Party leaders demand to be included in Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn Brexit TV debate
The heads of Westminster’s opposition parties have demanded that they be included in any televised debate on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
The Prime Minister has reportedly proposed a head-to-head clash with Jeremy Corbyn, who has branded the agreement "a miserable failure of negotiation" and vowed that Labour will vote against it.
A Labour spokesperson earlier said Mr Corbyn would “relish a head-to-head debate with Theresa May about her botched Brexit deal and the future of our country”.
But the Liberal Democrats, SNP and the Greens have now urged the PM to make sure they are not shut out of any TV showdown.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable hit out at the prospect of a clash between "two cosy Brexiteers" and demanded to be involved because neither the Tories or Labour had called for a second Brexit referendum.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has already challenged Mrs May for a debate on the deal, and the party has said it will continue to press for its inclusion following the latest report.
The SNP's Stewart McDonald said excluding the Commons' third-largest party would represent "the worst type of Westminster carve-up".
The Greens have also said they must be be included in any debate.
The party's sole MP Caroline Lucas said: "It's good to hear the Prime Minister is considering reaching out to the public with a TV debate on her bungled Brexit deal.
"But for this conversation about our collective future to have any semblance of democracy, it must represent the views of everyone.
"That means it must be cross-party, featuring a diverse range of voices representing every nation, as well as every stance on this deal and our relationship with the EU - not just the Government and an opposition party who are falling far short of actually opposing the Prime Minister's approach."
The Prime Minister is said to want the debate to take place in a "primetime Sunday night slot" ahead of the deal being presented to the Commons.
She was heavily criticised for failing to debate opposition leaders in the run-up to the 2017 election, with the-then Home Secretary Amber Rudd filling in on her behalf.
Mrs May is under increasing pressure over fears that her Brexit deal could be defeated when it comes before the Commons in the next few weeks.
All opposition parties, including the DUP – who she relies on to prop up her minority government – have said they will vote down the deal, as have dozens of Conservative MPs.