Corbyn Campaign Threaten To Pull Out Of Sky News Debate Over Audience Balance ‘Concerns’

Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign is threatening to pull out of a Sky News TV debate with Owen Smith over concerns about audience ‘balance’, HuffPost UK can reveal.

An email from the Labour leader’s camp raised what it called “legitimate” questions about the allegiances of those taking part in the hustings due to be broadcast on Wednesday.

The memo, sent to SkyNews and Labour HQ, raises what it calls a potential “conflict of interest” in pollsters Survation being used to build the audience for the programme.

The Corbyn camp suspects that Survation is doing polling work for the Smith 2016 campaign and is demanding assurances that there will be scrupulous balance in the audience Sky debate.

Both SkyNews and Survation have offered such assurances, HuffPost UK has been told, but the Corbyn camp are demanding more clarity as the TV debate is the last in the Labour leadership race.

“It’s 50-50 at the moment as to whether we will take part,” one Corbyn source said, adding that it would be a “dealbreaker” if they continued to feel the audience was unrepresentative.

“We are still making the decision. There is still cause for concern and we don’t want to find out after the programme that we were proved right.”

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