18 Jun 19
BORIS Johnson last night vowed to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 – as he faced a co-ordinated assault from Tory rivals and even debate host Emily Maitlis.
The five contenders for No10 repeatedly rowed and talked over each other in chaotic scenes during the live BBC debate.
Tory leadership contenders clashed during the live BBC debate
Viewers accused host Emily Maitlis of singling out Boris Johnson for tougher treatment
BoJo tried to avoid making any gaffes in an uncharacteristically low-key performance as his four remaining challengers tried to land blows on him in his first live TV appearance of the campaign.
But viewers blasted the format claiming it was failing to explore the issues in proper detail.
And they accused the presenter Ms Maitlis of being tougher on Boris than on any other candidate.
DELAY OR NO DELAY?
BoJo and Sajid Javid insisted the Tory party will be destroyed if the new PM pushes back our EU exit again.
But Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Rory Stewart opened the door to a third delay in a fiery blue-on-blue clash.
They claimed that “extra time” may be needed to get a Brexit deal over the line after the Halloween deadline.
Boris blasted: “We must come out on October 31 because otherwise we face a catastrophic loss of confidence in politics.
“We already kicked the can down the road twice.”
Mr Javid backed him, saying: “It is fundamental that it has to be by October 31.
“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes, one of these mistakes we’ve had so far is to have this flexible deadline.”
All of the candidates face another round of voting among MPs later today – as they whittle down the numbers to just two who will face the membership.
[quote credit=”Boris Johnson”]We must come out on October 31 because otherwise we face a catastrophic loss of confidence in politics[/quote]
[boxout headline=”Fear over snap poll”]
THE former Tory chairman has warned the next PM against calling a snap general election.
Lord Feldman said the party was ill-prepared and risked handing victory to Labour.
The peer, who oversaw David Cameron’s 2015 triumph, said there was “a lot, lot more work to be done” before the party was ready to win again.
He added: “I think anyone who’s thinking of voting for an early election should think very carefully about it.
“I think it wouldn’t be a very good idea.”
But Mr Gove hit back: “My worry with that, Boris, is if we got to October 31 and we were so close to getting that deal over the line, would you at that point say ‘Michael, we’re almost there, let’s rip this up’?
“You sometimes have extra time in football matches in order to slot home the winner – my aim is to win for Britain.”
And Mr Hunt addressed BoJo directly, saying: “Let me ask Boris a question – what would you say to a sheep farmer in Shropshire that I met whose business would be destroyed by 40 per cent tariffs? What if there is a deal in sight – but you took us out anyway without one?”
But Boris responded it was “eminently feasible” to get a new Brexit deal by October 31 and denied that his policy was doomed to failure.
The five candidates were perched on stools – Lorraine Kelly joked on Twitter: “This leaders debate looks like the worst boy band ever.”
They were grilled by members of the public representing a range of different political views.
NO DEAL DING-DONG
Asked about whether they would consider a No Deal Brexit, all the contenders except Mr Stewart insisted the nuclear option must remain on the table.
Mr Hunt said: “The only way to get deals is to hold the ability to walk away from a deal which isn’t right. If you take No Deal off the table, then we won’t get a deal.”
But Mr Stewart – the most pro-Remain candidate left – replied: “I am committed there would never be No Deal, it is unnecessary and it is damaging. It is not even a credible threat because Parliament would block it.”
Mr Gove mocked his suggestion he could just force through Theresa May’s existing deal saying: “You cannot simply re-present the same cold porridge for a fourth time and ask people to say that’s what they want. We need to have a different approach.”
Mr Javid said preparing Britain for a possible No Deal would be one of his top priorities in No10.
[boxout headline=”The Sun Says”]THE latest shambolic Tory leadership debate generated far more heat than light.
Almost all five candidates left in the race are determined to deliver Brexit on or around October 31. Great. Almost all want to cut taxes — currently at their highest level in 50 years. Great.
We say “almost all”. Because Rory Stewart’s “plan” for Brexit is to bring back Theresa May’s deal, defeated three times, for a FOURTH vote. Why?
He had the nerve to sneer at others for being unrealistic — then produced the most unrealistic solution of the lot.
Nor would Rory cut our sky-high taxes. Because, he says, public services need the cash. OK. But lowering taxes creates jobs, stimulates growth and generates income for those public services.
