Seumas Evasive Over TV Debates

Downing Street are very bullish on making a May v Corbyn TV debate happen. They have lined up the BBC, Labour say they prefer ITV’s format and earlier timing. The Tories think May’s concrete plan will contrast well with Corbyn’s evasiveness and ambiguity with viewers. They claim Seumas Milne knows that and is making excuses to avoid the head-to-head. We have put our chicken on standby for Seumas if he continues to try to wriggle out of the debate. Guido thinks it will be a laugh to watch May pretend she is enthusiastic about Brexit and Corbyn pretend he would prefer Britain to remain in the EU…

Poll: Do We Need a TV Debates Commission?

Adam Boulton’s proposal that an independent debate commission be set up to avoid the farce of past general elections whereby they either didn’t happen or the formats were stitched up between political parties and broadcasters, making for dire television is worth considering.

If there were to be a commission Guido would not want it to be either statutory or at taxpayers’ expense…

ComRes Insists BBC Audience Wasn’t Biased

Andrew Hawkins from ComRes insists his BBC audience last night was “scrupulously put together, selected and verified” and that right-leaning audience members are just not as vocal as lefties. Certainly true that Labour rabble’s are more likely to scream and boo, just ask Laura K…

Nuttall Calls Leanne Wood “Natalie”, Twice

Sort it out, Nigel…

ITV Losers Debate Live

Two hours of Farron, Nuttall, Sturgeon, Lucas and Leanne. What more could you possibly want.

ITV Threaten Losers’ Debate

ITV are threatening to hold a leaders’ debate without the leader of the country, with Theresa May ruling out appearing. Corbyn says he welcomes ITV’s decision to hold a debate, though Team Jez say they only want a head-to-head with the PM and are not keen on a losers’ debate with Farron, Sturgeon and Nuttal. No official word on whether Corbyn will turn up if May doesn’t. A straight May-Corbyn head-to-head would be open the broadcasters to a legal challenge on impartiality grounds. Farron on the other hand is up for debating anyone, anywhere, and wants ITV to empty chair the PM. As former Clegg SpAd Sean Kemp notes, there is no benefit for May in taking part in a debate with the other leaders, it only helps Farron.

Lynton Crosby, who May has hired to help run the Tory campaign, famously hates TV debates. It was once said of Lynton: “If David Cameron gets in a car to go to the debate, Lynton Crosby will stage a car crash.” No way he will allow May to boost Farron…

Boris Looks Forward to Independence Day

“If we stand up for democracy, we’ll be sticking up for hundreds of millions of people around Europe who agree with us, who currently have no voice. And if we vote leave, and take back control, I believe that this Thursday will be our countries independence day.” Boris saves the best line until last…

BBC Wembley Debate Line-Ups

Remain employ some squad rotation after a poor showing on ITV. Leave’s dream team are unchanged…

Campaign Report: 13 Days to Go

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 9: (NO ARCHIVE AFTER JUNE 30, 2016) In this handout image provided by ITV, Former Mayor of London Boris Johnson argues for Britain to leave the EU during The ITV Referendum Debate on June 9, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. During the two hour long live debate participants answered questions posed by the audience. Nicola Sturgeon, Angela Eagle and Amber Rudd argued for staying in the EU, whilst Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom and Gisela Stuarttake argued for leaving the EU. (Photo by Matt Frost/ITV via Getty Images)

Leave message: John Mann: We can create a more equal society if we Leave.

Remain message: Remain makes travel easier/cheaper.

Cut through: Boris interested in power, not Brexit.

Leave social media count: 474,264 likes, 56,624 followers.

Remain social media count: 465,727 likes, 36,696 followers.

Odds: Remain 1/3, Leave 14/5

Latest poll: Remain 43% (+2), Leave 42% (-3) (YouGove, online). Poll of Polls is now Remain 51%, Leave 49%.

Farage and Cameron Highlights

Farage said we won’t be bullied by Juncker:

And he brought a prop:

This was Cameron’s toughest moment: 

Cameron still doesn’t have a line on immigration – these questions reflect genuine public concern about strain on public services. Hard to paint them as Little Englanders.

