Boris Johnson could be replaced in scheduled televised leaders' debate

PUBLISHED: 15:32 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:13 20 November 2019

The prime minister is likely to be replaced by a member of his cabinet in a highly-anticipated television debate. Photo: BBC

The prime minister is likely to be replaced by a member of his cabinet in a highly-anticipated television debate. Photo: BBC

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Boris Johnson could be replaced by a member of his cabinet in a highly-anticipated television debate.

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The prime minister looks set to get Rishi Sunak, the chief secretary to the Treasury, to represent him in one of the election campaign's most major television debates.

The 39-year-old former Goldman Sachs banker was an early backer of Boris Johnson in the party's leadership campaign, and is the frontrunner to represent the Tories in a seven-way debate hosted by the BBC on November 29.

According to the Financial Times, Conservative campaign insiders said that while the decision of who the party would put forward for the BBC debate was not "100% confirmed", Sunak was the clear favourite to stand in for the prime minister, who is unlikely to participate. 
The choice of Sunak points to his growing support within the Conservative party, and suggests he may be in line for a promotion if the party wins a majority.

The debate at the end of this month will feature a seven-way podium debate between leaders 'or senior figures' from the seven major political parties, according to the BBC.

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READ MORE: When are the election TV debates and who will be appearing on them?

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Johnson is still set to appear in a head-to-head debate with Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday night, as well as one further debate in the future and a Question Time special.

The Financial Times say Conservative officials said Sunak was chosen by senior figures in the campaign after proving to be a "very ample TV performer" who is "intellectually dexterous".

They add that the party doesn't view the seven-way debate as essential, which is why the party is 'holding back' big name performers like Sajid Javid and Priti Patel.

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