International

UK leadership hopefuls clash over Brexit promises

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Boris Johnson stood accused Tuesday of having nothing to offer Britain but “blind optimism” as he and his rival for the premiership clashed over Brexit in a bad-tempered TV debate.

Johnson is the runaway frontrunner to replace Theresa May later this month, wooing voters with a promise to take Britain out of the European Union on October 31 whatever happens.

But in their first and only head-to-head debate, his rival Jeremy Hunt accused him of not being honest about the risks of leaving the bloc without a deal with Brussels.

“If we want to make a success of Brexit it’s not about blind optimism, it’s about understanding the details that will get us the deal that’s right for country,” said Hunt, the current foreign minister.

Johnson, a former London mayor who preceded Hunt at the Foreign Office, is known for his rhetoric and jokes but has been accused of having only a vague plan for office.

But in their first and only head-to-head debate, his rival Jeremy Hunt accused him of not being honest about the risks of leaving the bloc without a deal with Brussels.

“If we want to make a success of Brexit it’s not about blind optimism, it’s about understanding the details that will get us the deal that’s right for country,” said Hunt, the current foreign minister.

Johnson, a former London mayor who preceded Hunt at the Foreign Office, is known for his rhetoric and jokes but has been accused of having only a vague plan for office.

He retorted that “we’ve had a bellyful of defeatism”, saying he would help Britain “get back our mojo” and “off the hamster wheel of doom”.

Ballots have already been sent out to the 160,000 members of the ruling Conservative party who will decide the winner, with the result set to be announced on July 23.

AFP

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