Theresa May criticised for missing TV election debate

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Theresa May's decision to miss a major television debate came under fire after Jeremy Corbyn's surprise decision to take part in the seven-way showdown.

The Prime Minister was understood to be catching up on government business as Home Secretary Amber Rudd was sent out to represent the Tories in the BBC debate.

Ahead of the broadcast Mr Corbyn said the PM's refusal to take part was a "sign of weakness" but Mrs May - who has declined all invitations to head-to-head debates during the General Election campaign - said she wanted to speak directly to voters and answer their questions rather than "squabbling" with other party leaders.

Alongside Labour leader Mr Corbyn and Ms Rudd on the stage in Cambridge were Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, Ukip's Paul Nuttall, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru and Scottish National Party depute leader Angus Robertson.

Ms Wood opened the debate with an attack on the Prime Minister: "Theresa May called this election because she is taking you for granted. She won't turn up to these debates because her campaign of soundbites is falling apart."

She added that Labour in Wales was "airbrushing" Mr Corbyn out of its campaign and pleaded with voters to give her a mandate to represent the Welsh.