Just hours after Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn issued a challenge to Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron to take him on annually in a “State of The Nation” debate, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader has issued his own challenge back at Mr. Corbyn.
It has been nearly two years since Mr. Farage defeated then-Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in a European Union (EU) membership debate ahead of the EU elections in 2014.
Now Mr. Farage has turned his guns to the new Labour leader, Mr. Corbyn, tweeting this morning: “If you are really serious about engaging the public Mr. Corbyn, what about debating me on EU membership?”
If you are really serious about engaging the public Mr. Corbyn, what about debating me on EU membership? https://t.co/zdMErRiKH3
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 29, 2015
His challenge also seemed to excite Westminster insiders like pollster, Tory donor and author Lord Ashcroft, who tweeted: “So
@Nigel_Farage has challenged @jeremycorbyn to a televised debate on the European Union. I’m for that…”
— Lord Ashcroft (@LordAshcroft) December 29, 2015
If the debate goes ahead, Mr. Corbyn can expect to answer Mr. Farage on the question of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which both left and right wing voters are concerned will hand even more power to the European Union, especially in areas such as the National Health Service.
Earlier this year, Mr. Farage asked Mr. Corbyn to join him on stage at anti-EU rallies, given the new Labour leader’s history of mild Euroscepticism. But since Mr. Corbyn took on the Labour Party leadership, he has shed this anti-establishment viewpoint in order to kowtow to the political establishment and his overwhelmingly pro-EU Members of Parliament.
Mr. Corbyn’s battle to remain relevant will no doubt hot up in the new year as Britain’s European Union membership referendum becomes the big talking point of both national and pan-European politics. As it stands, the biggest players include the pro-EU Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron, and the anti-EU firebrand, Mr. Farage.