Wales politics

Carwyn Jones challenges Theresa May to debate in Wales

Carwyn Jones with Jeremy Corbyn and Christina Rees Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Carwyn Jones, pictured right, says there should be a "little more meat on the bones" in the election campaign

The first minister has challenged the prime minister to an election debate.

In a speech in London on Thursday Carwyn Jones will call on Theresa May to go head-to-head with him on the issues of the campaign.

Mrs May has already ruled out TV debates - and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will not take part without her.

The Conservatives said putting Labour in government would jeopardise the economy.

Mrs May has previously said she preferred "to get out and about and meet voters" than take part in debates.

Calling on all parties to raise the tone of the general election debate, the Welsh Labour leader will say: "Let's make this election a different sort of election. An election based on the issues, not personalities.

"Facts, not fear. A little more meat on the bones, and a little less bacon sandwich.

"The Brexit referendum campaign, whichever side you were on, was not a happy episode for our country.

"A campaign that centred too much on fear versus half-truths is no way for the United Kingdom to advertise our democracy to the world.

"I make this pledge - and I challenge others to do the same - I want to use the next few weeks to raise the level of debate in this country."

He added: "I hope the prime minister - after her visit to Wales this week - will sign up to a similar approach, and I invite her to debate with me on these terms, when she is back in Wales during the campaign."

'Scars'

It follows comments by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson calling Jeremy Corbyn a "mutton-headed, old mugwump".

A spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives said: "The Welsh economy and its public services bear the scars of nearly two decades of Labour rule."

"Putting Labour in Government would jeopardise our growing economy with higher taxes, fewer jobs, more waste and more debt," he added.

UKIP Welsh Assembly leader Neil Hamilton said his party "has always believed in positive, not negative campaigning".

He said that "despite being the target of appalling abuse" and "black propaganda" from opponents "we choose to concentrate on the issues".

A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman said: "We need Wales's voice to be heard more than ever before and Plaid Cymru will not allow the Tories to continue unchecked".

She added: "The weak and divided Labour Party cannot even unite their own party let alone the country.

Welsh Lib Dem leader Mark Williams said it was the Liberal Democrats who have held the Tories to the fire on Brexit.

"The Liberal Democrats will be the strong opposition this country needs to fight for an open, tolerant and united Britain," he said.

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