#BorisTheCoward trends as prime minister chickens out of climate debate

Boris Johnson made a pledge to increase government spending at the launch of his party's manifesto which will include 'the biggest ever cash boost to the NHS'

Leading Liberal Democrat Chuka Umunna has launched a stinging attack on Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, accusing the pair of racism. It's a fact that has triggered many on social media, critical of the BBC airing interviews, knowing full well that they were still in discussions to seal his participation - confirmed in a tweet on Wednesday.

The UK's Channel 4 hosts a debate today that will focus on climate change ahead of the December 12 election.

Jeremy Corbyn has decided not to take part in two television debates this week, it has emerged, in the wake of his disastrous interview with Andrew Neil on BBC One.

The broadcaster announced two more face-to-face interviews in which Jo Swinson and Nigel Farage would star with Neil.

"The public will be looking to see who among the party leaders understands the gravity of the situation and has the policies and conviction to tackle it".

Speaking in Watford, Mr Umunna said he was not surprised by the "squeeze" the Lib Dems had received in the polls, but insisted voting for the party was the only way to stop a Tory majority.

Although neither Mr Corbyn nor Mr Johnson will feature in the BBC's seven-way debate on Friday, Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon will both appear. "The invitation to Boris Johnson remains open".

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The Conservative party is not sending any other minister to represent them at Thursday night's Channel 4 climate debate.

Plaid leader Cymru Adam Price, former Green Party leader and Brighton Pavilion Green candidate Caroline Lucas, and Brexit Party President Richard Tice are also expected to attend.

The BBC said the debate will be broadcast live from Cardiff and the format will see each of the panellists make short opening statements, which will then be followed by questions and debate.

The PM has stated he is not going to take take part in any debates with Ms Sturgeon within the run as much as December 12 on the grounds that she shouldn't be standing to be an MP.

At the end of the debate, all representatives will have the opportunity to make brief closing statements.

A peak audience of 4.6 million watched Mr Johnson, Mr Corbyn, Ms Swinson and Ms Sturgeon face a barrage of hostile questioning on the BBC's Question Time special on November 22.

Some 6.7 million people tuned into the first two-way leaders' debate on ITV on November 19.

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