Theresa May’s refusal to take part in debates is an insult to the public – broadcasters should empty chair her

Why is the PM so averse to scrutiny?


The Conservative Party has announced that Theresa May will not participate in any TV debates during this election campaign.

Yes, that Theresa May. The one who called the election and thinks she’s the best person to lead the country.

Party leaders from the SNP, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru have all called for broadcasters to ’empty chair’ May in their election debates, meaning that debates will go ahead with or without the prime minister.

David Cameron also became strangely camera shy when major votes came around. In 2015, he was reluctant to participate in any debates and eventually accepted just one direct confrontation with six rival leaders.

Ahead of the EU referendum — an unnecessary, monumentally risky vote he had called himself — Cameron refused to take part in a single TV debate, an astonishing act of cowardice and neglect from a pro-Remain prime minister.

Now, May is taking this tendency to its absolute extreme, asking the public to vote for her despite her refusal to accept reasonable scrutiny.

Tim Farron has said, the decision shows ‘contempt for the public’, while Jeremy Corbyn said that an open debate is ‘what democracy needs and what the British people deserve.’

If May isn’t willing to take on this challenge, perhaps she should consider applying for a different job.

4 Responses to “Theresa May’s refusal to take part in debates is an insult to the public – broadcasters should empty chair her”

  1. patrick newman

    All non Tory political leaders should agree collectively to stage public debates and challenge May to turn them down. The media will follow regardless of whether she is there or not.
    In addition the non Tory parties should demand that the BBC enters a period of ‘purdah’ and not read out on Today and other programmes what the papers say because it is a de facto or even underhand way of favouring the Tory Party as the large majority of national newspapers support Tory ideology.

  2. Alasdair Macdonald

    It seems to me from reading Mrs May’s speech that she is positioning herself against Parliament and claiming to be the voice of the people, who, lest it be forgotten, voted by less than 52/48 in favour of Brexit. She has adopted a very personalised tone, that is she who will make the decisions. She has given very little information about what her plans, not just for Brexit are, but also what her programme for the UK is. She and her followers continually berate Ms Sturgeon, to ‘concentrate on the day job.’ The same can be said about Mrs May.
    Since this election is very much a narrow one, almost a referendum, to empower Mrs May, then she should appear in debate on TV and radio with Ms Sturgeon, Ms Wood, Ms Lucas, Mr Corbyn and Mr Farron so that her argument can be examined.

  3. naomi elias

    Just because the woman “speaks posh” the stupid, ignorant people thinks she’s clever and knows what is what. In fact, she’s a particularly ignorant person who can’t make up her mind so goes back on promises. She has no respect for the majority of voters because they keep voting for her when her policies are in direct opposition to what they should be. The Party of the working class! Some hopes! But, unfortunately the majority seem to be suffering from false consciousness, as Marx would say! Why are the English, in particular so ignorant? And she will get away with not debating the other leaders; they are all too intelligent for her.

  4. ted francis

    Public (TV) debates should be made a mandatory part of Parliamentary elections.
    I hope the other parties will go ahead so that the Government’s record and manifesto will be held up to exposure without the possibility of immediate riposte. Taking a leaf out of the Tory handbook of electoral practice (which they copied from the Goebbels handbook …….tell a lie big enough and often enough and it will become the truth…) and repeatedly point the accusations over and over. It might even force the Headteacher onto the box.

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