Corbyn and Johnson to give BBC seven-way election debate a miss

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Neither Boris Johnson nor Jeremy Corbyn will attend the BBC’s seven-way election debate on Friday, the corporation has announced.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak will attend for the Tories, while shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey will represent Labour.

But the leaders of the other two main parties, leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson and leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon, will both feature.

Also due to take part are leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price, former leader of the Green Party and Green candidate for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas, and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice.

The debate is due to take place on BBC One on Friday November 29 at 7.30pm.

Today presenter and former BBC political editor Nick Robinson will host the programme.

The BBC said the debate will be broadcast live from Cardiff and the format will see each of the panellists make short opening statements, which will then be followed by questions and debate.

At the end of the debate, all of the representatives will have the opportunity to make short closing statements.

The BBC also announced that Ms Swinson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage will face a televised grilling by Andrew Neil next week.

Ms Swinson will be in the chair on Wednesday December 4, with Mr Farage taking his turn on Thursday December 5.

These follow Mr Neil’s half-hour interviews with Ms Sturgeon and Mr Corbyn earlier this week.

Questioned on when Mr Johnson would be facing the hot seat, the BBC said: “We’re in ongoing discussions with his team but we haven’t yet been able to fix a date.”

Three million people tuned into BBC One on Tuesday night to see Mr Corbyn being pressed over allegations of anti-Semitism within his party.

Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn have already taken part in a head-to-head debate on ITV and a Question Time leaders’ special on the BBC last week.

Some 6.7 million people tuned into the first two-way leaders’ debate on ITV on Tuesday November 19.

A peak audience of 4.6 million watched Mr Johnson, Mr Corbyn, Ms Swinson and Ms Sturgeon battle a barrage of hostile questioning on the BBC’s Question Time special on Friday November 22.

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