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What were the best and worst moments for Johnson and Corbyn in the BBC debate?

The televised clash is perhaps the last major chance for the pair to swing the public opinion ahead of the December 12 vote.

The two top contenders to lead the nation clashed in the BBC debate (PA/BBC)
The two top contenders to lead the nation clashed in the BBC debate (PA/BBC)

By Sam Blewett, Political Correspondent, and Richard Wheeler, Parliamentary Editor, PA

The BBC’s head-to-head debate with just six days to go before voters head to the ballot boxes provided the two top contenders one of their final chances to swing public opinion.

Here are the best and worst moments for Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn during Friday’s clash:

Jeremy Corbyn

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Mr Corbyn during the leaders’ debate (PA/BBC)

Best

The Labour leader was successful in taking persistent criticism of his handling of anti-Semitism within his party’s ranks and shifting the focus on to his rival’s actual use of language derided as offensive and racist.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s charge that he had failed “to take a stand”, Mr Corbyn was applauded when he said: “A failure of leadership is when you use racist remarks to describe people in different countries or in our society.”

Worst

Mr Johnson kept count of the minutes that went by in which Mr Corbyn did not outline his Brexit solution sufficiently for the PM’s liking.

He repeatedly chastised the Labour leader for being “neutral” and for failing “to take a stand” on Brexit, qualities that Mr Corbyn likes to praise as being able to unite the nation but they seemed not to go down so well with the audience.

Boris Johnson

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The PM was most comfortable discussing Brexit (PA/BBC)

Best

Brexit is the Tory leader’s safe ground. While there are many questions about what would happen if the Withdrawal Agreement was approved by January 31, he made light of a lack of answers from Mr Corbyn on Labour’s approach.

He gave a running commentary, claiming there had been no answers in 50 minutes. He was able to deflect doubt on to his opponent.

Worst

Mr Johnson claimed Tory members are “out first bounce” if guilty of Islamophobia but was then confronted about candidates who are accused of such abuse.

The PM replied by saying all these candidates have either apologised or are “now subject to investigation”.

He later said “I missed that” when Mr Corbyn said he never used “racist language in any form to describe anybody in this world or in our society”, an implication that Mr Johnson had done.

PA

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