Theresa May insists that she will not participate in TV debates ahead of the general election, and now Jeremy Corbyn says that if she doesn’t show he won’t either.
But a poll published today shows that 56 per cent of people think that TV debates are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important to helping them to make up their minds. Among 18-24 year-olds, that rises to 71 per cent, according to the BMG/Electoral Reform Society poll.
‘These figures show voters now see TV debates as ‘part of the furniture’ of a General Election,’ commented Katie Ghose of the Electoral Reform Society.
That’s particularly the case for younger voters – meaning it’s therefore crucial for youth engagement that they take place.
“The last two General Elections saw millions watch the televised debates, allowing politicians to reach out beyond the already-politicised and speak to a hugely diverse audience.
“It would be a travesty for the debates to be cancelled simply because one side decided to torpedo this now-crucial part of 21st century politics.
“With such a short election period, the debates could play an absolutely essential role. Leaders owe it to the voters – and especially Britain’s young people – not to back out.”
Other party leaders, including Tim Farron, Nicola Sturgeon and Caroline Lucas, have slammed May’s decision not to participate in debates.