according to leadership hopeful Boris Johnson.
In his pitch to fellow MPs he promised to deliver Brexit by October 31, and avoid the “potential extinction” of the Conservatives at the ballot box.
His warning was echoed by Andrea Leadsom, who said a further delay could “spell the end” for the party.
Overnight the pair attended a private hustings for MPs organised by the One Nation group of centre-right Conservatives.
More than 80 MPs heard from Mr Johnson, Mrs Leadsom, Savid Javid and Rory Stewart.
The former foreign secretary promised he could take on Labour and “put Nigel Farage back in his box".
However Mr Johnson ruled out a snap election.
"We need to realise the depth of the problems we face - unless we get on and do this thing, we will be punished for a very long time.”
"There is a very real choice between getting Brexit done and the potential extinction of this great party."
He added: "I believe I can take on Farage and win back the voters being won over by him."
Mr Stewart is also seeking to avoid an early election, and ruled out a no-deal Brexit.
“Candidates that are advocating a no-deal Brexit as well as tax cuts will - in one afternoon in October - lose us a reputation that we have spent 300 years building up.”
Mr Javid has thrown out any suggestion of a pact with the Brexit Party, which overran the Tories in last month’s European elections.
"We will not beat the Brexit Party by becoming the Brexit Party,” he said.
Yesterday, leadership contenders Kit Malthouse and James Cleverly pulled out of the race to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.
The 11 candidates who now remain need to secure support from eight MPs, instead of the two required in 2016.
The first ballot is due on June 13.