Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have agreed to a live TV debate on Brexit but are clashing over which channel should host it.
Downing Street said it had accepted a proposal which would see a debate over Mrs May’s Brexit withdrawal deal screened on the BBC at 8pm on Sunday 9 December – two days before a crunch vote in the Commons.
But a Labour spokesman said discussions were still ongoing and Sky News understands the party is still “unhappy” about some of the arrangements.
The Labour leader said earlier that he had agreed to the proposal being offered by rival ITV but not the format being offered by the BBC.
Earlier in the week, Mr Corbyn had said through a party spokesman that he would “relish” the opportunity to debate with the prime minister about her “botched Brexit deal and the future of our country”.
But his preference for the ITV format is said to be due to the different time slot being offered – one that would not clash with I’m A Celebrity.
Speaking on the channel, he said their offer “seemed a sensible one…the timing seemed good”.
Sky News has been campaigning for leaders’ election debates to be overseen by an independent panel and our petition has gained more than 100,000 signatures.
The BBC says it was “delighted” to hear that Mrs May had agreed to the debate and that they “hope to hear soon” from the Labour Party.
An ITV spokesperson said both Mrs May and Mr Corbyn had been invited to take part in a debate on their channel but: “As always, it is up to those invited to decide whether they want to accept the invitation.”
It is not clear what format the debate would take but Sky News understands that the two party leaders would be “head-to-head, but with a small panel involved”.
Mrs May has embarked on a PR blitz over the next two weeks in a last-ditch attempt to win support from MPs for her Brexit deal that was backed by European leaders.
She is also expected to make a speech on 11 December, before MPs vote on the deal.
But she faces an uphill battle to get approval from MPs, with stiff opposition from all sides of the house, including at least 80 of her own backbenchers.
Mrs May has warned them that if they reject her deal, there will be “more division and uncertainty”.