General election 2017: Theresa May branded 'weak' for avoiding BBC debate


The Times leads with a story saying Theresa May will pitch herself as the "unifying leader of a great national mission", suggesting that the Brexit deal is more important than the TV debate which she did not attend on Wednesday evening.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron launched a string of attacks on May.

Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition leaders piled pressure on the Conservatives in a televised debate on Wednesday night, warning voters against giving Theresa May a blank cheque next week.

In the debate, opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn asked "where is Theresa May, what happened to her?" while clashing with Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who represented the ruling Conservative Party.

But Mr Nuttall rebuked by shouting "You invited Hamas, you invited Hamas to the House of Commons", referring to when Mr Corbyn called the members "friends".

Corbyn, who was accused by Rudd of relying on a "magic money tree" to fund his party's policies, had toned down his rhetoric for the occasion, says the New Stateman.

■ AMBER RUDD took part in the debate only days after the death of her father, according to reports.

After the debate, Labour claimed Mr Corbyn had won.

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An angry Mr Corbyn was then applauded when he immediately shot back: "Have you been to a food bank?"

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, the foreign secretary said the prime minister was right to avoid the "nonsense" debate.

Mr Corbyn was more restrained towards the absent Prime Minister, but began by saying simply: "I am here". "Have you seen people sleeping around our stations?"

The Labour leader said: "I utterly deplore the language that Paul Nuttall uses and the subliminal attack the whole time on people of Muslim faith".

On security, Mr Robertson accused Ukip of "going straight for the Muslims" in the wake of the Manchester bombing.

But the Home Secretary's appeal to "judge us on our record" when asked for costings of key policies drew laughter from the studio audience.

But The Spectator's political editor, James Forsyth, says "May pretty much got away with her decision not to turn up" for a "shouty, bity affair in which no one really stood out".

Earlier on Wednesday, a polling projection by YouGov for The Times predicted a hung parliament after June 8th, with the Conservatives losing 20 seats and Labour gaining nearly 30.