Boris Johnson called a 'bottler' by Jeremy Hunt after Sky News forced to cancel debate

Posted On: 
24th June 2019

Boris Johnson has been dubbed a "bottler" by Jeremy Hunt after Sky News was forced to cancel a live TV debate between the pair.

Jeremy Hunt has accused Boris Johnson of being a coward.
PA Images

The broadcaster had been planning to broadcast the head-to-head on Tuesday night - but Mr Johnson has refused to take part.

In a statement, they said: "We stand ready to host a debate tomorrow evening if both candidates make themselves available.

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"Without both candidates, tomorrow's debate will not take place."

Sky said they would then reissue their invitations and aim to hold the debate next Monday instead.

A spokesman for Mr Hunt said: "Whoever wants to be Prime Minister must face up now to the intense scrutiny that comes with the job, anything less is deeply disrespectful to our members.

"Trying to duck debates and run down the clock until after postal ballots have been returned is just cynical and complacent. Boris Johnson must stop trying to slink into Number 10 through the back door and come clean about his programme for Government."

A source close to Mr Hunt added: "Bottler Boris and his complacent campaign have shown they can't trust their candidate to turn up and perform."

The latest row erupted just hours after Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt accused his predecessor of being a "coward" for not agreeing to face him in a debate.

Writing in The Times, he said: "The first debate that Boris has been invited to will be on Sky News tomorrow evening. I’ll be there. So don’t be a coward Boris, man up and show the nation you can cope with the intense scrutiny the most difficult job in the country will involve."

Mr Johnson has also refused to comment on the police being called to the flat he shares with his girlfriend after neighbours complained about a noisy altercation.