The two party leaders took questions from the audience in a debate broadcast on ITV.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have clashed over Brexit in the first TV election debate of the campaign.
Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would “get Brexit sorted by giving you, the people, the final say”.
Boris Johnson promised to “end this national misery” and said Labour offered “only division and deadlock”.
The two leaders also locked horns over the NHS, trust and leadership, the future of Scotland – and the Royal Family.
Johnson said he would “absolutely” have a trade deal agreed with the EU by the current deadline — which is the end of December 2020 — after chair Julie Etchingham asked him: “Have you dug yourself a new ditch?”
Her quip was based on Johnson’s assertion earlier in the year that he would rather “die in a ditch” than extend the Brexit withdrawal deadline. He was later forced to delay the departure date.
The NHS and Brexit
Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn stuck to their core campaign messages – but an early row broke out over the Labour leader’s claim that US health firms will be given access to the NHS in a post-Brexit trade deal.
The debate threatened to heat up when Mr Corbyn argued the government had held “secret meetings with the United States” about opening up the U.K.’s health markets to American firms as part of a post-Brexit trade deal.
Mr Corbyn told the PM: “You are going to sell our National Health Service out to the United States and Big Pharma.”
Jeremy Corbyn flashed printed-out documents, obtained under Freedom of Information rules, setting out the detail of those meetings — all of it redacted. But Johnson said his claims were “absolute invention” and “completely untrue, an absolute invention” and that there were “no circumstances whatever in which this government or any Conservative government will put the NHS on the table in any trade negotiation.”
Johnson also said keeping the nations of the U.K. together was more important than securing Brexit, while Jeremy Corbyn insisted he would do no deals with the Scottish National Party to allow a fresh referendum on Scottish independence as the price for putting him into Downing Street as part of a coalition, as suggested by Johnson.
Altogether the hour long show comprised of Boris Johnson blurting lets get Brexit done while Jeremy Corbyn appeared more intent on getting a message over of what could be done if the country returned a Labour government.
A snap YouGov poll suggested the public were evenly split on who had won the debate, “with most Labour voters thinking Jeremy Corbyn won, most Conservative voters thinking Boris Johnson won”.
However an ITV poll shows Jeremy Corbyn the clear winner.
Who won the #ITVDebate? Give us your snap verdict!
We’re live on https://t.co/nL3Bl0lTNh bringing you all the reaction from the spin room.
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) November 19, 2019
In our opinion Corbyn was the real statesman. see for yourself.