The UK’s Channel 4 hosts a debate today that will focus on climate change ahead of the December 12 election.
Notably absent from today’s debate is Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who accused the television station of bias after its boss declared him a “known liar” earlier this year.
Johnson’s absence provides an opportunity for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to narrow the prime minister’s lead in opinion polls. Recent polling gives the Conservatives an 11-point lead over Labour—two points fewer than last week—likely on the back of Corbyn’s strong performance in the first leaders’ debate.
Labour has emphasised environmental policies in its election manifesto, released last Thursday. The party’s platform includes a pledge to cut net carbon emissions to zero by 2030. The Conservatives say they will do so by 2050, giving Corbyn a solid basis to deliver a strong performance in today’s debate.
Johnson will likely respond by declaring Labour’s climate policies economically unsustainable. The Conservative Party can also be expected to reorient the focus back to Brexit. While brushing over climate issues will allow Johnson to avoid difficult questions about his party’s environmental commitment, it also provides Corbyn an obvious avenue of attack in the next leaders’ debate on December 6.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.