Boris narrowly defeats Corbyn in ITV election debate but misses out on ‘knockout blow’

Boris narrowly defeats Corbyn in ITV election debate but misses out on ‘knockout blow’

The two leaders went head to head in the ITV live debate to argue their policies ahead of the December 12 election. A YouGov Poll has shown 51 percent of the 1,646 voters chose the Prime Minister as their winner, while Labour Leader came a close second on 49 percent, according to Sky News. Chris Curtis, YouGov’s political research manager, said: “Our snap poll shows that the public is divided on who won the debate, with most Labour voters thinking Jeremy Corbyn won, most Conservative voters thinking Boris Johnson won, and very few people changing their minds.

“But given the Conservatives went into this debate in the lead, they will hope the lack of a knockout blow means they can maintain this until voting day.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “It was quite clear Boris was the only prime minister on the stage this evening.

“But actually I think he was very strong on the NHS and challenging Corbyn quite frankly on Brexit where Corbyn effectively refused for nine times to outline what his plan was, whether or not he was going to be for Leave or Remain.”

Tory Party chairman James Cleverly said: “Tonight Boris Johnson set out the choice facing voters at this election – a majority Government that can get Brexit done so the country can move on, or yet another gridlocked hung Parliament that will spend all of 2020 arguing about Brexit.

Boris has been voted as the winner of the Leaders' Debate

Boris has been voted as the winner of the Leaders’ Debate (Image: ITV)

“Jeremy Corbyn showed exactly why he is unfit to govern our country. He failed nine times to say where he stands on Brexit. He refused to rule out a second referendum on Scotland in return for Nicola Sturgeon’s support to put him into Downing Street.

“He wouldn’t say how Labour would tackle unlimited and uncontrolled immigration or how he would keep Britain safe. And his fantasy economics would take a sledgehammer to the British economy – leaving hardworking taxpayers to foot the bill.

“The decision on 12th December is clearer than ever: vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour for more Brexit delay, a broken economy and the chaos of two referendums. Or vote for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives so we can get Brexit done and focus on our police, hospitals and schools.”

Speaking after the debate, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “Well, there is no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn is a better debater than Boris Johnson.

“But on the key issue of the day, Brexit, nine times Jeremy Corbyn would not say as Prime Minister that a second referendum that he’d call, whether he’d vote Leave or Remain.

“That is a failure of leadership.”

Meanwhile, Michael Gove accused Jeremy Corbyn of “a terrifying display of intellectual vacuity” over his Brexit stance.

READ MORE: Dan Walker queries Jeremy Corbyn’s glasses during debate

The two leaders went head to head tonight on ITV

The two leaders went head to head tonight on ITV (Image: ITV)

Asked about the audience’s laughter at Boris Johnson when asked about telling the truth, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told reporters: “There was open laughter at Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to answer the questions on Brexit. People want Brexit done, they want an end to the paralysis.

“What we have had from Jeremy Corbyn was a terrifying display of intellectual vacuity, he simply has no answer to the essential question … does he want us to be inside the European Union or out? No answers, no leadership, no chance.

“Boris Johnson won that debate hands down. The reason he did so is that he was the only prime minister on that stage.”

Summarising, Mr Johnson accused Mr Corbyn of being “unfit” to be prime minister.

He added: “Mr Corbyn, you’ve heard tonight, cannot answer the fundamental questions. Is he for Remain or Leave and what price would he pay to secure Nicola Sturgeon’s support to enter Number 10?

“If he can’t answer those questions tonight, I don’t think he’s fit to lead our country.”

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The live debate was hosted by Julie Etchingham

The live debate was hosted by Julie Etchingham (Image: ITV)

In his closing remarks, Mr Corbyn urged viewers to register to vote in a “once-in-a-generation election”.

He added: “This is a once-in-a-generation election to end privatisation and give the National Health Service the funding it needs. To give people the final say and get Brexit sorted.

