Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to take part in televised hustings for the Conservative leadership.

Mr Johnson’s six remaining opponents have teamed up to write an open letter stressing their commitment to taking part in all the upcoming televised debates.

So far, Mr Johnson has only answered six questions from journalists during the whole campaign, but that hasn’t stopped him opening up a huge lead in the first ballot of the contest.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman has said his client is “in discussions” with broadcasters.

In a joint statement, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock and Rory Stewart said the leadership contest was “a critical moment” for both the UK and the Conservative party.

They said: “The next Conservative Leader, and Prime Minister, will have the crucial task of uniting Britain behind a new vision – not only to deliver Brexit, but to define what comes next.

“This leadership contest provides an important opportunity to debate, to shape and to define the ideas which will underpin those competing visions.

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“That is why we are committed to taking part in the Channel 4 televised debates this Sunday and the BBC programme next Tuesday.”

Those campaigning against Mr Johnson warned his strategy of avoiding media scrutiny could land the Tories with the same sort of leadership coronation that delivered victory for Theresa May without her being stress-tested under the spotlight.

Dominic Raab
Image: Dominic Raab has called for a ‘proper debate’

A campaign spokesman for Mr Stewart said the next leader must demonstrate they have the capability to “win back old voters and win over new audiences”.

He added: “Any candidate who seeks that mantle can hardly opt out of a public debate.

“If any candidate ducks that duty, there is a simple question we should ask: ‘What have you got to hide?”‘

Mr Raab also called for a “proper debate”.

“I’m looking forward to the first televised debates on Sunday and I hope that everyone gets involved – we should have a proper debate on the vision for the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock is understood to be considering pulling out of the race to support another candidate with a better chance of winning the 33 votes needed to get past the next round.

The Times reported the Health Secretary met Mr Javid, the Home Secretary, but the meeting appears not to have resulted in any agreement and Mr Hancock is now thought to be more likely to back Mr Gove or Mr Hunt.

Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told Mr Johnson it was his duty to debate with his rivals and “get out and do the TV debates”, according to the Times.