Prime Minister Theresa May has been labelled "weak and wobbly" after it was confirmed she would not take part in live televised debates.

Instead, it has been announced that Home Secretary Amber Rudd will fly the flag for the Conservatives as they square off against the six other parties on the BBC.

May has repeatedly insisted she would not take part in debates throughout the general election campaign – insisting she would prefer to meet the voters face to face – but has faced fresh accusations of showing contempt for those voters when final confirmation of her refusal to take part was received.

"Arrogance of cowardice on Theresa May's part?" Kaycee wrote on Twitter. "Infuriating. How do people not see through this 'strong and stable' rubbish?"

Garrie Coleman said: "Good job she doesn't keep saying she's the best person to represent the UK for Brexit when she can't even represent herself."

Jillette Blue added: "Please miss, I have a letter from mum saying I can be excused from BBC general election debate because I'm weak and wobbly."

The debate will take place on Wednesday (31 May) at 7.30pm GMT and with days to go, Labour have yet to confirm who their representative will be.

As Labour dramatically closed the gap in the polls, Jeremy Corbyn faced calls to take part in the debate, but aides have indicated in the past he would only join in if the prime minister was also present.

Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats, Paul Nuttall of Ukip, Leane Wood of Plaid Cymru, Caroline Lucas of the Green Party and Angus Robertson of the Scottish National Party will represent their respective parties at the debates.

In separate televised interviews, May and Corbyn will be questioned by Jeremy Paxman and members of the audience live on Channel 4 and Sky News on Monday (29 May) at 8.30pm GMT.

Amber Rudd
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd leaves the weekly meeting of the cabinet at 10 Downing Street Glyn Kirk/AFP