UK Tories accuse favorite Boris Johnson of ducking scrutiny

Contenders to become Britain's next prime minister are accusing front-runner Boris Johnson of trying to dodge scrutiny by not agreeing to join televised debates.

Johnson has a commanding lead after the first round of voting by Conservative lawmakers. Six other candidates are still in the race, and all say they will take part in TV debates next week.

Johnson's campaign team says it is still in talks with broadcasters.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is in second place, said Friday that someone who wanted to lead the country should not be "hiding away from the media."

Tory legislators will hold more elimination votes next week, with the final two contenders put to a vote of 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide.

The winner will become Conservative leader and prime minister.