The Speaker
Saturday, 18 May 2024 – 10:42

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn go head-to-head in final debate of election campaign

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have gone head-to-head in the final televised election debate before the UK heads to the polls on Thursday 12 December.

Broadcast from Maidstone on Friday night, the BBC Debate saw the leader of the Conservatives and the leader of the Labour Party face questions from a live studio audience, covering topics including Brexit, the NHS, security, trust and spending.

Neither leader appeared to come out clearly on top after the debate, with snap polls suggesting the Boris Johnson may have performed slightly better than Jeremy Corbyn in the debate, but that Mr Corbyn was considered considerably more trustworthy and also in touch with the public.

Some key moments of the debate included;

  • Corbyn claimed that Johnson would spend 7 years in negotiations with the United States for a trade deal
  • Johnson criticised Corbyn repeatedly for not being ‘clear’ on his Brexit position
  • Corbyn referred to newly seen documents about Brexit impacts on Northern Ireland
  • Johnson deflected a question by talking about Corbyn’s relationships with the IRA
  • Both leaders pledged investment into the NHS
  • Corbyn criticised Johnson over figures for building new hospitals, which he claimed have repeatedly changed.
  • Johnson claimed Labour are planning a ‘4-day week’ for the NHS – something Corbyn denied.
  • Johnson claimed the NHS is not up for sale, describing the idea as ‘Bermuda Triangle Stuff’
  • Asked about security, Corbyn discussed looking at individual circumstances of prisoners when deciding who to release and criticised Conservative cuts in the sector
  • Johnson focused less on rehabilitation and more on longer sentences with no automatic release clauses.
  • Corbyn reiterated a message he has said many times before – that there is no place for racism in his party or our society.
  • Corbyn accused Johnson of using racist language and Johnson did not directly respond
  • Responding to a question about Islamophobia, Johnson’s answer focused on the phrase ‘Get Brexit Done’ – causing the phrase to start trending on Twitter 
  • Both leaders criticised each other when asked about trust issues

The debate came less than 7 days before the polling day of the 2019 UK General Election.

The Liberal Democrats have said that ‘neither Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn are fit to be Prime Minister’, while SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon described the debate as ‘utterly woeful’.


Tweet us your thoughts on the BBC Leaders Debate @speakerpolitics

Photo Credit: RachelH_ via Flickr under licence (CC BY 2.0)

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