The one thing clear above all the shouting generated by the BBC’s farcical format was this: Rory’s popularity may be increasing with Remainer MPs. But he has no real plan for anything.
Nor any ambition beyond continuing whatever it was Mrs May was doing.
Quite how he thinks he would win back the 26 per cent of voters currently backing the Brexit Party — many of them former Tories — is anyone’s guess.
His rivals did fine. Boris Johnson did not excel nor implode. No one laid a glove on him. But he didn’t answer the crucial question either:
How will he get Brexit over the line on October 31 if Parliament blocks No Deal and the EU refuses to fix the backstop?
We’re still none the wiser.
The candidates vowed to keep the Irish border open come what may, using hi-tech solutions to avoid the need for the hated backstop which would tie Britain to the EU.
Boris said: “There will be no tariffs and there will be no quotas because what we want to do is get a standstill on our current arrangements.”
Mr Hunt added: “We need to find a way to keep that border open – a soft border, through technology, but in a way that doesn’t trap us in the customs union – because leaving the EU is about regaining our sovereignty.”
And Mr Gove vowed to “supercharge work on alternative arrangements” which make the backstop redundant.
[boxout headline=”Brussels sparks barney” intro=”From NICK GUTTERIDGE, in Brussels”]BRUSSELS sparked a furious row with Britain yesterday as it refused the UK’s offer to ring-fence the rights of all citizens if there is No Deal.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier slapped down Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay’s bid to protect 3.2 million EU citizens here and 1.3 million Brits abroad.
Mr Barnier claimed it would be too hard to police without Euro judges’ jurisdiction and pointed out the Commons had rejected No Deal.
But Mr Barclay insisted citizens’ rights groups and MEPs strongly support Britain’s proposal.
Brexit minister Robin Walker vowed Britain would “ratchet up the pressure on ring-fencing” to urge Brussels to come to a deal.[/boxout]
[bc_video video_id=”6049676443001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Michael Gove says Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t help ‘working class people’ and only cares about ‘standing up for the Iranian regime'”]
Boris Johnson made a live TV appearance for the first time in the campaign
The candidates clashed about whether to leave on October 31
Rory Stewart – who ripped off his tie halfway through – insisted a No Deal Brexit was impossible
[boxout headline=”By Gove he’ll win”]THE next Tory leader is likely to be under 53 and has spent over a decade in Parliament, but never quit the Government.
The analysis of previous contests is bad news for Boris Johnson, who is 55 today and has resigned as Foreign Secretary.
Michael Gove is the candidate whose credentials most closely match previous winners, according to bookmaker Bwin.
Conservatives who quit the Cabinet have never gone on to be elected leader, while 70 per cent have clocked up at least ten years as an MP.
BOJO ON THE SPOT
Mr Johnson, the runaway favourite to win the leadership election, bore the brunt of the attacks not only from his fellow candidates but also from Ms Maitlis.
She challenged him over his comments on the burka after a question from an imam named Abdullah from Bristol.
BoJo offered a partial apology, saying: “Insofar as my words have given offence over the last 20 or 30 years when I have been a journalist and people have taken those words out of my articles and escalated them, of course I am sorry for the offence they have caused.”
But when asked whether he was responsible for the plight of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British mum jailed in Iran, Boris insisted: “In that case it didn’t, I think, make any difference.”
Critics claim he made her situation worse by wrongly suggesting she had been teaching journalism in the country.
He blasted: “All you are doing is exculpating those who are seriously responsible which is the Iranian revolutionary guard.”
This morning Nazanin’s husband Richard hit back, saying: “Yes of course [his words] had consequences, they enabled a propaganda campaign and were used to justify a second court case.”
Some viewers accused Ms Maitlis of unfairly singling out the frontrunner – economist Ryan Bourne said: “Emily Maitlis showing no respect for Boris by constantly interrupting, and ruining the debate.”
Viewer David Ware tweeted: “He isn’t given a chance to speak or make his points by Emily Maitlis and every question is skewed to catch him out.”
Mr Stewart – the outsider candidate who’s surged in recent days – took aim at all his rivals and said they weren’t being “realistic” by promising post-Brexit tax cuts.
