The BBC has pulled out of hosting a Brexit television debate between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.
The debate was due to take place on December 9 – two days before the historic vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal in the House of Commons.
Labour has previously indicated its support for an ITV proposal based on a simple one-on-one format, in contrast to the original BBC offer which involved leaders taking questions from a wider panel.
In a statement, the BBC said: “We are disappointed that we could not reach an agreement on the BBC’s proposal for a debate on Brexit.
“We have been clear throughout the whole of this process that, as well as a substantive head-to-head debate, any programme we broadcast would need to include other voices, including other political parties, to reflect the wide range of views the public and parliamentarians hold about Brexit.
“The final proposal we put to both of the main parties was for a head-to-head debate between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, followed by a discussion between eight panellists, including politicians, with a wide range of views on Brexit, and ending with further head-to-head debate and closing statements.
“We believe ours was a fair and appropriate format for those taking part and, crucially, for our audiences around the country, and it is a shame we will not be able to bring them this programme.”
Yesterday, Mrs May told ITV’s This Morning: “I am keen to have a head-to-head with Jeremy Corbyn.”
“I think he (Mr Corbyn) said he wanted it to be on ITV so he could watch the final of ‘I’m a Celebrity’… actually I think his proposal meant that I would miss ‘Strictly’ and I hate to say this on ITV but I’m a bit of a ‘Strictly’ fan.”
A vote takes place on the Prime Minister's Brexit deal on December 11 - with five days of debates taking place from today.