Brexit debate begins with row over broadcasters

PUBLISHED: 11:18 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:32 29 November 2018

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn pictured last year at the state opening of Parliament. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn pictured last year at the state opening of Parliament. Picture: Kirsty Wigglesworth

PA Archive/PA Images

The date and time of the BBC’s televised Brexit debate has been announced - but so far only Theresa May is signed up.

The BBC’s debate will air on Sunday 9 December - most likely at 8pm - a time which would clash with the final of I’m A Celebrity.

Jeremy Corbyn’s team have yet to agree to the plan, with opponents accusing the BBC of trying to help the government force Corbyn into a debate while negotiations are still on-going.

Number 10’s preference is said to have been with the BBC, as it was the most “rounded” and focused on the prime minister’s deal, not the wider political situation.

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Labour prefers ITV’s proposal - which would have also aired on the same day - and would be worked around the I’m A Celebrity final.

A spokesman for Corbyn refused to comment further saying: “Negotiations about the debate are still ongoing.”

The BBC said in a tweet: “Like everyone else, we’ve just heard the prime minister has accepted the BBC’s offer to take part in a debate on the Brexit deal on Sunday 9 December. We’re delighted she’s agreed and hope to hear soon from the Labour party.

“We have been discussing debate formats with both parties and will announce further details soon.”

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Nicola Sturgeon responded to the BBC by claiming it was a “travesty of democracy” to exclude a Remain voice.

She said: “If this or any Brexit TV debate goes ahead without all options - including that of remaining in the EU - being included and given a voice, it will be an absolute travesty of democracy.”

People’s Vote supporter Gary Lineker tweeted: “Why have a debate on television, which is presumably an attempt to sway people’s opinion one way or the other, only then not to allow the people to decide what the outcome should be?”

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