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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Will May give in to the public demand for a debate?

Does Theresa May really believe that she can control the terms on which a General Election is fought? That is the question that many broadcasters may well be asking as she continues to resist taking part in leaders' debates.

As the Independent reports, their poll shows that the majority of the British public wants her to go head to head with her rivals in live TV debates during the election campaign. The BMG Research survey reveals more than half of people want the live contests to go ahead:

Respondents were asked whether “leaders of the UK’s major political parties” should participate in the debates ahead of the 8 June general election.

A total of 54 per cent said “yes”, with 25 per cent replying “no” and 21 per cent saying they did not know.

Among voters planning to back each of the major political parties, there were majorities wanting the debates to go ahead in almost all.

Only Conservative voters were more equivocal – but even there more believed they should happen, with 44 per cent calling for leaders to take part, and 40 per cent saying they should not.

If anything this poll should encourage broadcasters to empty chair the Prime Minister. The problem with that of course is that it may come across as the opposition arguing over the scraps. Perhaps that is the point.
The intrusion of the general election has swept all discussion of local government elections off the Welsh air. Perhaps one motive for Mrs May's general election announcement was to protect Conservative councillors in England from sweeping gains by Liberal Democrats. If so, it may have the perverse effect of protecting Labour one-party citadels.

May I add that I originally submitted the above comment on the 26th or 27th? (Peter has understandably only just got around to moderating his personal web-pages.) That's another prediction success I can chalk up. Why is that only my gloomy ones come true?
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