Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn clash in first live TV debate: the highlights

Conservative party leader Boris Johnson and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn had their first live TV debate before the election on ITV tonight.

In his 60-second opening statement, Johnson said that his Brexit deal is “ready to go” and wants voters to blame a deadlocked parliament for the upcoming winter election.

This was the first time a two-way election debate between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition has taken place.


“Can you reassure us we won’t be talking about this forever?” the first question from the audience asked. Johnson responded that the UK will come out of the EU on the 31 January, while Corbyn says that it will only take Labour three months to negotiate a better deal before putting it to another referendum.


Corbyn accused the Conservative government of offering “full market access” to the NHS in negotiations with the US. Johnson responded that it is “an absolute invention” and said: “our NHS will never be for sale.”

Both men agreed in a later question that the NHS is under incredible pressure and needs to be funded.

Corbyn generated a loud round of applause when he said he wanted to end private sector involvement in the NHS, which Johnson insisted he didn’t want to happen either.

While Johnson criticised Corbyn’s policy to reduce the working week to 32 hours, the Labour leader hit back, asking about the 40 new hospitals Johnson proposed. The PM responded that they can only do it because they run a “stronger economy” and it will be stronger if they “get Brexit done.”

Trust in Parliament

In the next question from the audience member, they accused both Johnson and Corbyn of “lies and childish abuse”, asking: “How can this nation trust you?”

Johnson responded: “Trust in Parliament has been corroded.” He said the reason for the loss of trust was MPs “repeatedly refusing to honour the referendum”, while Corbyn said: “Trust is something that has to be earned and as a public representative you have to listen.”

Public reactions

Both #ITVDebate and #johnsonvcorbyn were trending on Twitter.




Words: Hannah Wilson

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