At a crucial point in our nation’s history and a general election just weeks away, Boris Johnson, the prime minister, and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, take part in a head-to-head debate chaired by Julie Etchingham.
Is this the Brexit election the political strategists have banked on, or will under-investment in the NHS, flood defences and rumours of foreign interference overshadow the carefully planned messaging of Downing Street’s mandarins?
After years without a majority government, ITV has upset many by handing the stage to the Conservative and Labour party leaders. Both have shown themselves to be incapable of compromise or creative enough to deliver on the result of the 2016 EU referendum. There is an argument for the inclusion of other party leaders, after all, two recent elections have resulted in pacts of convenience between the Tories and Lib Dems and the Tories and the Democratic Ulster Unionists. Indeed, it could be argued that some would have reconsidered their votes in April 2017 had they known the DUP’s would wield such power over government decision making.
There is a risk for Messrs Johnson and Corbyn that listening too much to their advisers while ignoring the legitimate concerns and frustration of the public could result in them singing from the wrong hymn sheet while on stage. With record waiting lists for NHS treatments, rail infrastructure that is at breaking point and huge concerns over the future of social care, an hour of stale dogmatic soundbites will convince no one.
Johnson V Corbyn – The ITV Debate – Tuesday at 8.00pm on ITV.