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June 25, 2019

Hunt ‘better equipped’ to deal with security emergencies

World

P
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June 25, 2019

LONDON: Boris Johnson is not as qualified to deal with national security crises as Jeremy Hunt, the de-facto deputy prime minister has warned.

When asked about the two candidates competing to become prime minister, David Lidington said that Hunt was better equipped to deal with terrorist emergencies, hostage situations and the possible deployment of troops.

The Cabinet Secretary, who has served under Theresa May alongside both candidates, criticised the rise of English nationalism and said that the 300-year-old Union of the UK faced a greater risk than he had ever known.

“When I’ve tried to weigh up in my mind the criteria, it seems to me first is which man is going to be better to shoulder the security responsibilities that come with the job of prime minister?” Lidington told the Law Society of Scotland’s conference on 20 years of Scottish devolution.

He said: “The prime minister will have to take those decisions often under severe time pressure and almost inevitably on the basis of intelligence evidence that is, by its very nature, going to be incomplete. So, who has the track record and the temperament that will be best for that? My judgement is that Jeremy is the one who is best equipped to deal with the ‘3am call’.”

Leadership favourite Johnson, who has become embroiled in controversy surrounding his personal life after police were called to an apparent domestic row at his girlfriend’s flat, has “got to decide the extent to which he will answer questions about the episode at his home,” Lidington said, urging the former foreign secretary to take part in televised debates with Hunt.

Asked whether Johnson is a “coward” for avoiding TV debates during the leadership campaign, Lidington said: “I think it’s wrong and it’s also unwise for him to duck out of interviews and debates. We’re choosing not just a party leader, we’re choosing a prime minister...”

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