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May and opposition leader agree to TV debate over Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May challenged opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to a..

By admin , in England , at November 27, 2018

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May challenged opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to a live prime time television debate on Brexit days before a crunch parliamentary vote as she struggles to win support for the deal agreed with the European Union.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, and the leader of opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn attend an Armistice remembrance service at St Margaret's Church, in London, Britain November 6, 2018. John Stillwell/Pool via REUTERS

May said the format of the debate would need to be decided by broadcasters. Corbyns team swiftly accepted the offer, prompting demands from other parties and anti-Brexit groups to insist one of their supporters is allowed to take part.

“I am going to be explaining why I think this deal is the right deal for the UK – and yes, I am ready to debate it with Jeremy Corbyn,” May told the Sun newspaper. “Because I have got a plan. He hasnt got a plan.”

This would be the first time May has been willing to go head-to-head with the Labour leader in a live television debate after she refused to take part in any in the run-up to last years general election.

After securing a deal with the European Union at the weekend, May has launched a nationwide campaign to drum up support for her agreement, although she was left embarrassed after U.S. President Donald Trump said it sounded like a good deal for the European Union.

The odds look stacked against May winning parliamentary approval for her deal with criticism coming from all sides, including the Northern Irish party propping up her minority Conservative government.

Leaders debates have become a fixture of British politics over the past decade, with months spent trying to agree a debate format during the 2015 general election. Time pressure means political parties have a matter of days to come to an arrangement this time.

May came in for heavy criticism during the 2017 snap general election for dodging direct TV debates with other party leaders and sending then Home Secretary Amber Rudd to take part instead.

She later justified her decision, saying it was more important to take questions directly from the voters.

The debate, if both sides can agree on the format, is expected to take place on Dec. 9, two days before members of parliament vote on whether to support her deal, in one of parliaments most important moments in decades.

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill, editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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