ITV Election Debate highlights

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn locked horns in the first live televised leadership debate of the general election campaign last night, with one newspaper describing it as a ‘bore draw’. The public certainly seemed evenly split over who had won the debate ‘with most Labour voters thinking Jeremy Corbyn won, most Conservative voters thinking Boris Johnson won’ according to a snap YouGov poll.

So, what were the main talking points that could impact the pound?

Brexit

Brexit is the cornerstone of the election campaign – in fact, it’s responsible for the whole thing happening in the first place. If Mr Johnson achieves his aim of breaking the Brexit deadlock in the coming weeks, the pound is likely to prosper. A majority victory for the Prime Minister could clear the clouds of uncertainty, shedding light on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. Here’s what they both had to say on the issue:

  • Mr Johnson appealed to voters by outlining their options: ‘getting Brexit done’ with him or further ‘dither and delay’ with another EU referendum if Labour prevails.
  • Mr Johnson maintained the UK will leave the EU on 31st January, ending what he described as ‘this national misery’, before claiming Labour offered ‘only division and deadlock’.
  • Mr Corbyn replied: ‘The idea that the Prime Minister’s deal can be dealt with and finished by the end of January is such nonsense.’
  • Mr Corbyn said Labour would ‘get Brexit sorted by giving you, the people, the final say’.

The Union

A member of the audience asked: ‘is the union worth sacrificing for Brexit?’ If Labour formed a coalition with the SNP, another Scottish referendum could be on the cards, triggering more political uncertainty that could weigh on the pound.

  • Mr Johnson claimed that the result of a Labour-SNP electoral deal would be a second Scottish referendum.
  • Mr Corbyn said ‘no deal will be done’ with the SNP.

Overall pitch

  • Corbyn: the Labour leader’s rhetoric extended beyond just Brexit, as he made pledges about traditional election issues such as the NHS and climate.
  • Johnson: the Prime Minister was keen to remind everyone that they were all there because of the deadlock and that only a Conservative majority could get Brexit done.

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