ES Views: Theresa May must change her mind over TV debates

Theresa May: Her bid for an early election was backed by MPs: Getty Images

Having announced a general election the Prime Minister has shown a willingness to reconsider her decisions. With this in mind she should do the same with regard to her refusal to take part in a TV debate with other party leaders.

It smacks of a certain arrogance or aloofness to not do so. It is important that she does participate because while I digest my newspaper from end to end, many younger people only get their news from Twitter and TV.

She clearly need have no fear of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn but she must put herself up for scrutiny on screen.

Mrs May has little to lose and much to gain by taking part. It will help to ensure that her “May Day” call is not an emergency one.
Barry Hyman

Terry Fesenko and Michael Parkin [Letters, April 19] repeat Lib-Dem leader Tim Farron’s absurd wish for a “young, pro-Remain, Lib-Dem” majority, which the ballot box consistently indicates does not exist.

In 2015, the UK elected a Tory Government with a manifesto pledge to hold an EU referendum, which the other parties denied was necessary. In 2016, the UK then voted for Brexit in that referendum. Why are we being asked to vote on both again in 2017?

If Theresa May has had to call this election because she has not got sufficient support in Parliament, despite acting according to the will of the people, that is shameful.

The Lib-Dems need to accept that re-running elections until you get the result you want is not democracy. It is political intimidation by a minority with a vested self-interest and I hope the British public will not be bullied into submission by such demands.
Peter Kenwright

In all honesty, it is probably a good thing for Jeremy Corbyn that Theresa May will be not be taking part in a televised general election debate.

In the majority of Prime Minister’s Questions sessions since May was elected by her party, she has been notoriously ruthless in smacking down the Labour leader. His lack of conviction in his questions is quite evident and time and again we have seen him fail to bring May to account.

The reality is that Corbyn is not equipped for this type of public battle and he should thank his lucky stars May won’t be involved.
B Clarke

Any party that does not want to be included in the televised leaders debates should be denied any airtime at all if they are not prepared to put their manifesto policies under “question and scrutiny” in front of a public audience.

TV debates can be a useful record of the pledges that political parties fail to fulfil.
P Cresswell


Face the music on marathon day

On Sunday, our band — which is made up entirely of volunteers — is getting up early along with about 45 other bands to play at the London Marathon. We will play for more than three hours, with no break to support the heroic runners in the event.

How disappointing it is then that there’s no mention of us or the other bands around the course on the London Marathon website. This would encourage spectators to come and enjoy what we do too, and hopefully add to the joy of their day.

We love doing it, of course, but for us it is also a musical marathon — we normally play for hours with a break, so we need support from spectators just like the runners do.

We will be on the Rotherhithe Roundabout at around Mile 11. We hope your readers will swing by and enjoy all of the bands dotted around the course this weekend, as well as the action on show.
Mary Sutherland, Alto sax, flute and piccolo, South London Jazz Orchestra


Developers on rely high house prices

Regardless of how liberal planning laws are, developers will cap their output at a level which does not lead to any significant falls in prices [Letters, April 18]. If they can sell new homes to wealthy overseas investors, then so much the better.

This is not a housing crisis — it has been deliberately engineered. After 1945 UK housing policy was to limit rents, protect tenants, cap house prices indirectly by capping mortgages at two-and-a-half times earnings and ensure a ready supply of social housing. This led to a rapid increase in owner-occupation, the nigh-extinction of the landlord class and a small and stable banking sector. This was eventually reversed.

London First may call for more houses to be built but the backers on its website — banks, large landowners and property developers — are the very people who will do anything to ensure that rents and prices in London stay sky-high.

These people know full well that simply building more homes in itself solves nothing.
Mark Wadsworth​, Young People’s Party


Our mental health is such a crucial issue

Prince Harry gave an interview earlier this week in which he spoke of his mental health following the death of his mother, Princess Diana, sharing that he had experienced two years of “complete chaos” and had been close to a breakdown before seeking counselling.

One in four of us will experience a mental-health issue at some point and every one of us knows someone who is experiencing one right now. It is not only vital that we are able to discuss our mental health openly but that everyone is able to access the treatment that will help.

That is why I am delighted that Sadiq Khan is planning a campaign to break down the stigma of mental illness and improve the availability of information and support for all Londoners — but I will also be asking him to ensure the Government delivers the resources required to make a real difference.
Dr Onkar Sahota, Labour’s London Assembly health spokesperson

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