BBC Question Time Leaders Special…

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Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn were joined by the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson in the Leader’s Special Question Time Debate from Sheffield on Friday. Faced by a hostile audience armed with questions on a variety of topics, they each set out their stall on key issues like Brexit and a second Scottish referendum. Here are the main talking points from the Leaders’ Special Question Time Debate:

question time debate highlights

Brexit

The value of the pound is currently at the mercy of the major party’s willingness to get Brexit done and the likelihood of them being able to deliver their promise. Here’s what they had to say on the issue:

  • During Tuesday’s live TV debate, Mr Corbyn avoided saying whether he would support a Leave or Remain campaign in another Brexit referendum. This time, however, he provided more clarity by stating he would adopt a ‘neutral stance’ in a future vote on the UK’s membership of the EU – something he has promised to deliver with a new Brexit deal in place if he tops the polls.
  • Mr Johnson persisted with well-drilled rhetoric around ‘delivering Brexit’ as soon as possible – an outcome that is likely to benefit the pound.
  • Jo Swinson’s Anti-Brexit stance – the Lib Dem leader has promised to revoke Article 50 if she wins a majority in the Commons. This came under the microscope, as she faced a series of tough questions about the policy from Remain and Leave supporters.

Scottish independence

The SNP’s ultimate aim is to achieve an independent Scotland that’s a full member of the EU, by delivering a second Scottish referendum. This would trigger further political uncertainty that could devalue the pound. If history repeats itself and we end up with another hung Parliament, Labour could turn to the SNP to form a government.

  • Nicola Sturgeon was sceptical of Corbyn’s previous claim that he would deny an independence vote for the first few years of a Labour government, even if he was relying on the SNP’s support. “I’m not sure he’s going to compromise the chance to have a Labour government for that issue,” she said.

Overall pitch

  • Johnson: the Prime Minister managed to turn the debate to his central pledge to ‘get Brexit done’, despite being grilled about a range of issues.
  • Corbyn: having confirmed that Labour will stake out a middle ground on Brexit, he promised to invest heavily in vital infrastructure and public services.
  • Swinson: she reaffirmed her anti-Brexit and anti-austerity stance, before promising her party wouldn’t make the same mistakes if it formed another coalition.
  • Sturgeon: she was stern on Scottish independence issues but was keen to stress it would be a modern, non-xenophobic sort of independence.

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