Tue, 15 June 2021

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By Georgina Bailey, Eleanor Langford and Kate Proctor
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Theresa May says she’s 'ready' for TV debate with Jeremy Corbyn days before crucial Commons vote

Theresa May says she’s 'ready' for TV debate with Jeremy Corbyn days before crucial Commons vote
4 min read

Theresa May has confirmed that she's "ready" for a televised showdown with Jeremy Corbyn over her Brexit deal as she races to sell it to the country.

The Prime Minister - who is facing an uphill struggle to get her agreement through the House of Commons - is pushing for a 9 December primetime battle with the Labour leader.

That means that if it went ahead, the TV clash would come just two days before MPs vote on the deal.

Mrs May told the Sun: "I am going to be going out and round the country. I am going to be talking to people.

"I am going to be explaining why I think this deal is the right deal for the UK - and yes, I am ready to debate it with Jeremy Corbyn.

"Because I have got a plan. He hasn’t got a plan."

Mrs May said the exact format "would be a matter for the broadcasters to determine" - but it would clash with the final of hit ITV reality show 'I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here' if it was held on 9 December.

Downing Street is understood to be pushing for the debate to be a straight one-on-one clash between Mrs May and the Labour leader.

But that has triggered a backlash from other party leaders, who are also keen to be included.

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said the Prime Minister should "move beyond the comfort zone of debating with Brexit fellow travellers like the Leader of the Labour Party" and let him take part, while the Greens have also demanded to be involved.

The People's Vote campaign for a second Brexit referendum is also demanding to be allowed to take part and has penned a letter to the bosses of the BBC, ITN and Sky News warning against a "format agreed hastily between Downing Street, the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and broadcasters".


The Guardian meanwhile reports that Mr Corbyn's office is keen to keep the debate focused on the two leaders, to allow him to attack Mrs May's domestic record.

A spokesperson for the Labour leader has already said: "Jeremy would relish a head-to-head debate with Theresa May about her botched Brexit deal and the future of our country."

The plan for a debate forms part of a media and campaigning blitz launched by Number 10 in a bid to convince MPs to back her deal in the face of opposition from her own Brexiteer backbenchers and the DUP.

Labour has also vowed to vote against the deal, with Downing Street last night holding behind-closed-doors talks with opposition MPs in a bid to sell the agreement.


Mrs May will today head to Wales and Northern Ireland to meet business chiefs and political leaders as part of her plan to build wide support for the agreement.

She said: "Having been told by the EU that we would need to split the UK in two, we are leaving as one United Kingdom.

"My deal delivers for every corner of the UK and I will work hard to strengthen the bonds that unite us as we look ahead to our future outside of the EU."

But the Prime Minister is facing continued pressure from her own party, with Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer becoming the 25th MP to publicly announce that he has submitted a letter of no confidence in her.

Meanwhile the Times reports that some senior Tories have urged Mrs May to name a departure date, arguing that this would help swing Conservative MPs behind her plan.

A source told the paper: "We know that the future relationship is not binding.

"This means she is the problem, not the deal per se, since it leaves plenty of flexibility for a successor to organise technical solutions for the Irish border and move towards Canada."


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