General Election 2017: Theresa May Accused Of 'Dodging' Live TV Debates

Broadcasters told to 'empty chair' PM if she refuses to take part.
PA Wire/PA Images

Theresa May will not take part in any live televised election debates, the Conservative Party has said.

Jeremy Corbyn accused the prime minister of “dodging” a head-to-head fight during the coming campaign.

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said broadcasters had a “moral duty” to hold debates and should empty chair May if she refused to take part.

In 2015, David Cameron took part in one TV debate alongside the leaders of six other parties including Ed Miliband.

TV debates first took place in 2010 - with the first leading to a surge in support for Nick Clegg.

Conservative MP Nigel Evans today said the prime minister should “go head-to-head in as many TV debates with the leader of the Opposition as possible”.

“What we are doing is not voting for a new prime minister for just two years over Brexit, but for a new prime minister for a duration of a parliament of five years,” he told the Commons.

In a statement, Farron said: “The Prime Minister’s attempt to dodge scrutiny shows how she holds the public in contempt.

“The British people deserve to see their potential leaders talking about the future of our country.

“I expect the broadcasters to do the right thing, don’t let the Conservatives call the shots. If the Prime Minister won’t attend – empty chair her – Corbyn can defend her position as they seem to vote the same on these matters. You have a moral duty to hold these debates.”

David Lidington, the leader of the Commons, said voters would be “fascinated” by the outcome of any debates. The cabinet minister was speaking before the Conservative Party said May would not take part in any debates.


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