BBC drops Brexit TV debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Corbyn vs May

However, ITV is still interested in hosting the debate, meaning the prime minister has the hard decision of either accepting her rival's preferred format or appearing to run away from a debate that she proposed.

The BBC has pulled out of hosting a Brexit television debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. The BBC typically adopts a format which includes head-to-head debate time and questions from a panel. Mr Corbyn had backed an ITV plan of a simple one-on-one contest.

Britain's two largest parties are still yet to agree terms of a key televised Brexit debate, which is scheduled to take place just two days before Tuesday's parliamentary crunch vote. "There are variations on this".

She added: "I am going to be explaining why I think this deal is the right deal for the United Kingdom - and yes, I am ready to debate it with Jeremy Corbyn".

May initially agreed to a live debate on the BBC last Thursday. But the Prime Minister has rejected it. "So let's get on with it", a No 10 spokesperson said.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Prime Minister issued the original challenge to Jeremy Corbyn for a head-to-head debate, and despite her flexibility on timing and format, Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have done nothing but raise false and flimsy objections to the BBC's proposal".

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Mr Corbyn has said he will go with the Tory preference for a BBC debate if it is a straight head-to-head after previously indicating a preference for a similar ITV proposal.

On Saturday, the BBC released a further statement, saying its proposal included both a head-to-head debate and "an opportunity to hear from a wider range of voices".

Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and other former Cabinet ministers wrote to BBC chairman Sir David Clementi to complain the views of the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit would be "nowhere represented" in the discussion. 'This is, after all, not a general election and the Government or the opposition can not be allowed to play fast and loose with representative democracy, ' they said.

"The principal alternative to the Withdrawal Agreement is for the United Kingdom to remain as a full and influential member of the European Union", he said in a letter to Sky, BBC and ITV. Channel 4 is planning to steal a march by staging its own debate with other high-profile Brexiteers and Remainers.

"There was a sensible and balanced proposal on the table but Jeremy Corbyn refused to take part".

However, friends of the former foreign secretary have made clear he is not interested in the "second string" clash - and the Remain camp would be unwilling to field Mr Blair.

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