Prepared to leave EU without a Brexit deal, says Theresa May

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn took diverging tacks over Brexit negotiations on Monday as they faced a live televised grilling ahead of June's general election.

She was more confident on Brexit, winning applause when she repeated that no deal was better than a bad deal on leaving the EU.

Theresa May gestures during Monday's question-and-answer event, during which she discussed a Brexit deal.

Questioned by Channel 4 interviewer Jeremy Paxman, Mr Corbyn was grilled on the apparent discrepancies between his well-known personal convictions and the Labour manifesto as published.

The studio audience again applauded loudly when Mr Paxman pointed out that Mrs May and her spokesmen had promised on six occasions since becoming PM that there would not be a general election before 2020. "I don't think she should be brought into political discussion".

Mrs May said: "That's what drives me".

She said: "He is not prepared to take a single hard decision for the good of our economy".

Ms Barnett asked again, at which point Mr Corbyn said: "I'll give you the figure in a moment". Longstanding supporters in the Tory broadsheets thought she had given a steely performance - strong and stable, you might call it - but many others veered between boredom and ridicule as Paxman prompted laughter and a few heckles as he pulled apart her robotic responses.

The Labour leader weathered stiff questioning on his support for the IRA, his opposition to nuclear weapons, and previously calling members of the terrorist group Hamas his "friends".

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Mr Corbyn also condemned the abuse of presenter Emma Barnett online, some of which was apparently anti-Semitic, and costed the policy at £4.8 billion by the end of the next parliament, scheduled to end in 2022.

Oduba said critics viewed Mr Corbyn as "more of an activist" than a potential prime minister, but Mr Corbyn said: "Is there a difference?"

When asked whether he would contemplate a scenario where Britain failed to strike an arrangement with the rest of the bloc, Jeremy Corbyn said: "There's going to be a deal".

If one party obtains a majority of seats, then that party is entitled to form the government, with its leader as prime minister.

Sticking to his guns, Corbyn replied firmly: "This country is badly divided between the richest and the poorest". You don't address these problems by ignoring them.

He refused to be drawn on immigration levels after Brexit although he said it would "probably" be no higher than at present. "The amount of debt that I have, personally, it nearly put me off going to uni". "Our Prime Minister has done that now in the third election and got nowhere near meeting that figure".

So, in effect, voters will decide whether May or Corbyn gets to sit down with Brussels and hammer out an exit deal that will define the country's trade and diplomatic ties with the EU.

SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson claimed the programme showed that Mrs May "doesn't have the answers on the most basic questions".

  • Sidney Guerrero