PM defends TV debate no-show as Corbyn decides on last-minute appearance

YouGov's chief executive, Stephan Shakespeare said the model had been tested during the European Union referendum campaign, when it consistently put the winning Leave side ahead. The first Labour prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald, took office in 1924 even though Labour had fewer seats than the Conservatives and relying on the tacit support of the Liberals.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday suggested that he would delay a visit to Britain by U.S. President Donald Trump if he is elected prime minister at the June 8 general election.

"And then the Prime Minister is hiding away in a room upstairs to come down and do exactly the same, how ridiculous is that?"

Questioned at a rally in Bath, western England, May said that "debates where the politicians are squabbling among themselves doesn't do anything for the process of electioneering".

Asked by a reporter, "if you are so strong and Jeremy Corbyn is so weak, as you said, why have you sent Amber Rudd to take on his arguments at the debate tonight?" the Tory leader simply laughed at length.

Labour has narrowed the gap with the Conservatives to a new low of three points as Jeremy Corbyn's party won its highest poll result for more than three years.

Wednesday's Kantar poll showed Labour was most trusted on its No.1 election issue, the health service, but lagged behind on the other four: Brexit, national security, immigration and the economy.

"That's what I'm doing, to make sure we get the best possible deal for Britain", she said.

The Greens co-leader was praised for challenging Ms Rudd about why the United Kingdom is the second biggest arms dealer in the world, while Mr Robertson was commended for accusing Labour of "aping Ukip" on immigration.

Mr Corbyn said analysis from the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies showed that the Conservative manifesto for the June 8 General Election showed they were offering no new money for the NHS and a real-terms cut in per-pupil funding for schools. However, one of the apparent implications of YouGov's pronouncement yesterday that statistical analysis of their mega poll pointed to a hung parliament is that the company thinks the electoral geography of the election may not work to the Conservatives' advantage after all. Historically, younger people have always been less likely to vote. "Now will Theresa May crawl out from where's she's hiding to debate?"

The events will go ahead with shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth filling in, a Labour source said.

  • Zachary Reyes