US NewsBoris Johnson Agrees To BBC's Tory Leadership Debate - But Not Channel 4's
Tory Leadership Race Narrows To 10 Candidates As Sam Gymiah Drops Out
The Tory leadership race has narrowed to 10 candidates in the contest to replace Theresa May, the joint acting chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee Dame Cheryl Gillan has said. The battle finally began officially as party grandees announced the full list of contenders who had mustered the required eight backers needed to stand. Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock were all in formally confirmed as candidates, the backbench 1922 Committee announced. Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Rory Stewart were also in the contest.
Boris Johnson has committed to taking part in a Conservative Party leadership debate with other candidates on the BBC next Tuesday.
But the frontrunner in the contest has not yet agreed to appear in the earlier Channel 4 debate on Sunday evening.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4′s World at One programme, Johnson said he was “more than happy” to take part in the corporation’s debate.
But he added while he was “very keen” on debates but did not want too much “blue-on-blue action”.
The BBC’s debate will take place in the evening after the second round of voting in the contest when the number of candidates will have been reduced to five or fewer.
Johnson launches campaign as poll suggests he is election gold
Boris Johnson is launching his Tory leadership campaign boosted by a major new cabinet endorsement and a highly favourable opinion poll. Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has become the latest senior Tory to back the former foreign secretary, telling Sky News Mr Johnson will deliver Brexit on 31 October. And a ComRes poll in The Daily Telegraph suggests that with Mr Johnson as leader the Conservatives could be heading for a landslide at the next election with a majority of 140.
Channel 4 has threatened to represent Johnson with an empty chair if he fails to turn up to their debate at the weekend.
All the other candidates have agreed to take part, with Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid all signing a pledge.
Johnson said today: “I think it is important that we have a sensible grown-up debate.
“My own observation is that in the past when you’ve had loads of candidates, it can be slightly cacophonous and I think the public have had quite a lot of blue on blue action frankly over the last three years.
“We don’t necessarily need a lot more of that and so what I think the best solution would be would be to have a debate on what we all have to offer the country and the best time to do that I think would be after the second ballot on Tuesday and the best forum is the proposed BBC debate. I think that’s a good idea.”
Hunt this morning ramped up the pressure on Johnson with a warning Winston Churchill would not approve of him “hiding” from media scrutiny.
It comes after Matt Hancock, the health secretary,
What the papers say – June 20.
Politics is a recurring theme on the front pages on Thursday.
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