Boris Johnson haunted by his own words on why leadership debates are 'essential'

PUBLISHED: 09:59 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:03 14 June 2019

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson wiping sweat from his brow. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson wiping sweat from his brow. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson's own words on television debates being 'essential' have come back to haunt him as his team refuse to guarantee his participation.

The former foreign secretary so far has only answered six questions from journalists during the whole Tory leadership election campaign.

Now Johnson's team say he is "in discussions" with broadcasters about his participation, as his opponents team up to call on television networks to ensure he takes part.

It has prompted social media users, including Tory MPs David Gauke and Amber Rudd, to re-share this interview with Sky News' Beth Rigby.

In the clip Johnson says that television debates "are essential and that "the viewers do need to see interchange between their potential leaders."

The leadership contender back in September gave some advice to would-be party leaders who were "anxious" about the idea of the debates - suggesting there should be "many".

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He said: "The way for politicians to allay their anxieties about leadership debates is to have as many as possible.

"So you can make a cock-up in one and say something sensible in the next. So that's the way to do it."

The interview was part of Sky's campaign to make sure debates happen.

Twitter users have been sharing the video as a reminder to Boris Johnson about the claims he made just ten months ago.

Presenter Tamara Cohen said: "Remember this? @BorisJohnson backing Sky's campaign to Make Debates Happen. He says: 'My feeling is that they are essential....'"

Tory councillor Thomas Kerr wrote: "Common sense from Boris here, take it we'll see him take part in the #ToryLeadership debate on Sunday then ....."

Twitter user @BevansFur ysaid: "Yet more flagrant hypocrisy from the biggest buffoon in British politics."

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