Leaders' debate: Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn absent from five-way clash

Leaders' debate: Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn absent from five-way clash”

The Election debate on ITV took place without either Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn - who were invited but chose to stay away.

If it doesn't ring a bell then ask UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, who referred to Plaid Cymru head Leanne Wood by the name.

And the UKIP leader made the same gaffe again, saying "I think that Natalie's absolutely right, what we need to do is".

Nuttall, the only pro-Brexit voice in a debate that opened with a question on how Britain should approach the negotiations, said he was not a representative of the prime minister.

The reaction in the press this morning is nearly unanimous: the two-hour broadcast was spectacularly tiresome - and irrelevant.

"I think she'll sell out our fisheries", he said.

Moderated by ITV News anchor Julie Etchingham, the primetime broadcast will offer viewers the opportunity to see leaders engaging directly in debate on significant election questions, put to them by members of the audience.

Mr Nuttall said a host of figures on both sides of the European Union debate had said this would be the case - including the leaflet sent to every house in the run up to the referendum. "Without Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn the debate lacked real goal", it says.

He added: "The public deserve to see a debate between the only two people who could form the next government".

The comments came within the opening minutes of the ITV leaders' debate, hosted at MediaCityUk in Salford.

He said: 'Brexit would never have happened if it wasn't for Ukip.

The leaders of the remaining five parties - Tim Farron, Caroline Lucas, Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood and Paul Nuttall - locked horns on issues ranging from Brexit and immigration, to healthcare, education and the economy.

Mr Farron repeated his party's threat to hold another referendum on the final deal in a desperate bid to keep Britain in the EU.

"That's weak leadership - weak and unstable. I trust the people".

"Democracy did not end on 23 June", said Farron.

The Welsh nationalist corrected Mr Nuttall twice as he appeared to confuse her with ex-Green Party chief Natalie Bennett. "I know we all look the same", she replied.

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