He said: “I don’t think this is the time to be cutting taxes because I’m not thinking about promises for the next 15 days, I’m thinking about 15 years.”
But he baffled viewers with his bizarre mannerisms, including removing his tie in the middle of the debate, and was accused of being “out of touch” by one questioner.
Mr Hunt said he would “turbocharge the economy” by slashing taxes on business while Mr Gove called on targeted tax cuts for the poorest and hit out at Mr Johnson’s proposal of lower taxes for high earners.
He said: “He’s concentrating on cutting taxes for folk who earn what MPs earn and what millionaires earn, I think that’s wrong.”
The candidates were challenged to call a General Election as soon as they get to No10 or risk being seen as illegitimate by ordinary voters.
But they rejected the request saying it would be wrong to ask the British people to return to the polls before Brexit has taken place.
Boris blasted: “I don’t think anyone in the House of Commons who’s sensible wants us to go to a General Election.
“But when we’ve got it done we have the opportunity as Conservatives to bring our country together.”
Mr Gove added that once Britain has finally left the EU, “We can say to Jeremy Corbyn – get back in the dustbin of history where you belong.”
[boxout headline=”Stan-doff warning”]BORIS Johnson’s dad is urging Tory MPs not to put Rory Stewart through to the final two — because a battle between ex-Eton College pupils would harm the party.
Sir Stanley Johnson, whose son went to the super-elite school, told Sky News: “You have to have a PM who can do the job, and if it turns out that Etonians do the job, that’s fine.”
But he said of the contest: “We don’t want to see too much blue-on-blue and we certainly don’t want to see Eton vs Eton warfare going on.”
In another rare moment of unity, all five candidates agreed to ask external experts to probe claims of anti-Muslim hatred in the Conservative party after being challenged to do so by Mr Javid.
He asked the others: “Should we have an external investigation into Islamophobia? Great, we all agree.”
Some viewers insisted the format was pointless because the candidates spent so much time interrupting and shouting over each other.
And even some of those asking the questions hit out at the candidates for not being straight with them.
Fifteen-year-old Erin from Glasgow challenged the would-be PMs on climate change – but asked what she thought of their responses, she blasted: “To be honest, none of you have impressed me.”
Last night’s live telly event was the first that Boris has agreed to take part in.
The other contenders – including Dominic Raab, who was eliminated from the race yesterday – faced each other in a Channel 4 debate on Sunday.
The line-up for last night’s event was finalised just two hours before the start when party bosses announced the result of the second ballot of MPs.
Mr Johnson was again the big winner, taking nearly three times as many votes as runner-up Mr Hunt.
Mr Gove came third with 41 votes, followed by Mr Stewart who won over 37 MPs thanks to his insurgent campaign.
Mr Javid just scraped over the minimum vote threshold needed to stay in the race while Mr Raab came last and was kicked out.
Jeremy Hunt having the best debate so far. Rory Stewart and Emily Maitlis showing no respect for Boris by constantly interrupting, and ruining the debate. No wonder Boris spurned the last one.
— Ryan Bourne (@MrRBourne) June 18, 2019
Like him or not this is a hatchet job on @BorisJohnson. He isn’t given a chance to speak or make his points by Emily Maitlis and every question is skewed to catch him out. Typical BBC bias #BBCOurNextPM
— David Ware (@dware66) June 18, 2019
This leaders debate looks like the worst boy band ever #BBCDebate
— Lorraine (@reallorraine) June 18, 2019
[article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN POLITICS” posts_category=”318″ posts_number=”6″ query_type=”popular” /]
Tomorrow the remaining five contenders face a third ballot of MPs where the weakest candidate will be eliminated.
The fourth round takes place on Thursday morning with a fifth and final ballot scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
By the end of the week just two rivals will be left – with Tory activists choosing which one should become party leader and PM in late July.
Mr Javid insisted the October 31 date was non-negotiable
Michael Gove insisted he’s the candidate to take on Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Hunt hit out at the frontrunner Boris
The candidates standing up to leave at the end
[bc_video video_id=”6049583180001″ account_id=”5067014667001″ player_id=”default” embed=”in-page” padding_top=”56%” autoplay=”” min_width=”0px” max_width=”640px” width=”100%” height=”100%” caption=”Boris Johnson says he will remove the backstop from the Brexit deal”]
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