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ITV Leaders' Debate: Party leaders go head-to-head ahead of election

May 18, 2017 7:31 PM
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ITV Leaders' Debate: Party leaders go head-to-head ahead of election

Five of Britain's party political leaders have clashed on the Brexit deal and NHS funding as they go head-to-head in the ITV Leaders' Debate ahead of the General Election.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and Green co-leader Caroline Lucas are locking horns.

The two-hour debate in Salford, which is being hosted by Julie Etchingham, comes three weeks before voters go to the polls on June 8.

The absent Conservative leader Theresa May came under attack immediately - accused by Ms Wood of being "too scared" to debate - before the government's Brexit plan was attacked by all but Ukip leader Mr Nuttall.

Lib Dem leader Mr Farron said the prime minister had "chosen to interpret (the vote) in an extreme way" while the Plaid Cymru and SNP leaders both accused her of ignoring them.

"Gibraltar has had more attention than Wales," said Ms Wood, while Mrs Sturgeon said the Conservative leader had failed to achieve "compromise and consensus" by pledging to stay in the single market.

Ukip's Mr Nuttall - who was accused of being an "ambassador for Theresa May" in her absence - said Britain's exit from the single market "was clear" on the day people voted in last year's EU referendum.

Green co-leader Ms Lucas, meanwhile, accused Labour of giving the Conservatives a "blank cheque for a hard Brexit" as she joined the Lib Dems in calling for a repeat referendum on the final Brexit deal.

In a debate on investment in the NHS, Mrs Sturgeon said parties must speak out against "needless Tory austerity" and called for renationalising of the health service.

Some of those participating had called on the absent Tory and Labour leaders to face them under the TV studio spotlights in the build-up to the debate.


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