Plans for Sun­day de­bate on BBC can­celled

Gulf Times - - BRITAIN -

The BBC has can­celled for a tele­vised Brexit de­bate be­tween Theresa May and Jeremy Cor­byn on Sun­day night after Labour ob­jected to the for­mat.

The move, which will al­low view­ers to watch the sched­uled fi­nal episode of David At­ten­bor­ough’s Dy­nas­ties pro­gramme on BBC One, still leaves open the pos­si­bil­ity of a sim­i­lar de­bate on ITV this week­end.

The prime min­is­ter pro­posed the de­bate on her deal with the EU last week, prompt­ing days of dis­cus­sions be­tween po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the broad­cast­ers over who would host the pro­gramme.

Labour backed a pro­posal by ITV, which con­sisted of a sim­ple head-to-head for­mat hosted by Julie Etch­ing­ham, while Down­ing Street pre­ferred the BBC’s of­fer of a de­bate fea­tur­ing a panel of eight ex­perts and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of smaller par­ties.

Un­til now, none of the broad­cast­ers or po­lit­i­cal par­ties was will­ing to com­pro­mise, prompt­ing the far­ci­cal sit­u­a­tion in which both ITV and BBC were plan­ning for a live tele­vi­sion show sched­uled to take place in five days in the same times­lot, with no idea whether ei­ther of the main guests would turn up.

The broad­caster has con­firmed it has with­drawn from the process, but ITV is still in­ter­ested in host­ing the de­bate, mean­ing the prime min­is­ter has the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion of ei­ther ac­cept­ing her ri­val’s pre­ferred for­mat or ap­pear­ing to run away from a de­bate that she pro­posed.

“We are dis­ap­pointed that we could not reach an agree­ment on the BBC’s pro­posal for a de­bate on Brexit,” a BBC spokesper­son said.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May leaves 10 Down­ing Street in London yes­ter­day.

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