Theresa May savaged by party leaders for debate no-show: 'Good leaders don't run away'

Tim Farron advises viewers to watch Bake Off instead of listen to the Conservatives 

Caroline Mortimer
Wednesday 31 May 2017 23:33
Tim Farron and Caroline Lucas criticise May's absence

Party leaders have launched blistering attacks on Theresa May for not showing up to the election debate.

The Prime Minister declined to take part in the seven way head-to-head debate broadcast on the BBC, sending Home Secretary Amber Rudd in her place even though Jeremy Corbyn decided to attend at the last moment.

Ms May has denied that she is not attending because she is “frightened” of losing on live television, instead saying her time is better served on the campaign trail.

But Liberal Democrat Tim Farron condemned the decision, saying: “Good leaders don’t run away from a debate.”

He said: “Whatever we’ve discussed this evening, her absence is the shadow that hangs over this election. How dare you call a general election then run away from the debate.”

During his final pitch to the nation at the end of the programme, he even advised views to turn over to BBC2 to watch the Great British Bake Off rather than listen to the Conservatives’ pitch.

“Amber Rudd is up next. She is not the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is not here she can’t be bothered so why should you. In fact Bake Off is on BBC2 next, why not make yourself a brew? You are not worth Theresa May’s time don’t give her yours,” he said.

Green party leader Caroline Lucas piled in on the absent PM by adding: “I think the first rule of leadership is to show up.

“You don’t call a general election and say it is the most important election in her lifetime and then not even be bothered to debate the issues at hand.”

The Conservative election campaign has faltered in recent weeks after the party was forced into an embarrassing U-turn over its plans for the so-called “dementia tax”.

Its manifesto promised to remove social care so the elderly do not need to pay for the care they receive while they are alive.

But critics pointed out this would penalise those who suffer a slow decline through illnesses such as dementia, over those who die suddenly and can then pass on their estate intact to their children.

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