5 Genuinely Interesting Things From The Election Debate

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn went head-to-head and gave us a very British zinger about damson jam.

Brexit, Brexit, NHS, “NOT FOR SALE”, Brexit, Brexit, Prince Andrew – this, in a nutshell, was the first head-to-head election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

If this is your bag then HuffPost UK has a great rundown here. But if you prefer damson jam and weird Twitter shenanigans, then keep reading, for this way lies genuinely interesting tidbits.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn at the ITV leaders' debate.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn at the ITV leaders' debate.
Handout via Getty Images

This little insight into Corbyn’s preparations

Salad, tea and a chat – a relaxing evening by anyone’s standards. Well, if you discount the whole live TV debate bit.

The stage

Well it was certainly... bold.

The bit about Prince Andrew

As journalist Jennifer Williams pointed out, after an opening in which both Johnson and Corbyn basically said what they’ve been saying for months now, it all felt a little... familiar.

The Labour leader dismissed the prime minister’s pledge to “get Brexit done” by the end of January as “nonsense” while Johnson suggested his rival was “not fit to lead our country”.

But things got a bit fresh later on when both men were asked about the story of the moment – Prince Andrew.

Asked if the monarchy was fit for purpose, Corbyn replied: “Needs a bit of improvement.”

Contrast that with Johnson, who said: “The institution of the monarchy is beyond reproach.”

Asked if the Duke of York is fit for purpose, Corbyn said: “Before we discuss Prince Andrew I think we should discuss the victims that are there because of what [Jeffrey] Epstein was doing.

“I think there are very, very serious questions that must be answered and nobody should be above the law, but the primary position ought to be the proper treatment of those people who were victims of the most appalling behaviour by apparently Epstein and many others.”

Johnson said “all our sympathies” should be with the victims of Epstein, adding: “The law must certainly take its course.”


The crucial question – and the most British of zingers

Forget Brexit and the NHS, what we all really wanted to know was what Boris and Jeremy would get each other for Christmas.

No? Oh, well they told us anyway.

Corbyn said: “I know Mr Johnson likes a good read, so what I would probably leave under the tree for him would be A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and he could then understand how nasty Scrooge was.”

Not bad. Your turn Johnson.

Responding, he said: “I would probably leave a copy – since you want a literary reference – a copy of my brilliant Brexit deal.”


Host Julie Etchingham pressed for a non-political answer. Johnson replied: “Mr Corbyn shares my love of plants and trees. I think maybe some damson jam.”

Then it came. A lovely little one-liner from the famed allotment enthusiast.

“I make my own damson jam!”

Marvellous stuff.

Things got weird

Shortly after the debate began, people noticed the Twitter account of the Conservative Campaign Headquarters had undergone a dramatic redesign.

That’s right, they’d sneakily disguised themselves as “FactCheckUK” which, when combined with their obviously pro-Johnson tweets, created a rather dubious image.


They were rightly called out for it and it wasn’t long before people were taking the piss in spectacular fashion by doing their own rebrands.

So who won after all that? God knows.

No seriously, there was barely any difference between the two.

Make sense of politics. Sign up to the Waugh Zone and get the political day in a nutshell.


What's Hot