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Summary

  1. Leaders clashed on Brexit and public services in seven-way debate
  2. Rivals attacked Theresa May for not taking part in debate
  3. PM to urge voters to help her 'fulfil promise of Brexit'
  4. Tim Farron in Andrew Neil interview on BBC One
  5. Greens' co-leader Jonathan Bartley on Jeremy Vine show

Live Reporting

By Aiden James, Paul Gribben and Jackie Storer

All times stated are UK

Recap: The key clips from the BBC TV election debate

The morning so far has been dominated by reaction to the seven-way BBC TV election debate last night. Events are now moving on to the campaign trail with speeches from Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to come on Brexit due this afternoon. Click here to follow these events on our fresh BBC Election Live page.

Highlights from Wednesday's BBC TV election debate
Amber Rudd v Jeremy Corbyn
Which party will help those in need?
Where do the parties stand on immigration?
Paul Nuttall and Jeremy Corbyn on corporation tax

Scroll down for more of the reaction to the debate and to see how the debate itself unfolded, with lots of clips as well as text commentary and analysis. Alternatively watch the whole debate by clicking on the video tab at the top of this page.

Clegg says Tories are 'divorced from reality' on Brexit

BBC News Channel

Nick Clegg
BBC

Theresa May is to set out her vision of a bright future outside the EU but former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg thinks "the Conservatives are divorced from reality".

Mr Clegg, who is now his party's Brexit spokesman, tells BBC News that growth has slowed and house prices are stagnating.

He attacks Theresa May for planning to take the UK out of "Margaret Thatcher's single market", calling the move "the greatest act of economic protectionism, possibly, in the post-war period".

This will hit "just about managing" families and put "the British economy in serious jeopardy", he claims.

It is a monumental act of economic self-harm and the author of that self-harm is Theresa May.

As the UK prepares for a general election, BBC World Service asked people in Wales.
As the UK prepares for a general election, BBC World Service asked people in Wales what they would do if they were leader.

EU and Britain 'may want to be reunited' - George Soros

Mr Soros added: "The divorce will be a long process, taking as long as five years. Five years seems like an eternity in politics, especially in revolutionary times like these. During that time the EU could transform itself into an organisation that other countries like Britain would want to join. If that happened the two sides may want to be reunited even before the divorce is completed. That would be a wonderful outcome worth striving for.

"This seems practically inconceivable right now, but in reality it's quite attainable. Britain is a parliamentary democracy, within five years it has to hold another general election and the next parliament may vote to be reunited with Europe."

George Soros: 'EU must resist temptation to punish Britain'

George Soros
Getty Images

Philanthropist billionaire George Soros believes that Britain remaining in the EU is still possible.

Addressing the Brussels Economic Forum, he said: “Brexit will be an immensely damaging process, harmful to both sides. Most of the damage is felt right now, when the European Union is in an existential danger but its attention is diverted in negotiating the separation from Britain.

"The European Union must resist the temptation to punish Britain and approach the negotiations in a constructive spirit. It should use Brexit as a catalyst for introducing far-reaching reforms."

How do you electioneer with a newborn?

New mums campaigning for election with their babies

The snap general election caught many by surprise, particularly those MPs who had just become parents.

Emma Reynolds, Labour's candidate in Wolverhampton North East, described how people react to seeing her with Theo, who was born just four days before the election was called.

And in Morley and Outwood, Conservative Andrea Jenkyns explained how eight-week-old Clifford has given her a spring in her step, despite an unfortunate incident before meeting the prime minister.

Theresa May 'to strike optimistic note' on Brexit

Norman Smith

Assistant political editor

The prime minister is to promise Britain will become a "more prosperous" country after Brexit.

Her claim that the UK will be wealthier is at odds with warnings from a number of independent forecasters. The Office for Budget Responsibility has warned Brexit will "reduce growth in exports and imports" and has revised down growth forecasts for the economy.

But in a speech later, Mrs May will seek to strike a more optimistic note, predicting "a brighter future" after Brexit.

"The promise of Brexit is great, the opportunities before us are enormous," she will say, describing Brexit as "a moment of great national change" which is "alive with possibilities".

She will add: "I am confident we can fullfil the promise of Brexit and build a Britain that is stronger, fairer and more prosperous than it is today."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will also set out his approach to the Brexit negotiations later. Opposition parties have repeatedly warned of the economic risks the UK faces outside the single market.

