BBC scraps Brexit debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on night of I'm A Celeb final

BBC scraps Brexit debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on night of I'm A Celeb final

The PM had accepted the corporation’s offer to host a 60 minute prime time clash with Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday night, just two days ahead before the landmark Commons vote on it.

But the Labour chief issued a red line demand that the debate be a straight head to head.

The Beeb refused, instead insisting it was duty bound to “include other voices” – such as Scots politicians, Remainers and clean Brexiteers – to make the 60 minute programme fair.

The corporation pulled out last night, after making Mr Corbyn a final offer which was again refused.

The BBC said last night that it was “disappointed we could not reach an agreement.

The corporation added: “We have been clear throughout the whole of this process that, as well as a substantive head-to-head debate, any programme we broadcast would need to include other voices, including other political parties, to reflect the wide range of views the public and parliamentarians hold about Brexit”.

A senior BBC source went further to accuse Mr Corbyn of being uncomfortable with taking a grilling from its panel of eight other politicians.

The source added: “Labour were offered a clean head to head for the first half an hour, and another 10 minutes or so summing up at the end.

“When you take away ITV’s ad breaks, its roughly the same amount of head to head time ITV offered.

A Downing Street spokesman said: ““The Prime Minister issued the original challenge to Jeremy Corbyn for a head to head debate, and despite her flexibility on timing and format, Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have done nothing but raise false and flimsy objections to the BBC’s proposal.

“There was a sensible and balanced proposal on the table but Jeremy Corbyn refused to take part.

“He is running scared of proper scrutiny, but we remain committed to holding a debate and will continue to press for a format that ensures a range of voices are heard alongside a substantial head to head.”

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