Advertisement

U.K. election: Johnson, Corbyn go head-to-head for final election debate

Johnson vs. Corbyn: U.K. election inches closer
WATCH:Britain's upcoming election, dubbed the 'Brexit' election, is expected to be the most consequential in modern history.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to take on opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the last head-to-head debate before a general election in six days — and facing allegations that he’s shirking tough questions about his character and record.

READ MORE: One week until U.K. heads to the polls — Here’s how Britain’s election works

Friday’s televised showdown comes amid an ongoing controversy over Johnson’s decision to avoid an in-depth interview with Andrew Neil, a BBC journalist known for his forensic questioning. Four other party leaders, including Corbyn, endured such a grilling, and Neil has accused Johnson of “running scared.″
Johnson, Corbyn agree to improve tone of political debate
Johnson, Corbyn agree to improve tone of political debate

Neil issued a challenge to Johnson on national television Thursday, saying political leaders in the last two U.K. elections had agreed to be interviewed by him — “All of them. Until this one.”

Johnson calls 2019 election ‘most important’ in history of country as he launches campaign
Johnson calls 2019 election ‘most important’ in history of country as he launches campaign

He said Johnson needed to answer questions about trust, “and why at so many times in his career, in politics and journalism, critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be untrustworthy.”

Cabinet minister Michael Gove, a Johnson ally, urged voters to call 10 Downing St. and ask whether Johnson would agree to the interview.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: U.K. Conservatives feud with TV channel that replaced Johnson with ice sculpture 

He recited the number on LBC radio, and said “if you ring the prime minister’s diary secretary, he will know, or she will know, what the prime minister is going to do.”

All 650 seats in the House of Commons are up for grabs next Thursday. Opinion polls put Johnson’s Conservatives ahead, and the party is keen to avoid any slip-ups that could endanger that lead.

UK’s Corbyn says he would stay neutral in new Brexit referendum
UK’s Corbyn says he would stay neutral in new Brexit referendum

Johnson pushed for the December vote, which is taking place more than two years early, in hopes of winning a majority and breaking Britain’s political impasse over Brexit.

He says that if the Conservatives win a majority, he will get Parliament to ratify his Brexit divorce deal and take the U.K. out of the EU by the current Jan. 31 deadline.