PENRITH and the Border MP Rory Stewart has said it's shocking that Boris Johnson won't take part in Channel 4's conservative leadership debate.

Speaking on The Nigel Farage Show on talk radio station LBC on Sunday morning, Mr Stewart said: "I think it's shocking.

"You [Nigel Farage] or I would definitely turn up for that debate.

"In the end, we're selecting something very serious, we are selecting a Prime Minister for this country, and the public and journalists deserve to ask some very, very tough questions - test his metal. Work out what his plan is, how he is going to do it, and work out if he is the man that can be trusted to reform our health service, to sort out our education, and represent us on the world's stage.

"He must come out, I don't know why he is running scared, he's a great communicator."

Mr Farage added that Mr Johnson was leading, and suggested he was 'playing safe.'

In response, Rory said: "That's what I think that in the end, it is written.

"He, as I fear what is going to happen, or actually, I hope is going to happen, is that he loses his campaign.

"It'll be because of his decision to run scared.

"You must never run scared of the British public."

Rory was also asked that is Mr Johnson got into power, and offered him a job in the cabinet, if he would accept it.

"No. Definitely not.

"I'm not running in this race to become a cabinet minister, I'm running in this race to win."

The secretary of state of international development was also quizzed by LBC listeners on Mr Farage's show.

One caller asked why Rory wasn't in the Liberal Democrat party, as he 'talks the language of social justice and grievance mongering'.

Replying to the caller, he said: "I'm not a leftie, I'm a proud conservative.

"I believe deeply in limited government, individual rights, prudence at home, sense at home, sense abroad.

"I'm also an economic conservative. I'm the only person in this race who's not making unfunded tax and spending pledges.

"But, there is an important point - I shouldn't be ashamed at the fact that a lot of Labour voters and Lib Dem voters want to vote for me.

"That's how we're going to win an election.

"Of course we need to get people back, right across the political spectrum.

"If we can deliver Brexit in a way that makes sense for the people that vote for Nigel Farage, they will vote for us again.

"We've got to deliver Brexit."

  • The Channel 4 Conservative leadership debate will take place between 6.30pm and 8pm tonight (Sunday, June 16)