ITV scraps plan to host Brexit TV debate on Sunday

ITV scraps plan to host Brexit TV debate on Sunday

Thursday, December 6, 2018

ITV says it has scrapped plans to host a televised Brexit debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday.

Confirming that the debate would not go ahead, an ITV spokeswoman said: "ITV invited the Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition to appear in an ITV programme this Sunday evening, and we have been clear that it is up to those invited to decide whether they want to accept the invitation.

"ITV is developing its plans for covering the build-up and reaction to the crucial Commons vote next Tuesday, and a range of voices and opinions will be represented on the subject of Brexit in our output."

The TV debate was intended to take place before the meaningful vote on May's EU Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons next Tuesday. 


'Running scared'

Then Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn take part in the BBC Election Debate in 2017.

A Labour Party spokesperson has accused the Prime Minister of "running scared". 

In a statement, they said: "Theresa May is once again running scared of debating Jeremy Corbyn, just as she did in the general election. 

"Jeremy Corbyn accepted the Prime Minister's offer of debate on Brexit immediately. He said he would relish the opportunity to debate her, and that remains the case. 

"Labour believed the head-to-head offer from ITV was the most straight forward format. A head-to-head would give viewers clarity and allow both speakers to get into detail. 

"The Prime Minister has refused to join Jeremy in a head-to-head debate. Her team tried to confuse people with a convoluted format. 

"But the British public will see this for what it is - Theresa May unable to face real scrutiny over crumbling deal."


'Fair and appropriate' 

This comes two days after BBC scrapped plans to host a debate because it struggled to get both the Prime Minister and the Labour leader on-board. 

On Tuesday, the BBC said it was "disappointed" that it could not come to an agreement. 

They added: "We have been clear throughout the whole of this process that, as well as a substantive head-to-head debate, any programme we broadcast would need to include other voices, including other political parties, to reflect the wide range of views the public and parliamentarians hold about Brexit.

"The final proposal we put to both of the main parties was for a head-to-head debate between the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition, followed by a discussion between eight panellists, including politicians, with a wide range of views on Brexit, and ending with further head-to-head debate and closing statements.

“We believe ours was a fair and appropriate format for those taking part and, crucially, for our audiences around the country, and it is a shame we will not be able to bring them this programme."