John Redwood: Brexit divorce bill 'a red herring'

Donald Tusk and Theresa May
Composite
Donald Tusk and Theresa May

Conservative candidate John Redwood has said he sees "no sign" of Theresa May wanting to pay a Brexit "divorce bill".

European Council President Donald Tusk has stated that the UK's withdrawal terms, including any money it owes to the EU, will have to be agreed and the divorce bill would have to settled before talks on trade can begin.

"I see absolutely no sign of her wanting to pay a big divorce bill because it would be a stupid thing to do and she's not silly," said Mr Redwood, who campaigned to leave the EU.

We owe them absolutely nothing, other than our legal dues up to the date of leaving the regular payments, and that is very clearly the legal advice given to the EU as well as to us, and so I think the EU was just putting forward a rather silly red herring.

Boris Johnson: 'Good' if people believe election is a close race

Boris Johnson
BBC

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said it’s a “good thing” if people believe that the race has tightened between the Conservatives and Labour.

“If people feel it could go to the wire then as far as I’m concerned, that's great," he said.

"I want people to focus on it - I want people to come out and vote. This is the most important election for a long time because we have to get Brexit right."

Mr Johnson said the government was “on the verge of doing something brilliant and something that will work” but he worried that if Labour were in charge, they would “frustrate” the process.

He said the party hadn’t done the “intellectual heavy-lifting” to take the negotiations on.

'Messy' TV debate 'worthwhile' for voters, says Lib Dem Kramer

Susan Kramer
BBC

Any opportunity for voters to see politicians " is always worthwhile", Lib Dem economics spokesman Baroness Susan Kramer has said in defence of last night's televised debate.

"It may not be pretty, it may be messy," she says, but it gives people the chance to see a potential future government.

"People need to answer the questions that you have for them in a challenged format," she explains, "not where it's a protected format".

She says she was glad Lib Dem leader Tim Farron was there, adding: "And I think he did really well."

BBC assistant political editor's view of 'a right old bunfight'

Victoria Derbyshire

Norman Smith
BBC

Who won last night's debate?

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith says it's possible that "the volume button on the TV remote won" for many viewers, given the noise of clashing politicians.

"Let's be honest, it was a right old bunfight," he says.

Theresa May was "damaged before anyone spoke a word" by her decision not to take part, Norman adds.

For Jeremy Corbyn, there was not "a moment where he crashed through and had a big impact".

Norman thinks that the Green Party's Caroline Lucas and Conservative Amber Rudd performed well - Ms Lucas for her attacks on Mrs May over her absence and Ms Rudd for sticking to "simple messages" such as Labour's spending commitments.

Watch again: Conservatives would not 'unfreeze benefits'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Damian Green says the Conservatives are not planning to reverse benefit freeze

TV debate was 'a bear garden' of shouting - Neil Hamilton

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Neil Hamilton
BBC

Neil Hamilton, leader of the UKIP group in the Welsh Assembly, said rather than strong and stable, Theresa May has been seen as "shrivelled" and "shrill" for refusing to take part in last night's TV debate.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd stood in for the prime minister, who has come under fire for absenting herself from the event.

Mr Hamilton, formerly a Conservative MP, says the programme came across as a "bear garden" of people shouting over each other, which meant voters did not get a great deal out of it.

It was not a good opportunity for UKIP's leader Paul Nuttall to get his message across, he says.

"Bear in mind you've got four parties who broadly agree about Brexit - they're against it - Labour, Liberals, Plaid and the SNP," he says.

"Amber Rudd, who was a strong supporter of the Remain camp and her brother was the big PR man who was behind the Remain camp - and then there was Paul Nuttall.

"And the audience reflected those proportions, so if you were having a Brexit debate, it wasn't half and half."

Listen again: Labour quizzed on benefits freeze

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Debbie Abrahams does not confirm Labour would unfreeze benefits

'Tangible change in the mood over Theresa May'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Being a "no show" is a very useful insult for other parties to throw at Theresa May following last night's televised debate, BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg has said.

The prime minister has been criticised for not taking part in the seven-way BBC event.

"What we're sensing... there is a tangible change in the mood - people are much less forgiving of Theresa May," she says.

"Support for Theresa May is more grudging, less willing," she continues.

