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PM debate: Johnson says Brexit extension would harm 'confidence in politics'

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PM debate: Johnson says Brexit extension would harm 'confidence in politics'
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Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS
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The remaining five Conservative leadership candidates faced off in a second debate broadcast on the BBC on Tuesday evening.

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab had been eliminated from the leadership race earlier in the evening.

The candidates focussed once again on Brexit, and this time leadership favourite Boris Johnson was present after he refused to participate in a Sunday night debate on Channel 4.

The debate was presided over by the BBC's Emily Maitlis. Candidates faced questions from people from all across the United Kingdom.

"We must come out on the 31st of October because otherwise, I'm afraid we face a catastrophic loss of confidence in politics," former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said.

The candidates largely agreed that they wanted to leave the EU by October 31st, but no one was willing to raise their hand to guarantee that Brexit would happen by that date.

READ: Boris Johnson extends lead in Tory leadership race as Raab eliminated

READ: Brexit: should Boris Johnson and the Tories get real on no deal?

"If we're almost there on October the 30th, and we just need an extra couple of days to do it, who could object to taking an extra 24 or 48 hours to get it over the line," environment secretary Michael Gove said.

"We have to set the date, we have to stick to it," home secretary Sajid Javid argued.

International development secretary Rory Stewart said it would not be possible to negotiate a new deal with the European Union.

"In the end, we are in a room with a door and the door is called Parliament, and I am the only person here trying to find the key to the door," Stewart said.

Gove said they had already run into the door three times, calling the Brexit deal "cold porridge".

Johnson was pressed by Maitlis about comparing veiled Muslim women to "letterboxes" after an Imam asked if "words have consequences". Johnson apologised for former articles he wrote that he said had been "escalated".

Hunt was asked about Trump's tweets and re-tweets about London mayor Sadiq Khan to which Hunt said he agreed with the sentiment that Khan was "a useless London mayor when it comes to tackling knife crime".

"But I totally disagree with his words and ... the racist rants of Katie Hopkins," Hunt said.

"I have no hesitation in saying that some of the things that for example President Trump has said, no world leader should say," Gove said.

On health and social care, Hunt admitted that "some of the cuts in social care did go too far" and said local authorities needed more money for the social care system but said the UK also needed better mental health provision.

At one moment, leadership candidates appeared to agree with home secretary Sajid Javid to have an investigation of the party on Islamophobia.

"Do you all agree guys? Shall we have an external investigation of the Conservative party into Islamophobia?" Javid asked the other candidates.

When a teenager asked candidates about climate change, she responded after they answered that none of the candidates had impressed her.

READ: What would the contenders for UK prime minister do about Brexit?

READ: Brexit Guide: where are we now?

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