General election 2019: No fireworks moment in Johnson and Corbyn debate

Laura Kuenssberg
Political editor
@bbclaurakon Twitter


For two politicians who pride themselves on telling it straight, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn were both markedly on their best behaviour tonight.

They didn't harangue each other, there was no heckling from the audience.

There was a wide range of subjects certainly, and profound disagreements - naturally.

But there was no moment that burst into fireworks. No massive gaffe on either side, or political car crash in the most public of forums.

They both stayed true to the tramlines that were long set out in this election.

For Boris Johnson, it was again and again making the case that the country can only move on if we leave the EU as soon as humanly possible.

For Jeremy Corbyn, the task was to pull the debate back as often as possible to the changes that nearly a decade of a squeeze on public spending has made to the fabric of millions of peoples lives.

To that end, it's likely that tonight they will have confirmed in their respective supporters minds, the reasons why they are the chosen candidate to run the country.

Even though there were no obvious shocks or surprises, tonight may well have mattered for the many voters who would have been watching who are yet to make their decision.

Those floating voters, yet to be convinced, are the ones who will decide the ultimate result.

But the pattern of this campaign, however, has been long set.

The Conservatives have been in front, Labour struggling to close the gap.

So tonight, for Boris Johnson's team, it was another hurdle they have crossed without a huge stumble.

For Jeremy Corbyn, another missed chance perhaps to make a break that didn't come.

Sixty minutes of important clashes with only six days to go didn't shake up the big picture of this election, which was sketched out weeks ago, leaving Labour with less and less time to make a difference.

That does not mean though for a second the Conservatives leave Maidstone tonight sure of a clean victory.

The margins are too tight, politics too unpredictable, there is still time to go, and the public too savvy to give their votes without a pause.

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