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Date set for Corbyn and Johnson to go head to head in election TV debate

The date has been set for the first televised election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

(Victoria Jones/Aaron Chown/PA)
(Victoria Jones/Aaron Chown/PA)

By Dominica Sanda, PA

The first televised election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn has been set for November 19.

The debate will be aired on ITV and it will be the first time the party leaders go head to head in the election campaign.

ITV Press Centre made the announcement on Twitter on Friday afternoon and said details of further multi-party debates will be released in due course.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn challenged Mr Johnson to a debate earlier in the week, and on Friday said it was “welcome” that he accepted.

“This is a once in a generation election. So it’s welcome that Boris Johnson has accepted our challenge of a head to head TV debate. The choice could not be clearer: Boris Johnson’s Conservatives protecting the privileged few or a Labour government on the side of the many,” Mr Corbyn tweeted on Friday.

Mr Johnson also used Twitter to comment on the debate.

“Looking forward to making the positive case to the country that we should #GetBrexitDone & deliver on the people’s priorities – #OurNHS, schools, tackling crime & the cost of living,” he said.

The Prime Minister was accused of running scarred from TV debates by rival Jeremy Hunt during the race to lead the Tory Party after the departure of Theresa May.

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.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Ed Davey said Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn are “running scared” of Jo Swinson.

“They appear determined to block the woman leader of the strongest party of Remain from the debate stage.

“They know that their vision for our country can’t compare to the Liberal Democrat plan to stop Brexit and build a brighter future.”

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price announced he will take part in a multi-party debate which will be televised by ITV later in the General Election campaign.

“We’re going into this election as Wales’ leading Remain party and the only party that always puts Wales first. Our message to voters is simple: back Wales, back Plaid Cymru,” a spokesman said.

“It has to be said, though, that it’s slightly peculiar that Johnson and Corbyn will get their own head-to-head debate – when it’s parties like Plaid Cymru who are most likely to hold the balance of power in Parliament after the election.

“It should also be said that a head-to-head debate between two Brexiteers won’t be much of a show.”

In 2017, prime minister Theresa May came under fire for refusing to appear in any head-to-head leaders’ debates while Mr Corbyn took part in a seven-way showdown during the election campaign.

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Prime minister Gordon Brown answers a point watched by moderator David Dimblebly during a 2010 leaders’ general election debate (Gareth Fuller/PA)

David Cameron, the Conservative prime minister in 2015, agreed to take part in one seven-way TV debate during the election campaign but refused to participate in a head-to-head clash with then-Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.

TV debates were first held at the 2010 election, when Mr Cameron took on then prime minister Gordon Brown and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in three debates, which helped propel Mr Clegg into public prominence.

PA

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