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Here's What We Learned From Theresa May And Jeremy Corbyn's "Battle For Number 10" Show

A rather weird debate in which Jeremy Paxman somehow managed to come third.

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1. A lot of people were surprised by just how well Jeremy Corbyn came across, as opposed to, uh, Jeremy Paxman.

Basically how this 'debate' is going #BattleForNumber10

Corbyn seemed particularly relaxed during the first section of the show, in which he answered questions from the audience, and he sustained this affable manner in the face of a veritable onslaught from Paxman, who – whisper it – may just have lost some of his interviewing mojo.

Most of the jokes in the first half were reserved for the veteran interviewer's hectoring style.

me: i really like pringles [jeremy paxman crashes through the window] JP: IN 2014 WHEN OFFERED A CRISP BY A FRIEND YOU REFUSED

Paxman: Tell me about Brexit Corbyn: I Paxman: I'M ASKING A SIMPLE QUESTION Corbyn: Can I fini Paxman: NO

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2. Honestly, compared to initial expectations, Corbyn aced it and Paxman blew it ~this much~.

I may not agree with @jeremycorbyn but he came across as being totally sincere. Paxman didn't score any goals .

Bloody hell.

3. However, the question of Corbyn's links to the IRA won't go away any time soon.

An audience member insists that Jeremy Corbyn "openly supported the IRA in the past" #BattleForNumber10

The Labour leader stuck to his line that he simply wanted a peace process, and described the Good Friday agreement as a "model".

However, an audience member attacked Corbyn for attending a service that he said was in honour of "all those" killed in the Troubles – but one contemporaneous press report shared by Conservative-supporting users appeared to suggest otherwise.

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4. Corbyn says immigration definitely won't go up under Labour, but won't say if it'll go down.

Jeremy Corbyn says he wants "managed migration", but refuses to state an immigration figure #BattleForNumber10

He talked about the issue of low-paid immigrants undercutting British workers, but also mounted a strong defence of immigration, saying: "If people hadn’t migrated to this country, we would have a much worse health service, education system, and transport system than we have." Will this message cut through to voters?

5. It's still rather unclear whether Corbyn would use nuclear weapons.

Jeremy Paxman asks Jeremy Corbyn six times if he thinks it's "morally right" to renew Trident #BattleForNumber10

Corbyn was asked by Paxman if he would write letters of "last resort" to Trident commanders, and responded by saying he would write "the appropriate letters", adding that the submarine commanders are "very loyal".

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Corbyn on Trident letters: "I would write the appropriate letter." Quite easy to suggest he's dodging that. Could just be a note to say hi.

6. Corbyn was asked a lot about the fact he doesn't agree with his own manifesto.

However, he was, to coin a phrase, Mr. Zen. He was asked why there was nothing in there about getting rid of the monarchy: "There is nothing in there because we are not going to do it," he replied, adding that he'd had a nice chat with the Queen. He was also relaxed about the fact he'd once said the banks should be in public ownership – the manifesto was agreed by the party, he replied.

Possibly the only point in the interview where he seemed truly unseated was when Paxman asked why, during the Falklands war, he'd described it as "a Tory plot". Corbyn replied that he'd wanted a "negotiated solution".

Paxo sounding like an analogue interviewer in the digital age. Not landing any punches on Corbyn at all. #BattleForNumber10

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7. Theresa May did OK.

That standing ovation in full #BattleForNumber10

At least this guy thought so, anyway.

8. Though she struggled to defend police cuts.

"As a police officer I have been witness to the devastating effects of police cuts in your time as Home Secretary"… https://t.co/FkwQY6SJ0o

May was forced to admit there are 20,000 fewer police than in 2010, though she did point out the government had protected counter-terrorism budgets.

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9. She also struggled to defend the "dementia tax".

An audience member says he fears the outcome of Theresa May's so-called "dementia tax" #BattleForNumber10

An older member of the audience said he was worried about not being able to leave his home to his children. May told him that the care system would have to be addressed, or it would collapse. She said there would be a cap on what people would have to spend, but declined to say how much, for now.

Her answer impressed some people...

May better on "Dementia Tax": there will be a cap on costs for social care, PM now (finally) talking about a Green Paper and listening.

But not others. Including the audience member.

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Audience member who asked May about "dementia tax": "She answered the question well from her point of view but less well from mine" @SkyNews

10. She did get laughed at a bit.

Never has a snapchat filter been so fitting #BattleForNumber10 🤹🏻‍♀️🤡

When asked to confirm that funding for schools in real terms would go down, she responded with an answer Sir Humphrey would have struggled to better: She replied no party could confirm funding would go up, to hoots of derision from the audience.

She also didn't have much of an answer when Paxman pointed out she had backed down recently over both social care and national insurance.

"If I was in Brussels, I would think you are a blowhard who collapses at the first sign of gunfire," he added, to another chorus of laughter.

That said, for the most part her appearance was very, very dull indeed. Mesmerisingly so. She repeated most of the lines we've heard before: On Brexit, we're not going to be told what she considers a fair deal to leave the EU, but no deal would be better than a bad deal.

And not everyone was impressed by her answer on the NHS.

❤️ this guy "Bollox, that's Bollox!" #BattleForNumber10

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11. Both leaders came away with points.

Tonight confirmed what we already knew - Corbyn vulnerable on his own past. May vulnerable on her party's policies for the future.

Pretty good for Corbyn, but sticky patch on foreign policy/security. Dull but solid for May, especially on Brexit. Not sure it changes much

12. Corbyn's still going to call May a chicken for not doing a proper debate with him.

Well, at least there is one Jeremy that @Theresa_May isn't too scared to debate #BattleForNumber10

13. And however interesting it was, it's unlikely to make a blind bit of difference to the election result.

This isn't trending on Facebook. Nobody normal is watching this. #BattleForNumber10

Still, there were worse things to watch on a Monday night.

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

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