TV leaders' debate dubbed 'worst episode of Take Me Out ever'

ITV Leaders' Debate: May and Corbyn have until 8pm to “change their minds”

Ms Wood said: "The Prime Minister and the Labour leader's absence will no doubt cast a shadow over the event".

The two-hour debate, staged by ITV at its studios in Salford, began with a clash on Brexit, then covered the NHS, social care, living standards, education and university tuition fees.

But there were two notable voices missing as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn both refused to show up for the debate.

Mrs May has said she will not take part in any live debates, and Mr Corbyn has said he will only take part if she does.

He said: 'The Brexit negotiation between Brussels and London will have outcomes none of us can predict.

He made the gaffe during the course of the ITV election leaders' debate - which was boycotted by the big two parties.

Television debates are often said to be a job interview to be Prime Minister, so it was bold of Theresa May - the post's current occupant - to pass up ITV's chance to debate her rivals on stage this evening.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood turned Theresa May's "strong and stable" slogan on its head as she accused the prime minister of displaying "weak and unstable" leadership by snubbing the first TV debate of the general election campaign on Thursday 18 May.

Ms Lucas used her opening statement to insist the United Kingdom can cope with the serious challenges it faces.

"You may be too scared to come here tonight", Wood said.

Both Farron and Lucas believe people should get the chance to vote in another European Union referendum.

Sturgeon said Scottish opposition to a Westminster Tory government, committed to an "extreme" Brexit, could only be provided by her party.

Lib Dem Tim Farron, SNP Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood and Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas all backed staying in the EU.

"The SNP will always stand up against Tory cuts because they are damaging our public services and pushing more people into poverty".

Ms Sturgeon also made a dig at the Prime Minister, who has faced criticism for her perceived shift to the right on issues like immigration and selective schooling, by referring to Paul Nuttall as Mrs May's "spokesman". "I trust the people".

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