GIVEN that he is a strong favourite to be the next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s refusal to appear on last night’s televised Conservative Party leadership debate was extremely disappointing.

Mr Johnson has agreed to take part in a second debate hosted by the BBC later this week, but by dodging last night’s discussion, he has fuelled suggestions that he would prefer his beliefs and policies not to be scrutinised.

It is almost as if Mr Johnson has decided that saying nothing is the best way to ensure his leadership campaign is not derailed.

Perhaps Conservative members already know enough about him to decide whether or not to support him in a ballot, but the rest of the country deserves to know Mr Johnson’s views on a range of important matters.

Take Brexit for example. Mr Johnson is saying the UK will definitely leave the European Union by October 31, but has refused to say how he will achieve such an outcome if Parliament takes steps to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Despite his former role as foreign secretary, he has said nothing about how he would deal with Russian aggression, rising tensions in the Middle East or the potential future actions of a Donald Trump-led United States.

Domestically, he has given no indication of his vision for the economy, housing or the NHS. Would he advocate more austerity or would he prefer to loosen the purse strings?

These are crucial questions. If Mr Johnson wants to be Prime Minister, it is time he came up with some answers.