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  1. ITV Report

Theresa May answers voters' questions in her first ever live Facebook Q&A

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  • Watch the full interview above - skip to 10 minutes in to get to the start

Theresa May has taken questions in her first ever Facebook Live session with the voting public, in an event hosted by ITV News.

Around 40,000 comments were posted during the Q&A, with the prime minister asked questions on a range of subjects by ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston, including:

  • The NHS
  • Fox hunting
  • Arms sales to Saudi Arabia
  • Brexit
  • Legalising cannabis
  • Her diabetes

On the NHS, Mrs May was asked if she would be willing to put more money into the service on top of what has already been pledged.

She said half a trillion pounds was being spent in the five years from 2015, adding: "We need to make sure the money we are spending is being spent as effectively as possible with an absolute focus on patient care."

The prime minister denied claims the NHS was being "sold off" and said the only way to ensure a strong health service was to have a strong economy.

She said: “Labour’s nonsensical economic policy would wreck the economy – that would mean less money for the NHS in future.”

Mrs May admitted there was "more to do" to when it came to tackling mental health issues within the NHS.

She said she wanted to remove the stigma around mental health, bring legislation up to date and ensure all primary and secondary state schools have members of staff trained in how to deal with mental health issues.

The issue of disability payments was also raised by many questioners.

The decision to replace the Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payments has faced heavy criticism, but Mrs May said the reforms were "part of trying to ensure that we focus payments on those who most need it, those who are most vulnerable".

She added: "There are a number of issue people raise around PIPs. One is about the assessment process and we have been making changes in that to make that a better process for people. We want to try to help those disabled people able to get into the workplace to do so."

In the first question, Mrs May was asked about the help her government was providing for young people.

She said this election "is about young people" and that the Government was using schemes like "Help to Buy" to benefit them.

Among those to question Mrs May was Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who highlighted a range of issues including housing, policing and the NHS and asked why the prime minister would not debate with him.

Mrs May said that it was more important to take questions directly from voters.

"I don’t think people get much out of seeing politicians having a go at each other," she said.

The issue of British arms sales to Saudi Arabia was raised on Facebook, with one questioner asking why the UK was still selling them to the Saudi government when there was evidence of them being used against civilians in Yemen.

Mrs May replied that there were strict rules surrounding arms sales and that where there have been reports of civilians being killed and injured, the UK has asked the Saudi government to investigate.

But she said the partnership with the Saudi government was an important one for the UK, saying: "Our partnership with Saudi Arabia has helped to keep lives safe here in the UK."

Asked about proposals to bring back fox hunting, Mrs May said she had "always supported foxhunting" and that there would be a "free vote" in Parliament on the issue if the Conservatives won the election.

She later admitted she had never been fox hunting.

Mrs May acknowledged fox hunting was something people "do feel strongly about" but said there are "many other issues" people will look at when they go to vote on June 8.

On the EU, Mrs May was asked about guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals living in the UK, but said her top priority was the rights of British citizens.

"It’s important that we are able to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living here, but I also want to see the rights of UK citizens living in the remaining 27 EU countries being guaranteed as well," she said.

The subject of a second Scottish independence referendum was also raised, with the prime minister saying it was not right to discuss the issue at the moment and urging the Scottish National Party to focus on Brexit.

"The UK should be working together not pulling apart," Mrs May said.

Here is what Theresa May had to say on:

  • Personal Independence Payments
  • Legalising cannabis
  • School funding

Mrs May also said:

  • she was against reducing the voting age to 16
  • she would try to simplify the system of train fares to give people easier access to the cheapest fares
  • she would not support a burka ban as it should be up to women to choose how they dress
  • she will serve a full term as prime minister if the Conservatives win the election

The prime minister laughed off a question suggesting former Ukip leader Nigel Farage should get a knighthood.

She also discussed how she coped with her diabetes.

Mrs May, who is Type-1 diabetic, said she injects herself with insulin "four or five times a day".

"You just get into a routine," she said. "The crucial thing to me is being a diabetic doesn’t stop you from doing anything."

In the final question, Mrs May confirmed if she was re-elected on June 8 she would serve a full term as prime minister and would see through the Brexit negotiations, which are due to conclude within the next two years.

"If I am elected I will certainly serve my full term," she said.

"I am pretty certain it (Brexit) can be done in those two years.

"A new parliament will take us through to 2022 which is three years beyond the 2019 and I will be round."

Each party leader, including Jeremy Corbyn, Nicola Sturgeon, Tim Farron, Paul Nuttall, Leanne Wood and Caroline Lucas has been invited to take part in ITV News Leaders Live in the days leading up to the General Election on June 8.