MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, rivals to become Britain’s next prime minister, clashed over who could be most trusted on Brexit on Tuesday in a sometimes bad-natured television debate just two weeks before one will be crowned.
With Johnson way out in front of the race to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, both were asked repeatedly to prove that they would take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 and would protect business from a so-called no-deal Brexit.
Years - Britain - Bloc - Brexit - Race
More than three years since Britain voted to leave the bloc, Brexit is dominating the race, with both candidates trying to point out the other’s weaknesses.
Former London mayor Johnson raised questions over Hunt’s commitment to leaving on the Oct. 31 deadline while foreign minister Hunt criticized Johnson for relying on what he said was nothing more than optimism to win a deal.
Circumstances - EU - October - Johnson - Debate
“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,” Johnson told a debate on ITV television in front of an audience.
Asked repeatedly whether he would quit as prime minister if Britain failed to leave by the deadline, Johnson refused to answer directly, saying: “I don’t want to hold out to the EU the prospect that they might encourage my resignation by refusing to agree a deal.”
Hunt - Johnson - Answers - Nothing - Optimism
That prompted Hunt to accuse Johnson of avoiding direct answers and relying on nothing more than optimism to win a new deal from the EU, or to leave without a deal which would hurt businesses across Britain.
“Because Boris never answers the questions, we have absolutely no...
Wake Up To Breaking News!