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The Best Thing Jeremy Corbyn Did In The BBC Debate Was Turn Up

31/05/2017 23:21 | Updated 01 June 2017
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Jeremy Corbyn's decision to attend the BBC live TV debate paid off. And in the end it did not really matter too much what he said. The best thing he did was turn up. That was all he needed to do.

If people remember one thing over the din of the 90-minute seven-way shouting match. It will likely be that the Labour leader was there. And Theresa May was not.

With the Lib Dems not rising in the polls on a wave of Remain support as many expected, Corbyn did not have to worry about giving Tim Farron equal footing. He was also helped by the absence of Nicola Sturgeon, an effective debater, who was represented by Angus Robertson.

During the debate, Corbyn left the accusations that May was "afraid" to Farron, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood and Green co-leader Caroline Lucas. A Labour source said this was deliberate, designed to allow Corbyn to appear prime ministerial and above the fray.

His decision to walk on stage allows Labour to spend the remaining seven days of the campaign hammering home the message that May is running scared.

jeremy corbyn

Just as during the two Labour leadership campaigns, when Corbyn would leave the gritty attacks to his allies, the tactic was immediately clear.

His spokesman said May's "refusal to take part showed her weakness" as she "won't even debate her opponents here in the UK, in an election she called".

And minutes after the debate Emily Thornberry, shadow foreign secretary, elbowed her way into a live BBC TV interview to accuse May of "hiding behind the curtains in No.10". She added: "Why is she such a coward?"

But of course, with most polls showing May has a healthy lead, the only thing worse for the prime minister than dodging the debate, would likely have been to have turned up.

Ned Simons is assistant political editor at HuffPost UK

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