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Corbyn challenges Johnson to head-to-head TV debates

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson also challenged the Prime Minister in the Commons.

Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Boris Johnson (PA)
Jeremy Corbyn (left) and Boris Johnson (PA)

By Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

Jeremy Corbyn is challenging Boris Johnson to face him in head-to-head televised debates during the election campaign.

But it was unclear whether the Labour leader was willing to accept a challenge for a three-way discussion from Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson.

The Prime Minister was accused of running scared from TV debates by rival Jeremy Hunt during the race to take over the Tory party after the departure of Theresa May.

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Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson (House of Commons/PA)

On Wednesday, Mr Johnson dodged a question from Ms Swinson when she challenged him for a discussion.

Mr Corbyn’s spokesman said: “As we demanded of Theresa May and she refused to agree, we would challenge Boris Johnson to agree today to head-to-head TV debates in this campaign.”

But when asked about a three-way discussion with Ms Swinson, the spokesman replied: “We are in discussion with the broadcasters.

“But there are only two people who can be prime minister at the end of this campaign and I think the British public have a clear right to see them debate head-to-head on TV and hear their cases.”

Ms Swinson challenged the PM in the Commons so they can be scrutinised in the run-up to a general election, which is widely-expected to get the go-ahead for December 12.

She told MPs that voters “deserve better than a choice between the two tired old parties”, adding: “So will the Prime Minister commit today to take part in those three-way debates or is he going to run scared?”

They stand for nothing but a policy of dither and delay and indecision Boris Johnson on the Lib Dems

Mr Johnson replied: “What the people of this country want is their promises kept.

“I’m not disposed to believe in the promises of the Liberal Democrats when their leaflets in London say they want to revoke the result of the referendum and their leaflets in the south-west of the country don’t mention Brexit at all.

“That’s the bunch of hypocrites, the lot of them, they stand for nothing but a policy of dither and delay and indecision.”

Mr Johnson did take part in two one-on-one debates during the battle for the Tory crown but not before Mr Hunt and others placed him under great pressure to do so.

PA

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