JEREMY HUNT criticised his own party’s cuts to the police last night in a ‘digital hustings’ with rival Boris Johnson.
The foreign secretary said the Conservatives had been faced with ‘difficult decisions’ in balancing the nation’s budget following the 2008 financial crisis but told the audience: ‘I think the reduction in police numbers went too far.’
He vowed he would increase officer numbers if he became prime minister but declined to be drawn on exact figures.
Mr Hunt also said he would like the UK to become ‘the world’s next Silicon Valley’ and called for research into the introduction of online voting.
The leadership candidates were answering questions from Facebook and Twitter users in front of an audience of Tory members — but were not debating head-to-head.
Mr Johnson again brushed off questions about whether he was a ‘security risk’ due to his colourful private life and reiterated his optimism of securing a new Brexit deal.
He also took a swipe at the Brexit Party and Lib Dems, who had a surge in support in the European elections, describing them as ‘sprouting like puffballs’.
He ruled out working with the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage, adding: ‘They have been feeding off the decay in trust in politics. We’re going to prick those puffballs — if that’s what you do to a puffball.’