Tory leadership contest debate
Conservative MPs will vote again at 3pm, less than 24 hours after a tense leadership debate broadcast on BBC One. Dominic Raab became the latest to fall by the wayside last night as the runners are whittled down to a final pair for the party membership to choose between. Last night’s debate is unlikely to have swayed many MPs’ minds, ending with no clear winner after rowdy exchanges taking in Brexit, Islamophobia and climate change.
Mr Gove claimed he “won the debate” after taking on Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart and Sajid Javid.
He said: “I had the most detailed answers and I have a clear plan to how we can deliver Brexit and make sure we get all the benefits of life outside the European Union.”
Mr Javid is reported to be considering quitting the contest supporter Stephen Crabb MP told Newsnight his favourite had performed well in the debates and was not about to throw in the towel.
Just hours after clearly winning the second round of voting among Tory MPs, Mr Johnson faced his opponents in a TV studio for the first time, having ducked the previous televised debate.
He came under fire for his tax plans, and was also taken to task over his comments comparing veiled Muslim women to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.
Today’s ballot is open from 3pm to 5pm and the result will be declared at 6pm.
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Boris Johnson would be backed by Nigel Farage if he committed to make a clean break from the EU
9.34am update: Farage would back election pact with Boris
Nigel Farage said a clean exit from the EU could be achieved by Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister and forming an election agreement with the Brexit Party.
The former UKIP chief said such a pact would require Mr Johnson to call a snap election.
Mr Farage said: “If Boris said ‘right, we’re ditching this terrible treaty, it’s the worst deal in history, I made a terrible mistake in voting for it, we’re ditching it’.
“‘We’re giving Europe notice – we’re leaving on the 31st of October on World Trade Organisation terms.
“We’re going to do our utmost to make sure that in terms of terms of aviation, transport, the Port of Dover there is as little disruption as there possibly can be’ – then you might spring them into action and they might offer some sort of tariff-free deal.
“And if Boris did that, and he was prepared to go to House of Commons to be voted down, to lose a motion of confidence, to go the country on a general election on that ticket and with the support of people of like me – he would win a massive, thumping majority.”
READ MORE: Who won BBC debate? Five candidates on five crunch topics
Boris Johnson looks at his watch during the Tory leadership debate
8.49am update: Hunt “unclear” on Johnson’s Brexit deadline position
Jeremy Hunt said he was unclear whether Boris Johnson would guarantee taking the UK out of the EU on October 31.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, I am not entirely sure what he believes on this, having listened to him last night.
“You have to think these things through because prime minister
Mr Hunt said he was best placed to cut a new deal with Brussels on Brexit, stating: “We need a negotiator.
“A negotiator has to have three qualities. The first is it has to be someone the other side trust, because you don’t do a deal with somebody you don’t trust.
“Secondly, it has got to be someone who doesn’t blink.
“And thirdly, it has got to be somebody who is prepared to walk away.
“Now, the danger is that if we choose the wrong person now, we will have no trust, no negotiation, no deal, and possibly, if we have an election, no Brexit.”
Rory Stewart took his tie off during the debate
8.37am update: Stewart confident of support from Raab camp
Rory Stewart said he has received positive responses from backers of eliminated hardline Brexiteer candidate Dominic Raab.
The International Development Secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I have had some positive responses, yes.
“I had a couple this morning.”
Referring to his stance on Brexit, Mr Stewart said: “The reason for that support is that like me, they feel – and, I feel, like Dom – that we have to get this done.”
Asked about why he took his tie off during the Tory leadership TV debate, Mr Stewart said: “I took off my tie, I think, because I wanted to take my tie off.
“And, it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
8.11am update: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe husband hits out at Johnson claims
The husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has said comments made by Boris Johnson when he was foreign secretary “enabled a propaganda campaign” against her by Iran.
Mr Johnson had to apologise after saying Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is in prison in Iran on spying charges, was in the country to teach journalists.
Referring to comments by Mr Johnson in the Tory leadership TV debate that his remarks “made no difference”, Richard Ratcliffe told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Of course they had consequences.
“The main difference they had was, obviously, they enabled a propaganda campaign that was run against Nazanin.”
Boris Johnson said his comments on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ‘made no difference’ to her case
7.45am update: Raab team ‘surprised and disappointed’ by elimination
Dominic Raab’s campaign manager accused Conservative MPs of pretending to support his candidacy after the former Brexit secretary was eliminated from the leadership race.
Mr Raab dropped out after falling three short of a threshold of 33 votes from MPs. Sir Hugo Swire, the MP for East Devon who helped co-ordinate his campaign, said that the result was “a surprise and a big disappointment”.
Mr Raab gained only three votes between last Thursday’s first ballot and last night’s second, rising from 27 to 30.
Sir Hugo Swire said: “Clearly some people who said they were supporting us weren’t”
Sir Hugo told Sky News: “They say there’s nothing more sophisticated than the British politician at work when it comes to an election. Obviously we hoped for more, we anticipated more. Indeed, we thought we had more than we ended up with.
Dominic Raab has been eliminated from the contest
7.30am update: Imam ‘disappointed’ by ‘deluded’ Tory hopefuls
An Imam who probed the Tory leadership contenders about Islamophobia during the television debate has branded their responses “disappointing” and “deluded”.
Abdullah Patel asked the five candidates whether they believed words had consequences, and said he had seen first-hand the impact of Islamophobic rhetoric on his community.
Writing on Twitter after the debate, Mr Patel said: “What I got as a response was nothing short of disappointing and deluded: @BorisJohnson forgot my name, spoke about his great grandfather and about Iran. Gove used the opportunity to have a dig at @jeremycorbyn.
“@Jeremy_Hunt used the chance to speak about how he can’t be racist because he has an immigrant wife, and @RoryStewartUK forgot that this is also OUR country.
“The only positive from the debate was @sajidjavid making them all commit to an independent investigation into Islamophobia in the @Conservatives.”