Sunday, 17 October 2021

British PM and Labour leader face off in first election debate

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, left; and Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: Getty Images)

LONDON: Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn go head-to-head in their first TV debate of the election campaign, facing scrutiny over their plans for Brexit and more public spending.

Johnson, who took over as the leader of the governing Conservatives in July, has held a double-digit lead over Labour in opinion polls for weeks, making the December 12 election his to lose.

Corbyn meanwhile is seeking to repeat the success of the last election in 2017, when his promise to end austerity and deliver change “for the many, not the few” fired up voters and denied the Tories an outright win.

It is the first time leaders of Britain’s two main parties have faced each other head-to-head on TV, with previous debates having also involved other smaller parties’ leaders.

Johnson and Corbyn have sparred only a handful of times in parliament, making the prime-time debate — broadcast on ITV at 8:00 pm (2000 GMT) — a rare opportunity to see how they engage up close, with the potential for a game-changing moment in the election.

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