“To tackle the climate emergency that threatens our futures. To invest good jobs in every region and nation of our country.

“I ask that you vote for hope and vote Labour on December 12.”

During the debate,  Mr Corbyn dismissed Boris Johnson’s pledge to “get Brexit done” by the end of January as “nonsense”.

In the opening exchanges of the TV debate hosted by ITV, the Prime Minister warned the UK faced more “dither and delay” under a Labour government.

He said a vote for the Conservatives would be a vote to finally “get Brexit done”.

Mr Corbyn was criticised for failing to say whether he backed Brexit or now

Mr Corbyn was criticised for failing to say whether he backed Brexit or now (Image: ITV)

“If you vote for us, we have a deal that is ready to go. Approved by every one of the 635 Conservatives candidates standing at this election,” he said.

“As soon as we can get that deal through Parliament, as we can in the next few weeks, we can get on with the people’s priorities.”

But Mr Corbyn retorted that he could not deliver on what he was promising.

“That idea that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’ deal can be dealt with and finished by the end of January is such nonsense,” he said.

“What he is proposing is a trade deal which will take at least seven years to negotiate whilst at the same time saying he will negotiate a special trade deal with the European Union.

“The two things are actually incompatible.”

Mr Corbyn defended Labour’s strategy to negotiate a new deal with the EU within three months of taking office and then put it to voters in a referendum within six months.

However he was taunted by Mr Johnson over his refusal to say which way he would vote, saying: “Are you going to campaign for Leave or Remain?”

The Labour leader hit back accusing him of conducting secret meetings with the US about opening up the NHS to American companies in a future trade deal.

Mr Johnson, however, said the claim was “an absolute invention”.

“It is completely untrue. There are no circumstances whatever in which this Government or any Conservative government will put the NHS on the table in any trade negotiation,” he said.

Boris and Jeremy shook hands during the debate

Boris and Jeremy shook hands during the debate (Image: ITV)

On the NHS, Mr Corbyn told the story about a “friend of mine” who died on Monday morning from secondary breast cancer.

He said: “The day before she had gone to hospital at the recommendation of her GP in order to get urgent treatment. She waited eight hours, the nurses that were trying to help her were unable to get anyone to see her because they were under such strain and stress.

“And so she recorded a video saying ‘please, in my memory, make sure nobody else goes through this pain’. We’ve got to fund our NHS properly and fill the vacancies and make sure it’s there for all time.”

Mr Johnson described the NHS as the “one of the single most beautiful and brilliant things” about Britain, adding: “We are determined to fund it not just now but for the long-term.”

The PM later said: “What could be more ruinous for the NHS than a crackpot plan for a four-day week, which would add massively to the burdens not just of the NHS but of every public service in the country?”

The Prime Minister won the poll despite being interrupted several times by the host

The Prime Minister won the poll despite being interrupted several times by the host (Image: ITV)

Both Mr Corbyn and Mr Johnson said they would invest in public services and increase government spending after a General Election.

Mr Corbyn said: “We will end austerity, I am absolutely clear about that because it is so brutal on the lives of so many people.”

Mr Johnson said: “I believe in spending, investing massively in our public services because we support … a dynamic wealth-creating sector.”

Mr Johnson shook hands with Mr Corbyn during the live television debate as both men agreed to improve the tone of Britain’s political debate.

The two men shook hands after the ITV debate host Julie Etchingham asked: “Will you shake hands to make a pledge to improve politics?”

Following Boris Johnson’s response to a question about the monarchy, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tweeted: “The institution of the monarchy is beyond

reproach, says the man who lied to the Queen….”

Mr Farage also criticised Mr Corbyn, tweeting: “We are 30 minutes into ITV Debate and Jeremy Corbyn still hasn’t told us if he would back Leave or Remain in Labour’s second referendum. Total failure of leadership.”

Published at Tue, 19 Nov 2019 21:18:00 +0000