Monday, December 16, 2019 | ePaper

UK PM, Labour leader face off in first election debate

  • Print


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson fired the starting gun with a letter to opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn questioning his plans for Britain's looming departure from the EU.



Britain's Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn go head-to-head Tuesday 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 campaign 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.
The two men have sparred only a handful of times in parliament, making the prime-time debate, broadcast on ITV television at 8:00 pm (2000 GMT), a rare opportunity to see how they engage up close.
Both sides will also be hoping the hour-long clash could put the boosters on what has so far been a slow-burning election campaign.
Johnson fired the starting gun with a letter to Corbyn overnight questioning his plans for Britain's looming departure from the European Union.
The Conservatives are campaigning on a pledge to "get Brexit done", promising to end years of political disagreements and several delays by leaving the EU on January 31.
Corbyn has promised to renegotiate Johnson's exit deal and hold another referendum, appealing to around half of voters who still oppose the shock result of the first 2016 vote for Brexit.
But the Labour leader has yet to say how he would campaign in that vote, and Johnson warned in his letter that he offered only more "dither and delay".
Corbyn meanwhile has sought to shift attention to the impact of a decade of Conservative spending cuts, promising a swathe of nationalisations and huge investment in public services.
Labour has attacked the wealthy elites, and sought to link them to Johnson's Tories.
The party claimed Tuesday that 48 of Britain's 151 billionaires have donated more than £50 million to the Tories since 2005 -- 10 of them giving money since Johnson became leader.
Finance spokesman John McDonnell said that having that much money was "obscene", adding: "We know whose side Boris Johnson is on-the billionaires, the bankers and big business."
Johnson warns that Labour would cripple the economy-although he also has his own big spending plans, with more money for hospitals, schools and police, as well as infrastructure including broadband.

More News For this Category

India finds rare criticism in US over Citizenship Bill

India finds rare criticism in US over Citizenship Bill

AFP, Washington :For the past two decades India has been enthusiastically feted in Washington, with politicians across the spectrum eager to nurture an alliance between the world's two largest democracies.But

Facing climate emergency, UN summit staggers on

Facing climate emergency, UN summit staggers on

AP, Madrid :After two weeks of talks on tackling global warming, nations have little progress to show for it.Negotiators from almost 200 nations planned to gather for a final time

Lebanese police clash with anti-government protesters

Lebanese police clash with anti-government protesters

AFP, Beirut :Lebanese police clashed with anti-government protesters in Beirut late Saturday, firing tear gas to prevent them from breaching barricades near parliament, ahead of talks next week to appoint

Modi only misled people in last 6 years’: Manmohan Singh

Modi only misled people in last 6 years’: Manmohan Singh

AP, New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday cornered the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government and said that it has only misled people in the last six

Johnson vows to repay trust of opposition voters

Johnson vows to repay trust of opposition voters

Reuters, London :Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited former strongholds of his Labour opponents in northern England on Saturday and pledged to repay their trust for helping to deliver a stunning

Houses of worship attacked with deadly frequency in 2019

AP :Associated PressOn Dec. 1, a band of assailants opened fire on worshippers at a small-town Protestant church in Burkina Faso, an impoverished West African country where the Christian minority

News In Brief

Smog forces schools shut in IranAFP, Tehran Air pollution forced schools to close on Sunday in parts of Iran including Tehran, state media reported, as the capital lay under a

UN climate talks in limbo as rifts among countries remain

UN climate talks in limbo as rifts among countries remain

AP, Madrid :Countries remained deadlocked Saturday in talks over combating climate change as U.N. talks dragged on beyond the official deadline with no end in sight.Chile's environment minister, Carolina Schmidt,

Johnson's win in UK election could lead to ‘softer’ Brexit: Experts

Johnson's win in UK election could lead to ‘softer’ Brexit: Experts

The scale of the Conservative victory in Britain's election makes Britain's exit from the European Union all but inevitable but could lead to a softer split, analysts said on Friday.Prime

US actress Sally Field joins Jane Fonda's climate protest, arrested

US actress Sally Field joins Jane Fonda's climate protest, arrested

PTI, Los Angeles :Hollywood veteran Sally Field joined fellow Oscar winner Jane Fonda at a climate change protest and got arrested in the process. The 73-year-old Field was the latest