In testy leadership debate, UK PM Johnson promises to deliver Brexit


In this handout image supplied by ITV, Prime Minister Boris Johnson answers questions during the ITV Leaders Debate at Media Centre on November 19, 2019 in Salford, England. This evening ITV hosted the first televised head-to-head Leader’s debate of this election campaign. Leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn faced Conservative party leader, Boris Johnson after the SNP and Liberal Democrats lost a court battle to be included.

Jonathan Hordle | ITV | Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised on Tuesday to take Britain out of the European Union by Jan. 31 and to secure a new trade deal by the end of next year, trying to press home his message that only he can deliver Brexit quickly in a leadership debate.

In a testy debate with opposition Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn before a Dec. 12 election, Britain’s departure from the EU dominated the opening exchanges with both leaders trying to cast doubt over the other’s pledges.

“We certainly will come out on January the 31st, because we have a deal … that is oven ready,” Johnson said.

Johnson is promising to implement the exit deal he negotiated with Brussels and lead Britain out of the EU within months.

Corbyn wants to negotiate a new exit deal and put it to a referendum within six months alongside the option to remain in the bloc. Corbyn said during the debate he would honor whatever the result of that vote was.

Polls put Johnson’s Conservatives as much as 18 percentage points ahead of Labour, but the election is difficult to call because of pacts and alliances on both sides of the Brexit debate and voters’ deteriorating traditional allegiances.

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