Corbyn challenges Theresa May over 'dementia tax'

Ivan Schwartz
June 3, 2017

Mr Corbyn faced shouts of "what would you do" when he refused to say whether he would authorise a retaliatory strike if the United Kingdom had already come under nuclear attack.

Dimbleby asked the Labour leader.

Audience members also challenged Mr Corbyn over his promises to raise £48 billion in tax to pay for public services, with one man telling him Labour's manifesto read like "a letter to Santa Claus".

Following a row with the Conservatives over the composition of its audience in a debate on Monday, the BBC said its Question Time audience was balanced, with a third of those present planning to vote Conservative, a third for Labour and the rest undecided.

But Mrs May insisted she was not ducking a debate, saying she preferred to take questions direct from voters.

It would have been the easiest thing in the world, having become Prime Minister after the referendum when David Cameron resigned, to say the next election isn't until 2020.

Mrs May said public sector staff were "working very hard on jobs we want them to do", but added: "We have to make sure that we are managing our money carefully because at the end of the day there isn't a magic money tree that suddenly delivers all the money everybody wants for the spending everybody wants".

"What particularly annoys me is that Trident isn't just for, heaven forbid, a potential Corbyn government, it goes beyond that many decades into the future".

Another gentlemen in the audience said: "Would you use it as second use or would you allow North Korea or some idiot in Iran to bomb us and say "ooh, we better start talking", you'll be too late!"

"And you've backtracked on your social care policy".

"Even with all those young people who say they are going to vote and may not, Mrs May should still win a majority so I wouldn't sell your pounds yet", Page said. "I had the balls to call an election".

Asked if he would use them in retaliation, he answered: "The weapon is there and I would say no first use" he added explaining that their use would be "disastrous for the whole planet".

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In a fractious exchange on the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent, the Labour leader was heckled for saying: "People tell me that the most effective use of it is not to use it because it's there". "I will decide on the circumstances at the time", Corbyn said. "It's not going to happen quickly, it's not going to happen easily, but we have to have that wish".

"If you are to bring about a peace process anywhere. there has to be a coming together".

In the TV event, May was also accused of failing to stand up to the US President Donald Trump over his country's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

"I think the idea of anyone ever using a nuclear weapon is utterly appalling", he said.

The findings echo other recent polls which show May's once commanding lead of more than 20 points when she called the campaign being whittled away, meaning she might no longer win the landslide she hoped.

Mrs May was also confronted by two voters who had been called to work capability assessments over mental health conditions, one of whom said she had been waiting nearly two years for NHS counselling.

The PM said she made no excuses for the woman's treatment and would make mental health a priority.

She said social care would be capped over a person's lifetime, but would not reveal the level.

But she said taxpayers should not have to subsidise the social care of elderly people who have a "very significant value" property.

Although she repeated her assertion that no deal would be better than a bad deal on Brexit, she appeared to accept that negotiations on Britain's future relationship with the European Union could not begin until "sufficient progress" is made on the divorce settlement.

Mr Corbyn replied: "Of course not, of course I would not do that".

Other reports by GizPress

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