Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Boris Johnson to take part in UK leadership TV debate

The former foreign secretary has said a managed Brexit is his priority

Boris Johnson has garnered the support of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs. AP
Boris Johnson has garnered the support of pro-Brexit Conservative MPs. AP

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to become the UK’s new prime minister has said he will take part in a leadership debate on the BBC next Tuesday.

In comparison to his rivals the former foreign secretary has limited his exposure to broadcast journalists, leading to accusations he is hiding from the media.

He came out on top in the first polls to become the new leader of the ruling Conservative Party and, as a result, prime minister. Mr Johnson achieved 114 of the 313 votes. His nearest challenger was foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt with 43.

"I think it is important that we have a sensible, grown-up debate," Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 4.

"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,” he added.

"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.”

Of the original ten in the first leadership ballot on Thursday, six now remain. The second round of voting is expected to happen next Tuesday, before the leadership debate.

Outgoing prime minister Theresa May is stepping down after failing three times to get parliament to support her withdrawal agreement from the European Union. The UK is set to leave on October 31 after the government decided to delay its exit from the bloc - twice - earlier this year following the rejection of their Brexit deal.

Mr Johnson said the UK must leave the EU by 31 with or without a deal, but has said his preference is for a managed Brexit.

Updated: June 14, 2019 06:17 PM

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