Jeremy Hunt labels Boris Johnson a ‘coward’ for refusing to take part in TV debate

The televised Tory leadership debate has been cancelled because Boris Johnson has refused to take part, prompting Jeremy Hunt to call him a "coward" and telling him to "man-up".

In an interview with Sky News, the prime minister hopeful said he was invited to debate with Boris Johnson on TV but the former foreign secretary declined to do it.

“It is cowardice frankly not to appear in head-to-head debates against me,” he told the news station.

Sky have invited us both for a debate tomorrow evening. I’ll be turning up. It’s very, very important that in the next two weeks which are the only period the conservative party members will see us head-to-head before they actually get their postal ballots that they have a chance to hear both of us answer difficult questions.

And you can’t become prime minister without answering questions about the decisions that you’re going to have to take almost immediately after you get through the door of Number 10.

He added: “My worry is that Boris has got a coalition of people like Matt Hanckock who want a no-deal taken off the table, Mark Francois who wants no deal.

“That coalition will dissolve very, very quickly indeed when he has to take some actual decisions.”

Sometimes in politics you can fudge but on Brexit you can’t. There are going to have to be decisions and that’s why it’s very important that a new prime minister has a mandate actually spelt out what he’s going to do.

He concluded: "Don't be a coward Boris, man up and show the nation you can cope with the intense scrutiny the most difficult job in the country will involve."

People criticised Hunt for his "man-up" comment.

Others remain unimpressed by Boris.

Johnson has been criticised for his absence from a number of televised interviews with other former leadership contenders.

Last week Hunt attacked Boris Johnson for refusing to take part in Channel 4’s Conservative leadership debate.

“Where is Boris?” Hunt asked the room during the debate.

If Boris team won’t let him out to debate five pretty friendly colleagues, how will he get on with 27 EU countries?

The foreign secretary had been asked how he could seriously contemplate a no-deal Brexit.

“[Johnson] should be here to answer that question,” he said, before discussing his views on no-deal.

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