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Hunt brands Johnson a ‘coward’ for refusing to participate in TV debate

THE race for No 10 intensified today after Jeremy Hunt called Boris Johnson “a coward” for again refusing to take part in a TV debate.

The jibe came as details of last week’s police call-out to a “bust-up” between Mr Johnson and his girlfriend, former Tory communications director Carrie Symonds, came to light.

Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt said he was “not interested” in Mr Johnson’s private life but said that his opponent should “man up” and debate.

Sky News said it has cancelled the debate after former foreign secretary Mr Johnson “refused” the invite. He was also a no-show at a Channel 4 debate when there were still five candidates running.

He has also been accused of avoiding scrutiny on his Brexit policy after warning that Britain will face a “democratic explosion” if it does not leave the EU by October 31.

Mr Hunt challenged him to reveal whether he would call a general election if MPs refused to allow Britain to leave without a deal on that date.

In the Commons Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pressed Prime Minister Theresa May on whether she agreed with Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt that no deal should be “on the table as a viable option.”

He slammed Mr Johnson as having “no grip on reality” for suggesting that a free trade agreement and changes to the backstop could be negotiated in the implementation period. The Labour leader suggested that such a period would not be included in a no-deal scenario.

Mr Corbyn said: “Whatever Brexit plan the new Tory leader comes up with, after three long years of failure, they should have the confidence to go back to the people on a deal agreed by Parliament.”

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