Johnson, Hunt Both Vow Brexit by October 31 in UK Conservatives’ Leadership Debate
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were rather sarcastic when describing each other’s most admirable qualities.
Both contenders to become the leader of the British Conservative Party, and thus the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, have promised to get Britain out of the EU before the present deadline of October 31, 2019, while avoiding a no-deal Brexit scenario.
Johnson and Hunt faced one another in their only TV debate Tuesday night aired live on ITV, after they remained the top two contenders for the Tory leadership, with Johnson emerging as the more popular bidder.
In a somewhat bad-tempered debate, Johnson and Hunt attacked each other primarily with respect to their respective ability to deliver on Brexit while avoiding worst-case scenarios.
“I think it’s very, very important not to envisage any circumstances in which we would fail to come out of the EU on October 31,” Boris Johnson stated, as cited by Reuters.
“I don’t want to hold out to the EU the prospect that they might encourage my resignation by refusing to agree a deal,” he added when asked if he would quit as Prime Minister if Britain failed to leave by the deadline last granted to it by the European Union.
The former London Mayor and former Foreign Secretary questioned Hunt’s commitment to getting the UK out of the Union by October 31.
Hunt, the UK’s current Foreign Secretary in the Cabinet of outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, accused Johnson of relying solely on optimism to secure a Brexit with a withdrawal deal from the EU, and of constantly avoiding direct answers.
“Because Boris never answers the questions, we have absolutely no idea what his premiership would be like,” Hunt said.
Members of Britain’s Conservative Party members are submitting their postal ballots to elect the new party leader, and, respectively, the new Prime Minister of the UK. The winner will be announced on July 23, 2019.
Hunt was on the offensive in Tuesday night’s debate which was attributed to his lagging behind in the polls
One main difference between the two Tory leadership candidates that came out of the head-to-head live debate on ITV was that Boris Johnson refused to rule out the possibility of suspending the British Parliament in order to get through a no-deal Brexit. Hunt declared he was not going to resort to such a move.
Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt gave sarcastic answers, rather than any sort of praise, to the question what they admired most in their opponent.
“I’ve worked very well with Jeremy over many years, I greatly admire his ability to change his mind,” Johnson said, an apparent reference to Hunt’s support for the Remain campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
“He has this great ability – you ask him a question, he puts a smile on your face and you forget what the question was. It’s a brilliant quality for a politician, maybe not a prime minister though,” Hunt responded with respect to Boris Johnson.
(Banner image: TV grab from ITV)