Well this is a real turn of events – Theresa May has proposed a televised debate with Jeremy Corbyn over the Brexit deal, and Corbyn has accepted.
Theresa May famously rejected the option to have a televised debate during the last General Election. Her logic, I’m sure, was that the debate would simply give Jeremy Corbyn extra attention she didn’t want him to have. She was up in the polls (at least, at that point) and didn’t see any need to fight him.
Things are different, now. The Labour Party regularly matches the Tories in the polls, and some days even outdoes them, so May has to take the ageing socialist seriously. Right now, there’s a scramble for who gets to host it. Theresa May has accepted the BBC’s offer to take part in a Brexit debate, but Corbyn has said he prefers ITV’s bid.
Corbyn claims he’d rather take ITV’s bid so that he and millions of others don’t have to miss the final of ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” – but there’s more to it than that. Both camps are trying to fix the debate so it works best for them.
No. 10 believes that a Sunday night slot with the BBC, after the final of Strictly Come Dancing, will play to Theresa May’s strength. The show will feature an expert panel, rather than a traditional debate audience. May obviously knows her deal inside out, so rather than answering to emotive questions from the public, she can get down to the nitty gritty and show up Corbyn in the same way she does every Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQ).
The Labour camp, however, would rather see Corbyn and May perform in front of a live studio audience, something he could probably do better than Theresa May. She’s called the MayBot for a reason.
What I don’t understand, however, is how Corbyn thinks this could work in his favour. He has no plan for Brexit. Labour have never offered an alternative to Brexit. Corbyn has, however, recently said in PMQs that he believes it’s good some people are considering “all possibilities,” alluding to a second referendum.
The only way Corbyn could really stand out here is by going radical and proposing a second referendum. Otherwise, he’ll just be vaguely disagreeing with May’s terrible plan, without offering any solution.