‘My feeling about them is that they are essential, the viewers, the public does need to see interchange between their potential leaders. And I think the way for politicians to allay their anxieties about leadership debates is to have as many of them as possible, so you can make a cock up in one of them and say something sensible in the next and that is the way to do it’.
Those were the words of Boris Johnson, the front runner in the race to replace Theresa May as our next Prime Minister. Yet, the former foreign secretary and current MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip was the only one of the then six remaining candidates (Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Mark Harper had already been eliminated while Matt Hancock withdrew after the first round) not to show up for the first televised debate on Channel 4 last weekend. He has since refused to attend a lobby debate in Westminister and a Sky News televised debate yesterday. Channel 4 did not cancel and subsequently unseated him; leaving a podium empty to mark his absence but why did he not attend?