Corbyn Clapped Commie Leader For Refusing to Toast the Queen

Footage has emerged of Jeremy Corbyn applauding the leader of the Communist Party of Britain for refusing to toast the Queen. It happened at the Oxford Union in 2013, when Tory MP Andrew Rosindell told the audience that Communist general secretary Robert Griffiths “didn’t toast the Queen prior to the debate this evening”. Corbyn, who was sitting next to Griffiths, responded by joining a small number of republican audience members in enthusiastically clapping his comrade. Put on a proper suit, do up your tie and toast Her Majesty…

Farage Plays Hardball With BBC

On Friday Guido revealed the BBC had offered Nigel Farage a panel debate with Nicola Sturgeon in front of an under-30 audience in Glasgow. The development this morning is that Nige has rejected this initial proposal and is holding out for a place at the box office Wembley debate on 21 June. Sources familiar with the UKIP leader’s thinking believe he deserves to take part in the main debate and plans to play hardball, refusing to accept anything less than that. They have cheekily offered Diane James for the Glasgow debate instead. It’s understandable why Nige wants Wembley, he will feel his rightful place is at the biggest debate of them all. Though if he doesn’t get it and he refuses the Sturgeon clash he could be left with just a Q&A on ITV. Surely one prime-time BBC One national debate is better than none… 

Farage and Sturgeon Set For Head-to-Head BBC Debate

Guido understands the BBC has invited Nicola Sturgeon and Nigel Farage to take part in a head-to-head referendum debate in Glasgow. The hour-long face-off is due to take place on May 26 on BBC1 at 8pm. Audience members will be under 30 and representative of the whole of the UK rather than just Scotland. So Nige won’t have to barricade himself in a pub this time…

When Vote Leave secured the designation Farage worried his telly time would be reduced. This is a chance for the UKIP leader to take part in a prime-time head-to-head debate on the BBC, one he will want to seize given his hugely effective performance against Clegg two years ago. He then has his ITV Q&A session on June 7 to follow. He will be box office…

UPDATE: UKIP sources say Farage is still “considering options” on the TV debates. The SNP stress “At the moment no invitations to any EU debates have been accepted”.

BBC’s TV Euro-Debate ‘Revenge’ on No. 10

The BBC has been stepping up the pressure on Downing Street over the show-piece live referendum debate at Wembley stadium. Sources with intimate knowledge of the Beeb’s preliminary offer to Craig Oliver claim they proposed a 4 v 4 debate in front the audience of 12,500, suggesting the following line-up:

Remain: George Osborne, Alan Johnson, Tim Farron, Caroline Lucas

Leave: Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith, George Galloway

This is a hardball proposal, and one which Downing Street is sure to shoot down. Sources say the BBC made the deliberately provocative bid as “revenge” for Oliver’s obstinate negotiating stance over last year’s election debates.

The BBC are also offering a 1 vs. 1 debate and – in the knowledge that No. 10 will refuse to pit Cameron against Boris – so are suggesting Dave and Gove are put forward in a Question Time style setting. This would meet Downing Street’s condition that they are not on stage arguing with each other at the same time. The wrangling is hotting up again…

UPDATE: A BBC source gets in touch to kick back: “This is total, 100% nonsense, including the format and the names”. Curiously the Telegraph has the very same names. Though this is a strong denial from the Beeb and an all-male Leave line-up would be very unlike Auntie…

Ed’s Floppy Farage Power Pat

At least Nige went back to collect his notes…

Survation/Mirror Snap Poll: Miliband Wins

The Rainbow Coalition

Expect the Tories to play this section showing what life would look like under a Miliband government again and again:

Here is Farage accusing Miliband of lying on the NHS:

Chaos, to coin a phrase…

#BBCDebate: Leanne Wood Claims ‘We Spend 6% of Our Budget on Defence’

#BBCDebate: Moment Farage Attacked “Left-Wing” BBC Audience

A bold tactic…

#BBCDebate: Sturgeon Silences Miliband

Both the BBC and Sun ‘worms’ are putting Nicola Sturgeon ahead of Ed Miliband so far. Ed was left gurgling as Sturgeon told him “we need to replace the audience with something better”:

The three left-wing women are ganging up on Ed…[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Liz Truss on the next Tory leader…

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