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TV audience grills May and Corbyn as UK election draws near


United Kingdom

TV audience grills May and Corbyn as UK election draws near

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and the main opposition leader have appeared separately before a live TV audience who grilled them during a final debate.

The event in the northern English city of York occurred six days before the country’s general election.

After a campaign dominated by Britain’s exit from the European Union the polls have narrowed.

May was put on the spot over her decision to go to the polls early.

“You’ve called a general election for the good of the Conservative party and it’s going to backfire on you!” a man asked angrily.

“No I called a general election because I believe that the British people have a right to vote and to say who they want to see leading them through the Brexit negotiations. And I believe they should have a prime minister who has an absolutely resolute determination to respect their will,” was May’s reply.

The prime minister said she was confident the UK could get a good deal with the EU but repeated that no deal would be better than a bad one.

Despite Labour’s official pro-EU stance, before the referendum leader Jeremy Corbyn was accused of being lukewarm over Britain’s membership at best – and at worst of trying to sabotage the Remain campaign.

“Why should the British public trust you and your peers to negotiate Brexit?” he was asked by a young member of the audience.

“We’re very clear on Brexit. A referendum took place. A decision was reached. We’re leaving the European Union. We have a great team. We have a great team of very experienced people. Keir Starmer (Labour’s Brexit spokesman) is one of the leading lawyers of this country. I think I can trust Keir Starmer with negotiations more than some other people who are undertaking those negotiations.”

Corbyn was also pinned down repeatedly on his scepticism over nuclear deterrence – while Theresa May faced some tough encounters over nurses’ pay and the state of mental health services.

The United Kingdom holds its general election on June 8. Brexit negotiations with the European Union are due to begin 11 days later.

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