British PM says no to general election

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British PM says no to general election

London, 4/20
British Prime Minister Theresa May on
Wednesdayday said she will not take part in
TV debates ahead of the snap general
election on June 8, drawing criticism from
her opponents and the media.
The prime minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today
she preferred “to get out and about and meet
voters”.
Her decision came on a day when ITV became
the first broadcaster to confirm a debate
ahead of the poll in June, announced by May
yesterday.
A Number 10 source has told the BBC that the
prime minister will not be changing her
position, despite ITV’s announcement.
Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn accused May of
“dodging” a head-to-head showdown and the
Lib Dems urged broadcasters to “empty chair”
her.
Corbyn said the PM’s stance was “rather
strange”, adding: “I say to Theresa May, who
said this election was about leadership,
Come on and show some.’
“Let’s have the debates. It’s what democracy
needs and what the British people deserve.”
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron added:
“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.”
ITV is the first broadcaster to confirm a
debate. No details have been released about
the format or the date, but Julie Etchingham
is expected to be the host, as she did in
2015.
A BBC spokesman said it was too early to say
whether the broadcaster would put in a bid
to stage a debate.
David Dimbleby, who hosted the BBC leaders’
debates in both 2010 and 2015, said a
refusal to take part in TV showdowns with
her rivals could be “rather perilous” for
May.
“I don’t think other parties will refuse to
take part in debates, and I wonder whether
Number 10 will stick with that, because it
may look a bit odd if other parties are
facing audiences and making their case,” he
said.
They are a chance to hear, in a prime-time
TV slot, what party leaders offer and how
robustly they can defend their ideas, he
said.
Prime Minister May’s refusal may be seen by
some “a bit chicken”, BBC’s Media Editor
Amol Rajan said.
But why would she risk it, and give her
opponents a formal platform at the same
time, the Indian-origin journalist wondered.
Political leaders’ TV debates featured in
the last two general elections, in 2010 and
2015.
They took different forms at each – in terms
of the line-up, questioning, topics and how
they debated. A set of rules were thrashed
out between party and broadcaster
beforehand.
Viewer ratings in 2010 varied – from a peak
of 10.3 million watching the first debate to
4 million for the second.

London, 4/20

British Prime Minister Theresa May on

Wednesdayday said she will not take part in

TV debates ahead of the snap general

election on June 8, drawing criticism from

her opponents and the media.

The prime minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today

she preferred “to get out and about and meet

voters”.

Her decision came on a day when ITV became

the first broadcaster to confirm a debate

ahead of the poll in June, announced by May

yesterday.

A Number 10 source has told the BBC that the

prime minister will not be changing her

position, despite ITV’s announcement.

Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn accused May of

“dodging” a head-to-head showdown and the

Lib Dems urged broadcasters to “empty chair”

her.

Corbyn said the PM’s stance was “rather

strange”, adding: “I say to Theresa May, who

said this election was about leadership,

Come on and show some.’

“Let’s have the debates. It’s what democracy

needs and what the British people deserve.”

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron added:

“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.”

ITV is the first broadcaster to confirm a

debate. No details have been released about

the format or the date, but Julie Etchingham

is expected to be the host, as she did in

2015.

A BBC spokesman said it was too early to say

whether the broadcaster would put in a bid

to stage a debate.

David Dimbleby, who hosted the BBC leaders’

debates in both 2010 and 2015, said a

refusal to take part in TV showdowns with

her rivals could be “rather perilous” for

May.

“I don’t think other parties will refuse to

take part in debates, and I wonder whether

Number 10 will stick with that, because it

may look a bit odd if other parties are

facing audiences and making their case,” he

said.

They are a chance to hear, in a prime-time

TV slot, what party leaders offer and how

robustly they can defend their ideas, he

said.

Prime Minister May’s refusal may be seen by

some “a bit chicken”, BBC’s Media Editor

Amol Rajan said.

But why would she risk it, and give her

opponents a formal platform at the same

time, the Indian-origin journalist wondered.

Political leaders’ TV debates featured in

the last two general elections, in 2010 and

2015.

They took different forms at each – in terms

of the line-up, questioning, topics and how

they debated. A set of rules were thrashed

out between party and broadcaster

beforehand.

Viewer ratings in 2010 varied – from a peak

of 10.3 million watching the first debate to

4 million for the second.

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