UK's May and Corbyn questioned by public on TV show

An Ipsos MORI poll shows British Prime Minister Theresa May's lead over the Labour Party has shrunk from 15 points to five in just over two weeks.

Yet, as voting day looms, those fears are looking less and less likely.

Tonight's edition of special electoral programs saw first Theresa May, and then Jeremy Corbyn put to the test under the microscopic lens of David Dimbleby and a studio audience, Question Time style.

When May stunned financial markets and political opponents by calling the snap election, her poll ratings indicated she could be on course to win a landslide majority on a par with the 1983 majority of 144 won by Margaret Thatcher.

The Labour leader, who's made no secret of his long-held opposition to Trident despite agreeing to press ahead with renewal of the system, was repeatedly asked whether he would be prepared to push the button if the United Kingdom was under attack.

She added: "My party is the only party that is going to respect the will of the British people, get on with the job and deliver a successful Brexit".

Gillian Cruise, a lifelong Labour voter in Wakefield until she switched to the Conservatives in 2015 due to their promise to hold the referendum, has now volunteered to campaign for May's party.

Since May called the election in April, her party's poll lead has narrowed.

Wakefield's Brexit-supporting Conservative candidate Antony Calvert, hoping to overturn a 2,613-vote Labour majority, is aware he needs to get people like Hill to vote again on June 8.

At the same time, Mr Corbyn has been able to portray himself as an anti-establishment underdog, proffering populist spending increases, and he has largely avoided major mistakes.

With the general election now less than a week away it was an opportunity for May and Corbyn to defend their respective plans for government.

The two, who did not appear on screen together, but rather in separate segments on a BBC programme called Question Time.

There was no gentle warming up, with the opening questioner accusing her of "broken promises and backtracking".

Whilst the lady wasn't for turning up earlier in the week, she might have left wishing she hadn't today - and one nurse's question on public sector pay freezes left the prime minister only with her soundbite about Corbyn's "magic money trees".

Almost 3 million more people voted in the referendum than at the 2015 national election, with the biggest increases in leave-supporting areas, like Wakefield in northern England.

Nuclear weapons and Trident were the trickiest topic for the Labour leader, and he came in for repeated questioning on whether he would ever consider using the bomb.

"I think we have discussed this at some length", he complained. But if the focus is austerity, and the government's callous disregard for functional public services and social justice - then these narrowing polls just might be an indicator that Corbyn will be in number 10 next week.

He was also asked to rule out a deal with the SNP, and: "Why have you never regarded the IRA as terrorists?" Mr Corbyn shook his head.

After changing her stance on European Union membership, May gained considerable support within her party base. One woman asked why so many of her fellow audience members seemed so keen to kill millions of people.

In awkward scenes, Mrs May listened as a partially sighted voter who had waited 18 months for counselling became emotional as she recounted a bad experience with the Work Capability Assessment.

Critics, whether in among party comrades or opposition ranks, argued that May is not eligible to lead exit negotiations with Brussels given the circumstances that surrounded her rise to power.

Mrs May was unapologetic.

She said social care would be capped over a person's lifetime, but would not reveal the level.

  • Leroy Wright