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Johnson and Hunt enter final stage of leadership race | Politics News



Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will go head to head later as the race to succeed Theresa May enters its final stage.

The two Tory leadership hopefuls will take part in a debate hosted by The Sun and talkRadio before a live audience in London.

Mr Hunt’s supporters say he is closing the gap on frontrunner Boris Johnson.

He will also be encouraged by reports that ballot papers from the party’s 180,000 members are coming in more slowly than expected.

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It had been thought more would have been returned by now but it is possible that many members are waiting to see how the candidates perform later today.

The chosen party leader will enter Downing Street on 24 July.

Larry, the 10 Downing Street cat, sits on the cabinet table wearing a British Union Jack bow tie ahead of the Downing Street street party.

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According to The Times, Mr Johnson has said his first priority would be to improve the UK’s relationship with the US.

Mr Johnson would want to meet US President Donald Trump within the first two months of becoming prime minister to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal, the newspaper reported on Sunday, citing an ally of the former London mayor.

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The source said: “The key to the whole thing is the US. If we get a trade deal with America we will be very quickly in the market for other deals.

“It encourages others to realise that we mean business.”

The UK is due to leave the European Union by 31 October.

Mr Hunt has already admitted he may “pay a political price” for saying he could not guarantee Brexit by Christmas.

Speaking at a leadership hustings in Colchester on Saturday, he said: “Maybe I will pay a political price for being honest with people.

“But the reality is that we face a hung parliament with people – not just in the Labour Party but in our own party – absolutely determined to stop us leaving without a deal.”

Mr Hunt will spent most of Monday in Brussels with the foreign ministers of France and Germany, discussing Iran.

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