Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have clashed on Brexit and UK relations with Donald Trump in a lively and occasionally bad-tempered TV debate.
Mr Hunt accused his rival of not being willing to “put his neck on the line” by saying he would quit as PM if he did not hit the 31 October deadline.
Mr Johnson said he admired his rival’s ability “to change his mind” so often – a dig at the fact Mr Hunt voted Remain.
Mr Johnson declined to condemn Mr Trump for his response to the emails row.
He refused to confirm whether he would keep the UK’s top diplomat in the US, Sir Kim Darroch, in his post until his scheduled retirement in December, after Mr Trump said he was no longer prepared to deal with him.
The US president has lambasted Sir Kim, and criticised Theresa May, after the diplomat described the White House as “inept and dysfunctional” in leaked cables.
While stressing the value of the “special relationship” with the US, Mr Johnson insisted that only he, as prime minister, would take “important and politically sensitive” decisions such as who should represent the UK in the US….
During the first head-to-head debate of the leadership campaign, the two clashed over their different Brexit strategies, political styles and why they were best equipped to be prime minister.
The exchanges were pointed and personal in nature at times, with former Mayor of London Mr Johnson dismissing his opponent’s “managerial” style of politics and accusing him of flip-flopping on certain issues….
Both men have been criticised for making uncosted spending promises and offers of tax cuts during the campaign….