Battle for Number 10: Sunak and Starmer face off in leaders’ debate

12 June 2024, 18:52 | Updated: 12 June 2024, 21:27

The leaders' debate will air from 7pm.
The leaders' debate will air from 7pm. Picture: Alamy

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will go head to head in the Battle for Number 10 leaders' debate on Wednesday evening.

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The party leaders are expected to face questions focusing on taxes, the cost of living, and plans for the NHS.

Voters across the country will go to the polls on July 4.

'Keep it credible!'

Wes Streeting interrupts James Cleverly when probed on his statement about a possible tax hike under a Labour government.

"It's embarassing James" he says, and asks him to "keep it credible".

Starmer 'did not come across as robotic' says Streeting

Wes Streeting disagrees with the question that Starmer's response to a question about being "robotic" was "a bit robotic".

He says he thinks Starmer's answers were "thoughtful".

Cleverly criticises Starmer's response to Corbyn question

James Cleverly has criticised an answer by Keir Starmer when asked about his relationship with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He said he could "not be honest".

Wes Streeting disagrees with this statement.

Reaction from James Cleverley and Wes Streeting

Home Secretary James Cleverley and shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting are now reacting to the debate.

'Society isn't us vs them'

Sunak insists Tory pledges around stamp duty, national service, and tax cuts are a positive for young people.

"I don’t view society as us vs them," he says.

He says that every young person has a grandparent who would benefit from other pledges.

'Why would a young person today believe the Conservative Party has their best interest at heart?'

A student from Grimsby asks the PM why would a young person today believe the Conservative Party has their best interest at heart following the National Service announcement.

The audience audibly reacts before the question is even finished.

Sunak responds saying the service will be "transformative" and is "excited" for his two girls to do it.

He adds the service will provide skills and opportunities and improve the resilience and security of the country.

Rebuilding public trust after D-Day blunder

Sunak reiterates his regret over leaving D-Day events early, adding that he didn't mean to cause offence and can only unreservedly apologise.

"You can look at what we've done - we've got a veterans minister around the Cabinet table for first time," he says.

He adds: "This election is about the future." 

"Trust takes time to rebuild through actions," he says.

Sunak challenged over fixing the NHS

Sunak insists he is investing record sums into the NHS and training more doctors and nurses for the future.

Audience member challenges Sunak on his claim that he has an instilled value of caring for NHS.

"How are we going to do that if you try and undermine it at every level?"

"With the greatest respect, that's not what we're doing," Sunak says.

"We're investing record sums into it. We're training more doctors and nurses than we ever have, and there are more doctors and nurses in the NHS today than it's also had."

Misogyny and racism have 'no place in society, particularly policing'

Sunak is asked by a woman on issues with community safety, particularly policing.

He says misogyny and racism have "no place in society, particularly policing".

He answers the questions and speaks of a "record high" of police numbers and tougher sentences for criminals, particularly regarding violence against women and girls.

Sunak plagued by frequent audience heckling

Sunak is being heckled by members of the audience, particularly on NHS issues such as waiting lists and industrial action.

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