politics

Question Time special: The leaders’ best and worst moments from the BBC’s General Election debate



The leaders of the four main political parties were grilled on BBC One tonight in a special edition of Question Time.

Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon, Jo Swinson and Boris Johnson took it in turns to answer questions from a studio audience in Sheffield.

Topics included Brexit, the NHS, trust in politics and a report into Russian interference in British elections that some claim Mr Johnson has buried.

Each candidate was given half an hour on stage facing the public and chair Fiona Bruce.

Below are the candidates best and worst moments.

Jeremy Corbyn

Mr Corbyn announced he would remain neutral in a second Brexit referendum if Labour were in power (AP)

Best

Jeremy Corbyn’s climate change plans for a Green Industrial Revolution were well received by the audience.

He said that a Labour government on the international stage would work with others to get to net-zero carbon emissions – but did not specify a date.

Worst

Audience members groaned as Mr Corbyn failed to say whether he would support Leave or Remain in a second referendum, instead saying he would adopt a neutral position.

Jeremy Corbyn says he will adopt a “neutral stance” in second referendum

The Labour leader also faced tough lines of questioning on his nationalisation plans, socialist policies and record on handling anti-Semitism in the party, with one audience member asking if “businesses should be frightened of an incoming Labour government”.

Nicola Sturgeon

Ms Sturgeon was heavily scrutinised for her support of a second independence referendum for Scotland (AP)

Best

The SNP leader said she would never put a Conservative prime minister into power, saying she could “not in good conscience” ever put Boris Johnson into Number 10.

Audience members whooped in support at Ms Sturgeon’s stance, and she suggested she would support a Labour minority government if certain conditions were met.

Nicola Sturgeon says she would never put a Conservative prime minister into power

Worst

Ms Sturgeon faced tough questions about her desire for Scottish independence, with one audience member asking how she would explain her plan to break up the UK to those who fought and died to protect Britain in the Second World War.

The audience member was loudly applauded, but Ms Sturgeon said the ties between the nations would always be close, adding: “I don’t believe independence for Scotland is turning our backs on that.”

Jo Swinson​

Ms Swinson ruled out supporting a Conservative Government (Getty Images)

Best

Jo Swinson ruled out propping up a Conservative government led by Boris Johnson, saying the party was “off with Nigel Farage” and “so far off the chart”.

She won loud applause as she ruled out the coalition, and has previously said Liberal Democrat votes would not put Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10.

Jo Swinson faces awkward first question before ruling out Conservative coalition

Worst

One audience member claimed the Liberal Democrats‘ name was now a “misnomer” because of their plan to revoke Article 50 and reverse the Brexit vote – as Ms Swinson faced a series of tough questions about the policy from both Remain and Leave supporters.

She was also repeatedly challenged on her record in government and support for austerity policies, with one audience member asking her if she regretted voting with the Tories on “harsh and uncaring benefit cuts”.

Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson was laughed at when he said that the truth was important (AP)

Best

The Prime Minister succeeded in turning the debate to his central pledge to “get Brexit done” despite being asked about different issues.

Mr Johnson managed to shoehorn his promise to get the UK out of the EU with a deal on January 31 – a key tenet of the Conservative plan for government.

Worst

A question on how important it is for people in positions of power to tell the truth had audience members laughing – with Mr Johnson saying trust is “central” to the election.

There were several groans too when he tried to defend himself as he was challenged on his use of language on women who wear the burka.

Additional reporting by PA Media

 



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