A Channel 4 election debate on the economy has been scrapped, amid claims from the Labour Party that Chancellor Sajid Javid is “running scared”.

Labour suggested that Mr Javid refused to take part in the debate, proposed to take place this weekend, which shadow chancellor John McDonnell had agreed to.

Channel 4 said plans for the debate are “currently on hold” as it was “not possible to reach an agreement with all parties”.

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Mr McDonnell said: “Sajid Javid is running scared of debating with me and completely understandably, as the Tories are inventing silly figures which Labour would pull apart in a public debate.

“Clearly the Tories can’t even cost their own programme.

“Let me make it completely clear that the figures published by the Tories about Labour’s spending plans are fake news, and I reiterate that income tax rates under Labour won’t rise for 95 per cent of people, and that only the top five per cent would pay more.

“There will also be no VAT increases under Labour.”

A Channel 4 spokesman said: “Plans for a chancellors/economy debate are currently on hold as it was not possible to reach an agreement with all parties.

“If the situation does change, we would certainly explore options on how best to proceed.

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“We will be announcing our election plans in due course.”

Labour said the party has been informed that the proposed 90-minute set piece on Sunday November 17 has been shelved.

Mr Javid told Channel 4 News on Monday evening: “I understand that there’s discussions going on. I’m not going to pre-empt those, but it’s always good to have a robust discussion, and I’m happy to discuss with John McDonnell any time.”