Labour accuse Theresa May of 'running scared' as ITV confirm Brexit debate is off

Posted On: 
6th December 2018

A planned head-to-head live televised debate on Brexit between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn has been scrapped after ITV withdrew their offer to host it.

ITV and the BBC had both offered to host a Brexit debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.
Credit: 
PA Images

The broadcaster said the clash pencilled in to take place on Sunday night - just two days before next week's crunch vote on the Brexit deal - "will not go ahead".

The BBC, which had also offered to screen the event, withdrew its offer two days ago after failing to reach an agreement on the format.

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An ITV spokesman said: "ITV invited the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition to appear in an ITV programme this Sunday evening, and we have been clear that it is up to those invited to decide whether they want to accept the invitation.

"ITV is developing its plans for covering the build up and reaction to the crucial Commons vote next Tuesday, and a range of voices and opinions will be represented on the subject of Brexit in our output."

Mr Corbyn had said he backed ITV's plans for a straight debate him and Mrs May, while Downing Street had said they would preferred the BBC's proposal for a debate between the pair, followed by questions from a panel of politicians from other parties.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: "Theresa May is once again running scared of debating Jeremy Corbyn, just as she did in the general election. Jeremy Corbyn accepted the Prime Minister’s offer of a debate on Brexit immediately. He said he would relish the opportunity to debate her, and that remains the case.

"Labour believed the head-to-head offer from ITV was the most straight forward format. A head-to-head would give viewers the greatest clarity and allow both speakers to get into detail.

"The Prime Minister has refused to join Jeremy in a head-to-head debate. Her team tried to confuse people with a convoluted format. But the British public will see this for what it is – Theresa May unable to face real scrutiny over her crumbling deal."

Downing Street has been approached for comment.