General election 2019 latest: Johnson gives climate debate the cold shoulder

The Week’s daily round-up of how the election campaign is unfolding

Party leaders - and ice sculpture stand-ins - at the climate debate
(Image credit: Kirsty O'Connor - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Voters were last night treated to another televised face-off between politicians battling to secure No. 10, as the clock ticks down towards the general election.

Channel 4 invited all the main parties’ leaders to take part in the climate debate. But Boris Johnson and the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage were conspicuously absent - and were represented instead by slowly melting ice sculptures.

The Tories have made a formal complaint to Ofcom, saying that they had offered Michael Gove as a last-minute stand-in for the prime minister but had been rebuffed in an alleged show of bias by the broadcaster.

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All of the leaders who did show up for the debate - Jo Swinson, Nicola Sturgeon, Adam Price, Jeremy Corbyn and Sian Berry - agreed that tackling the climate crisis was a priority, leaving them battling to prove they were the most committed.

Meanwhile, the BBC has complained to the Conservatives about a Facebook advert by the party that uses footage of its news presenters referring to a “pointless delay to Brexit” and “another Brexit delay”. The broadcaster say the clips are taken out of context and “could damage perceptions of impartiality”.

In other election news, the Labour Party is launching its regional manifestos across England today, promising an “investment blitz” to bring “wealth, power and prosperity” to communities through transport projects, green jobs and housing.

In the opposite corner, Tory election candidates have been given a detailed manual on how to attack Labour and Liberal Democrat rivals, by criticising Labour’s spending pledges and the Lib Dems’ “pro-pimp policies on prostitution”. But The Guardian says the leaked dossier is full of “discredited claims” and statements that have been taken out of context and are “potentially misleading”.

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