Watch: Boris Johnson on Brexit, Corbyn and £350m a week

BBC Breakfast

Watch: Boris Johnson on Theresa May's whereabouts

'Where was Theresa May last night?'

BBC Breakfast

Boris Johnson
BBC

Boris Johnson is asked on BBC Breakfast if he knows where Theresa May was during Wednesday night's debate.

"I don’t know exactly where she was but I know she was absolutely right not to appear," he says.

He repeats his allegation that the debate was an "echo chamber for left-wing views".

He also argues that EU officials, if they had been watching, "would have learned absolutely nothing of value" about Labour's approach to Brexit talks.

"I trust Theresa May to get a great deal for this country and a great deal for Europe," the foreign secretary says.

Foreign secretary on Trump and climate change

BBC Breakfast

Wind farm and power station
Getty Images

Boris Johnson continues his Thursday tour of the TV and radio studios with an appearance on BBC Breakfast.

The foreign secretary is pressed on the UK government's response as President Trump prepares to announce on Thursday if the US is withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement.

"I can assure you that a great deal of lobbying is going on, even now," Mr Johnson says.

He adds that he will not "depart into a more aggressive style of language" and the US government's decision "is a matter for them".

Mr Johnson insists that the UK will continue to work with the US government at a state and federal level "to drive down CO2".

Damian Green: 'No idea if Theresa May watched debate'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Election set
Jeff Overs/BBC

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green says he does not know whether Theresa May watched last night's BBC TV election debate.

The prime minister came in for some criticism for not attending - Home Secretary Amber Rudd stood in for the Conservatives instead.

Mr Green said he could not say if Mrs May watched the event, adding: "I was there in Cambridge talking to journalists."

Ms Rudd "presented the Conservative policy very well", he said.

Theresa May will be telling voters that making a success of Brexit is a national mission that will result in a strong economy, he added.

Damian Green: Tories will not lift freeze on benefits

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

The Conservatives' Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green says the government will help customers with their energy bills - and confirms the promised cap on variable rate energy bills.

The party is not willing to look again at the benefits freeze, he says, stressing that ensuring people are in work is the best way to help them.

But he says if there are higher taxes on business - citing Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto - there will be fewer jobs.

Confusion over freeze on benefits?

BBC assistant political editor tweets...

Low-paid workers will be 'better off' under Labour - Debbie Abrahams

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams is asked if her party will lift the freeze on benefits.

She sidesteps the question, but says her party will reform and redesign the in-work benefit - universal credit - which supports people on low pay.

Labour will reverse child benefit and housing benefit cuts too, she says, adding that workers will get a £10-an-hour minimum wage and the overall package of measures will make the low paid "better off".

Measures being introduced for small businesses include reducing corporation tax and a review of business rates.

Johnson returns to 'coalition of chaos' theme

BBC Radio 5 live

Boris Johnson returns to a Conservative election theme: their claim that Jeremy Corbyn would need the backing of the SNP and Lib Dems to get into power.

The Labour leader would have "Tim Farron squawking like a parrot on one shoulder and - who's the other one? - Nicola Sturgeon on the other."

Radio 5 live Breakfast presenter Nicky Campbell suggests the foreign secretary is being disrespectful but Mr Johnson accuses the presenter of "sanctimony".

Theresa May 'absolutely right' to miss TV debate - Johnson

BBC Radio 5 live

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tells 5 live Breakfast that the reality of last night's debate "absolutely validated" Theresa May's decision not to appear.

It was "a great yammering cacophony of voices... most of them left-wing", he claims.

With Labour, the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru on the panel, "the BBC had to assemble an audience comprised of the supporters of those parties", he argues.

Mr Johnson also dismisses any suggestion that the PM was ducking campaign appearances: "Theresa May has done more campaigning than Jeremy Corbyn by miles."

Presenter Nicky Campbell recalls Mr Johnson's appearance in a BBC EU referendum debate last year and asks him: "If Gove hadn't stabbed you in the back and you were prime minister, would you have done it?"

Mr Johnson repeats that Mrs May was "absolutely right" not to take part and is right to focus on Brexit, following the referendum.

A recap on key points from BBC's TV debate

If people vote because polls are close - bring it on, says Boris

Sky News

Boris Johnson says if people are driven to vote because they think the election is close, "it's fine as far as I'm concerned".

