BBC announces dates for election TV debates

An image showing a black and white photo of Fiona Bruce, Mishal Husain, Nick Robinson and Sophie Raworth against a coloured background
[BBC]

The BBC has announced its line-up of televised general election debates, which will start next week and include what is likely to be the final head-to-head clash between Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer before polling day.

The series of programmes will begin on Friday 7 June, with a show involving seven-parties hosted by Mishal Husain.

Then, on 20 June, the leaders of the country's four biggest political parties will be involved in a two-hour Question Time programme presented by Fiona Bruce. Sophie Raworth will moderate a debate between the prime minister and Labour's leader on 26 June.

There will be additional dedicated debates in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

Nick Robinson has also invited each of the leaders of the seven biggest political parties to be interviewed for Panorama specials across the next four weeks.

All of the programmes will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC News, local radio across the country and will be available on BBC iPlayer. There will also be full live online coverage.

The election takes place on 4 July.

The BBC's debates line-up during the campaign will be as follows:

National

  • Seven-party debate: Friday 7 June, London - Mishal Husain will moderate a debate between leading figures from the seven biggest political parties in Great Britain. It will be broadcast from 19:30-21:00

  • Question Time Leaders' Special: Thursday 20 June, York - Fiona Bruce will present the show involving leaders of the four biggest political parties in Great Britain, broadcast from 20:00-22:00

  • Head-to-head debate: Wednesday 26 June, Nottingham - Sophie Raworth will host the event involving Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer. This is set to be the last TV debate of the election campaign and will be broadcast from 21:00-22:00

Scotland, Wales and NI

Debates have also been scheduled in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

  • Scotland Election 2024 Leaders' Special: Tuesday 11 June - Stephen Jardine will chair a debate featuring the leaders of the five Scottish parties. They will appear in front of a live audience on BBC One Scotland from 20:00-21:00

  • Wales Leaders' Debate live: Friday 21 June - Bethan Rhys Roberts will host a debate programme in Cardiff from 19:00 on BBC One Wales with the leaders of the main parties in Wales

  • Northern Ireland Leaders' Debate: Thursday 27 June - Tara Mills will preside over a debate featuring the main party leaders in Northern Ireland, broadcast on BBC One Northern Ireland

BBC News deputy chief executive Jonathan Munro, said: "TV debates have become a key part of elections in the UK, giving voters the chance to hear leaders and senior politicians debate policies and ideas directly with each other, which rarely happens on the campaign trail."

He said providing a shared space for people to debate and discuss "is a vital part of our mission".

The party representatives for the BBC's seven-handed debate have not yet been announced. But it will take place in front of an audience which reflects the broad electoral map of Great Britain.

They will ask questions and the BBC will also ask members of the public to submit questions via the corporation's website.

The seven parties taking part are the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, and Reform UK.

For the Question Time Leaders’ Special, Plaid, the Green Party and Reform will not be taking part.

The leader of the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP will answer questions from the studio audience for 30 minutes each.

Banner showing 'general election 2024'
[BBC]

The final debate will be a head-to-head between PM Mr Sunak and the leader of the opposition Sir Keir, in front of a studio audience.

On Tuesday, ITV 's Julie Etchingham will host the first major election debate from 21:00 BST, between Mr Sunak and Sir Keir.

ITV says the programme will be followed immediately by a series of interviews with party leaders, presented by Anushka Asthana. The Lib Dems, SNP, Reform UK and the Green Party have been invited to take part, while an interview with the leader of Plaid Cymru will be aired in Wales.

ITV has also announced that a multi-party debate will take place on 13 June at 20:30.

More information about the BBC’s approach to debates during the election period is available by clicking here.