Work to block People's Vote taking part in Brexit TV debate. | Politics


The work will not allow a representative of the People's Vote campaign to take part in any televised Brexit debate involving Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, with the party instead pushing for a format that would allow the opposition leader to criticize the prime minister's domestic policies.

May's team has proposed holding a live TV debate ahead of a crunch Parliamentary vote next month on Britain's exit from the EU, prompting a debate over the debate format and which broadcaster would host it.

It also led to calls from parties that support a second EU referendum – including the Scottish National party, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats – to have a representative on the panel.

Corbyn's team swiftly jumped at the offer and confirmed their willingness to take part, saying: "Jeremy would relish a head-to-head debate with Theresa May about her breached Brexit deal and the future of our country."

Despite this, there is no certainty that Corbyn will be involved if Labor can not agree with a broadcaster and No 10 in the next Fortnight.

Sources aware of the Labor's plans emphasized the party would only be willing to consider a debate that pitted the two main party leaders against each other, leaving no room for a proponent of a second referendum. Labor believes this format would also allow Corbyn to get May to broaden the debate beyond Brexit and hold her to account on issues such as austerity.

Anti-Brexit groups called on Broadcasters to insist on including a supporter of a second referendum.

"While it is welcome that the prime minister is finally agreeing to turn up to a debate, the argument for the people to be given the final say on Brexit must be heard loud and clear in that discussion," said the Best for Britain chief executive , Eloise Todd.

One Downing Street source said formal talks with Broadcasters had yet to begin, with questions about scheduling still being decided. The BBC is the most likely home for a debate, but Sky News, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are among those who are thought to have expressed an interest in giving a platform to the prime minister.

Discussion about the format of leaders' debates has become a Cornerstone of British politics over the past decade, with months spent trying to agree a debate format during the 2015 general election. Time pressure means political parties have a matter of days to come to an agreement this time.

The Daily Telegraph has been briefed that the prime minister favors holding a "primetime, Sunday night televised debate" with Corbyn, with a "Question Time-style session with a televised audience hosted by David Dimbleby", lined up if the terms can not be agreed with the Labor leader.

However, Downing Street's desire for a Peak slot may come against the brutal reality of TV schedules. The prime minister's team wants the largest possible audience for such a debate, but the only logistically possible Sunday night that could work is December 9, which could bring its own problems if they want to appear on one of the largest terrestrial channels.

That evening, BBC One is set to show Countryfile, the season finals of Doctor Who and David Attenborough's Dynasties, plus Strictly Come Dancing and a new drama by Jimmy McGovern. Meanwhile, ITV will be showing the final of I'm a Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here.

It is unlikely that a skeptical audience settling down for Sunday night viewing would welcome any of the shows being interrupted or delayed, even for a political debate that could shape the future of Britain.

Any leadership debate will also inevitably provide comparisons with the 2017 general election debates, where May declined to take part and instead sent Amber Rudd to deputies against Corbyn.

During a Facebook Q & A last year, she justified skipping the head-to-head contest with her Labour Rival: "What I think is more important is that I and he take questions directly from the Voters"


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