The foreign secretary was being quizzed by Sky News the day after the BBC held a set-piece TV debate involving leaders and representatives of the seven main political parties.

He said he had "a lot of objections" over what Jeremy Corbyn "believes and what he stands for", especially his "sympathies with the IRA", which he described as "naive and shocking".

But he says his main objection to the Labour leader taking power on 9 June is that "we need somebody who's firm of purpose, who knows what they're doing and has a clear understanding" of the Brexit negotiations.

Boris Johnson revives £350m Brexit promise

Sky News

Boris Johnson
BBC

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the government wants to cut corporation tax so the UK has the most competitive business environment "anywhere, certainly in Western Europe".

He tells Sky News that to achieve £8bn investment in the NHS and put more police on the streets a strong government is needed.

When the Brexit negotiations are completed it will be possible to put some of the £350m a week that the UK pays into the EU back into the NHS, he says.

BBC responds to debate audience criticism

BBC assistant political editor tweets...

Listen: Cardiff's take on living standards

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

Meanwhile in Cardiff the Today programme has been visiting a bakery...they have been talking to staff about the cost of living, tax and austerity.

BBC's TV debate audience criticised

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith tweets...

Corbyn trying to 'exploit cracks in the Conservative campaign'

The Guardian

The Guardian's take on the seven-party debate reports Jeremy Corbyn's attacks on Amber Rudd "over the impact of the government’s spending cuts... as he sought to exploit the cracks in the Conservatives’ general election campaign with his last-minute decision to take part".

The article reads: "At the outset of the campaign, Corbyn’s spokesman suggested the choice on 8 June was about who would be Britain’s next prime minister, and a debate with other party leaders – and without May – would not help voters to make that decision.

But with the Conservatives’ poll lead narrowing, and May vulnerable on the issue of social care, Corbyn’s team believe the idea that May has ducked a debate will resonate with voters.

Home secretary's attacks on Labour leader

The Daily Telegraph

Reaction to last night's debate - and Theresa May's absence - leads in many of the papers.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd represented the Conservatives on the seven-party panel and the Telegraph focuses on her attacks on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"Amber Rudd accused Jeremy Corbyn of being good at 'defending the terrorists' and of believing in a 'magic money tree' as the pair clashed during a fiery election debate," the paper reports.

Its article also says Mr Corbyn accused UKIP leader Paul Nuttall of launching a "subliminal attack" on Muslims and SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson accused Mr Corbyn in turn of "aping UKIP over immigration".

Amber Rudd 'man-marked Corbyn'

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith says the home secretary effectively "man-marked" Jeremy Corbyn in last night's TV debate. He takes the football analogy a step further - comparing her role with that of legendary tough-tacklers Vinnie Jones (below) and, from an earlier era, Norman Hunter.

Vinnie Jones
BBC

Labour 'to deliver affordable rail fares'

BBC Breakfast

Andy McDonald
BBC

Labour proposes bringing rail operators back into public ownership and shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald says this will save passengers money on fares.

The cost of running rail franchises is "hundreds of millions of pounds", he tells BBC Breakfast, with money also going in dividends to the shareholders of the rail operating companies.

Savings in those areas would help deliver "fares that are affordable", he claims.

Turning to Wednesday night's debate, he says Theresa May's absence showed "contempt for the British public" while voters are "very much warming to the message" of Jeremy Corbyn.

The Conservatives are to focus on Brexit once again but Mr McDonald argues that Labour leader Mr Corbyn is the man to deliver in negotiations. "I've never known a more resilient character in my life," he says.

Mr Corbyn and Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer would treat EU nations as partners, contrasting with the "hectoring style" of the Conservatives, he adds.

Theresa May's debate absence 'a calculated risk'

BBC Breakfast

Leila Nathoo
BBC

BBC political correspondent Leila Nathoo says Wednesday night's BBC debate didn't feature "any knockout blows or any big stumbles" from the seven party figures who took part.

But what did stand out was "Theresa May's absence". Other parties said it "showed contempt for voters".

Leila tells BBC Breakfast that Mrs May's decision not to take part was "a calculated risk on her part to try and appear above the fray".

Home Secretary Amber Rudd appeared for the Conservatives and tried to present the other parties as "squabbling amongst themselves".

Thursday sees the parties return to familiar territory, with the Tories focusing on Brexit and Labour on rail fares, Leila adds.