Labour: BBC debate would give Theresa May the advantage

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

Labour has issued an ultimatum to the BBC and Downing Street by urging them to adapt the format of the televised Brexit to make it a “head to head”.

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A party spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn said the BBC format provided a “built-in advantage for the government”.

It said: “When Number 10 told the media she wanted a head-to-head debate on her botched Brexit deal, Jeremy Corbyn immediately agreed. Jeremy Corbyn then swiftly accepted ITV’s proposal for a straightforward head-to-head debate with Theresa May. But the prime minister has rejected it.

“Since then, the prime minister’s team and their preferred broadcaster, the BBC, have put together a confused format which would limit head-to-head debating time, with a built-in advantage for the government.

“The BBC’s latest proposal is a mish-mash, with a lop-sided panel of other politicians and public figures, not a straightforward head-to-head debate. The BBC could - as ITV and Sky have proposed to do - fairly represent other viewpoints and parties in other programmes on its network.

“The public has a right to a genuine head-to-head debate on the prime minister’s worst-of-all-worlds deal.

“Either Theresa May should accept ITV’s straightforward proposal or - if she prefers the BBC - ask the corporation for a genuine head-to-head debate. Jeremy Corbyn is ready to take part in either.

“If the prime minister turns down the opportunity of a genuine head-to-head debate, it will be clear she is once again dodging a TV debate with the leader of the opposition on the future of our country.”

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