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Empty podium left for Boris Johnson after he refused to appear on TV debate

An empty podium was reserved for Boris Johnson after he refused to take part in a live TV debate this evening.

The frontrunner was nowhere to be seen as his five rivals Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart took to the stage for the Channel 4 leadership debate.

Host Krishnan Guru-Murthy said Johnson declined an invitation but was ‘welcome’ to join at any point.

The spot was left conspicuously placed between Javid and Raab. ADVERTISING His appearances since he entered the leadership contest have been few and Johnson has been accused of hiding from the public.

Asked about Johnson’s non-appearance at the debate, Stewart said ahead of the 6.30pm kick off: ‘We’re choosing a prime minister and the public has the right to hear from us and judge who had the qualities to be prime minister.’

He also said he was ‘disappointed’ and hoped Johnson would make a ‘last-minute appearance’.

One source dismissed suggestions negotiations with the MP had broken down and told the Guardian: ‘It’s classic deflection; all the negotiations were very cordial.

The reason he didn’t want to do it is because the format meant he would have to debate with the others.’

Tory hopeful Stewart appeared on the Andrew Marr show this morning to say there is a ‘problem of trust’ with Johnson.

He said: ‘Who do you trust to be your prime minister? How is Boris going to deliver Brexit? ‘He keeps saying “I am going to deliver it.” I don’t even know what he believes.

‘He won’t talk to me. He won’t talk to you. He won’t talk to the public.

‘We want to know what he believes. The real problem with politics is a problem of trust.’

Via Metro

My view: Boris Johnson refused to join the Tory leadership debate, because he is ahead in the poll for the race to No 10 Downing street. He's being accused of cowardice for dodging public scrutiny. He's winning so why would he risk his poll position for a debate that could affect him. Also debates rarely change minds or sway elections.

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