One weekend, two election debates – here’s a snapshot of the main talking points that could impact the value of the pound.
The first election debate of the campaign contested by senior figures from seven political parties took place on Friday 29th November. It was the first opportunity for the Brexit Party, the SNP, Plaid and the Greens to square off with the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems on live TV. Despite not featuring the two main party leaders, the BBC election programme provided plenty of drama.
Unsurprisingly, Brexit was a hot topic. Will it happen any time soon? The pound certainly hopes so. Here’s what some of the party representatives had to say on the issue:
- Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson reaffirmed her party’s commitment to scrapping Brexit, by saying: “We’re in episode one of a 10-season box set, and if you don’t like what you’ve seen so far, you don’t have to watch the rest.”
- Rishi Sunak – who carried the flag for the Conservatives during the debate – continued to hammer home the party’s commitment to “get Brexit done”, by saying: “We all want to move on, and with your support, we can do exactly that,”.
- Rebecca Long-Bailey – the shadow business secretary representing Labour – was grilled on her leader’s decision to stay neutral on Brexit.
- The Brexit Party's Richard Tice came under fire from his anti-Brexit rivals in the room – most notably SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon – for claiming leaving the EU "would make us wealthier.”
- Green Party representative Caroline Lucas attacked Boris Johnson’s mantra that he will “get Brexit done”, by arguing: “His oven-ready meal is made of chlorinated chicken and it will make us all sick. And when we arrive at the hospital, we’ll find it has been flogged off to Trump’s America.”
The UK economy
This might be dubbed ‘the Brexit election’ – after all, the EU referendum got us here in the first place – but the are other issues that will impact the pound – not least the economy.
- Mrs Long-Bailey challenged Mr Sunak’s claim that the last Labour government had crashed the economy by arguing: “We suffered a world banking crisis: your chancellor was working at Deutsche Bank, selling the very derivatives that caused the crash in the first place”.
Sunday’s ITV election debate
The bell rang for round two of the weekend’s live election bout on Sunday. While the seven contenders remained the same, there were a few new faces lacing up their gloves to represent their respective parties in the ITV debate – but not Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, who dodged a second “leaders’ debate” in 48 hours. Once again it was Brexit that was giving the pound plenty of food for thought.
- Rishi Sunak claimed that the SNP will prop up the Labour party, causing further delay, before concluding, somewhat predictably, that his party would: "Get Brexit done".
- Labour’s Richard Burgon came under attack from all sides of the panel about Labour’s policy on Brexit. The main bone of contention being Jeremy Corbyn’s determination to remain neutral if his party were to force a second referendum with a new deal in place.
- Jo Swinson continued to bang the drum for remaining in the EU, saying Brexit is causing “chaos” and costing the UK money that could be spent on more pressing issues.
- Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage says another referendum would create more division and turning our backs on the Leave vote would be the “death of democracy”. He went on to say: "There is no perfect answer, but we have to deliver Brexit."
- Green Party co-leader Sian Berry pledged her support for a second referendum but believes that Brexit would be a “disaster”.
Currencies aversion to political uncertainty would make a second Scottish referendum an unwelcome outcome for the pound.
- Mr Burgon claimed Labour won’t be making any deals with the SNP that might allow his party to form a coalition government in return for a second vote on Scottish independence. Once again ruling out another referendum in "the early years of a Labour government."
- Asked which referendum she wants first – Brexit or Scottish – Nicola Sturgeon said she wants the people of Scotland to be given another chance to decide their future.
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