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Boris Johnson’s rivals for the Tory leadership have united to try to force the frontrunner to take part in televised debates before the next vote.

In a joint statement, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock and Rory Stewart said the contest was “a critical moment” for both the UK and the Conservative party.

All six have committed to taking part in debates on Channel 4 on Sunday and on the BBC on Tuesday.

Mr Johnson, who is said to be in “discussions” with broadcasters, could be represented by an empty chair if he refuses to appear.

Follow all the reaction with our liveblog below

With the top three contenders in the Tory leadership race saying they would consider leaving the EU without a deal, the cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill said on Thursday that the government was “in pretty good shape” to cope with a no-deal Brexit. He also warned the future PM not to drag the Queen into politics by attempting to suspend parliament.
It came as the European Commission has produced analysis suggesting that the UK would be hit up to 10 times harder than the continent.
According to the IMF, the long-term effect on the EU’s GDP would be less than 1 per cent, compared to between 3 and 8 per cent for the UK (including the British government’s own estimate of 7.7 per cent).

EU believes UK economy could be hit 10 times as hard by no-deal Brexit as its own

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Sorgente: Tory leadership race – live: Boris Johnson’s rivals form alliance and sign joint memo urging him to take part in TV debates | The Independent

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