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Hunt questions Johnson's Brexit pledge as Tory contest enters third round

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Wednesday 19 Jun 2019

Hunt questions Johnson's Brexit pledge as Tory contest enters third round

(Sharecast News) - Five remaining Conservative Party leadership hopefuls prepared for the third round of voting on Wednesday afternoon with MPs set to eject another candidate.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt started the day with an attack on frontrunner Boris Johnson, questioning his ability to handle finer details on issues such as Brexit.

The field was reduced on Tuesday when Dominic Raab, an enthusiastic supporter of a no-deal Brexit, was rejected by his parliamentary colleagues.

Johnson again topped the ballot with 126 votes - 12 more than in the first round, while Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart also got to the next round.

Raab had also upset MPs when he refused to rule out suspending parliament to thwart attempts by MPs to block a no-deal Brexit.

In a televised debate on Tuesday night Hunt asked Johnson whether or not he would force a no-deal Brexit on October 31 even if a deal looked imminent.

"The reason I asked that very direct question to Boris is because the job of prime minister is not actually about broadbrush statements," he told the BBC on Wednesday.

In the debate Johnson said he his intention was to leave the EUat the end of October, but failed to offer an absolute guarantee.

"Boris has made a big play of saying that we will definitely leave, deal or no-deal, on 31 October. Yesterday, frankly, he suggested that he would not be so absolute in that," Hunt said on Wednesay.

"We all want to leave by 31 October, we all want to have an orderly Brexit. That's the easy bit. It's actually about making finely balanced judgments on the basis of the facts in front of you."

"I'm not entirely sure what he believes on this, having listened to him last night."

In the latest round of votes, Hunt secured 46 - three more than in last week's first vote, while Gove and Javid increased their support - by four and 10 votes to 41 and 33 votes respectively.

International Development Secretary Rory Stewart nearly doubled his vote from 19 to 37 votes.

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