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Prime Minister May says calling snap election shows she had 'b***s'

Prime Minister Theresa May has denied that she regrets calling a snap election, telling a live TV audience that it showed she had "b***s".

Mrs May came under fire over public sector pay and health funding as she faced voters in a BBC One Question Time election special less than a week before the June 8 poll.

And her Labour rival Jeremy Corbyn was heckled as he refused to say whether he would launch a retaliatory nuclear strike and denied supporting terrorism.

One man accused him of speaking with the IRA "when they were killing our people - our women and children".

Audience members also challenged Mr Corbyn over his promises to raise £48 billion in tax to pay for public services, with one man telling him Labour's manifesto read like "a letter to Santa Claus".

Mr Corbyn said it was "a shame" that he and Mrs May were questioned separately in the 90-minute broadcast in York, because the Prime Minister refused to debate other leaders head to head.

But Mrs May insisted she was not ducking a debate, saying she preferred to take questions direct from voters.

She fielded angry questions from nurse Victoria Davey, who said her pay slips had not increased since 2009, and asked: "How can that be fair, in the light of the job that we do?"

And moderator David Dimbleby told her that reports suggested nurses were forced to go to food banks, asking: "Is that fair? Do you sleep happy at that?"

Mrs May said public sector staff were "working very hard on jobs we want them to do", but added: "We have to make sure that we are managing our money carefully because at the end of the day there isn't a magic money tree that suddenly delivers all the money everybody wants for the spending everybody wants."

In her very first question she was confronted by a charge that she had "a known track record of broken promises and backtracking" as both Home Secretary and Prime Minister.

Abigail Eatock - a Ukip supporter - won loud applause as she told the PM: "You said you wouldn't call an election and you did. You are refusing to take part in debates, refusing to answer people's questions, refusing to talk to Jeremy Corbyn. And you've backtracked on your social care policy. Your entire manifesto has holes in it, and everyone else can see that."

But Mrs May said: "I'm not refusing to take part in debates, because I'm here answering questions from you. That's what I think is important in an election campaign - not politicians arguing amongst each other, but actually listening and taking questions from voters."

Asked whether she felt "remorse" for calling an election which had seen her lead slip from 25 points to five or less in the opinion polls, she replied: "In this job I do what I believe is the best for Britain. I could have stayed on doing that job for another couple of years and not called an election.

"I had the b***s to call an election."

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