ITV leaders debate: Boris Johnson will demand Jeremy Corbyn answer four key Brexit questions during their TV clash

BORIS Johnson has demanded Jeremy Corbyn answer four big questions on Brexit during their first TV clash tonight.

The PM and the Opposition Leader go head to head for the first time in the election campaign in the ITV leaders debate tonight from 8pm.

The ITV Leaders debate is seen by Labour as a big chance for their 70-year-old boss to make ground on the Tories’ current 11 point lead in the polls
Boris Johnson will call on Jeremy Corbyn to say if he will urge voters to back Remain or Leave in his planned second referendum on tonight’s ITV leaders debate
Alamy Live News

In a bid to set the terms of their crucial joust, the Tory boss last night despatched an appeal for clarity in a letter to the Labour chief.

Insisting the public have “a right to know” where Mr Corbyn stands on the major issues which he says his rival for No10 has “ducked, Boris
called on him to say;

  • whether Mr Corbyn he will urge voters to back Remain or Leave in the second EU referendum that he proposes
  • if he will extend or end free movement from the EU, and if immigration will therefore he higher or lower
  • how much the Labour leader is prepared to keep on paying into the EU’s budget after Brexit in exchange for market access
  • and how many of Mr Corbyn’s Labour candidates are behind his Brexit policy to renegotiate a new deal and then put it back to the people.

Mr Johnson has triumphantly declared an end to the Tories’ Brexit wars of the last year after all 635 if his candidates for Parliament signed a pledge to vote his deal through Parliament.

Laying down the gauntlet, the PM added in the letter: “Without satisfactory answers to these questions, the public will have no choice but to conclude that Corbyn’s Labour, propped up by the SNP, will mean dither, delay, and uncertainty with two more chaotic referendums next year”.

Tory campaign chiefs are privately worried about tonight’s clash amid soaring expectations that Boris will trounce Mr Corbyn.

The debate is seen by Labour as a big chance for their 67-year-old boss to make ground on the Tories’ current 11 point lead in the polls. With little expected of Mr Corbyn, his own aides say he can’t lose.

One senior Tory figure dubbed it “difficult territory for us”, adding: “Everyone thinks we’re going to smash him, whereas Corbyn just has to turn up to look better than what a lot of people think of him”.


Both leaders scrapped their campaign schedules yesterday afternoon and today to carry out intensive debate prep. Boris is being coaxed by former US President George W Bush’s expert Brett O’Donnell , while Michael Gove has played Mr Corbyn in rehearsals.

Mr Corbyn is being prepared by his usual team of close aides, and has a battle plan to lay out his own dividing lines in the election for voters to pick between the two parties.

They are based on claims that Mr Johnson is close Donald Trump and billionaire donors, and only Labour can save the NHS.

Former Lib Dem No10 adviser Polly Mackenzie said: “Only half as many people think Corbyn will win it, so it’s Boris’s to lose”. Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon were humiliated yesterday as their joint legal bid to force their way into the leaders’ debates flopped.

High Court judges dismissed a Lib Dem-SNP challenge against being left out of tonight’s ITV showdown, saying the decision was outside their remit and entirely up to the broadcaster.

They slammed the pair’s claim that the TV station was breaching its impartiality obligations by choosing not to include them as “not realistically arguable”.

The Sun Says

BORIS Johnson will make a terrible ­mistake in tonight’s TV showdown if he fails to take Corbyn seriously.

There is much about Labour’s leader to mock. But Corbyn is no joke. He is a danger to our security and economy.

Underdogs in TV debates have little to lose and Corbyn will know his script.

Boris must project his famous optimism and the determination to see Brexit through, bring Britain together and revive “left-behind” communities.

But he must be forensic, too, in ­dismantling Corbyn’s Marxist insanity.

A blizzard of witty one-liners won’t wash. He is a far more credible PM than Corbyn — but he must prove it.

SNP Westminster chief Ian Blackford was enraged by the decision, saying Scottish voters were being treated as “second-class citizens” by having no representation in the debates.

And the Lib Dems, who earlier accused ITV and the BBC of “colluding” to exclude Remainer parties, did not rule out appealing the decision.

ITV said the general election leaders debate will now go ahead as planned. The BBC’s showdown between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn takes place on December 6.


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