When are the general election TV debates? Everything you need to know


There are several TV debates - one of which will see Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn go head to head (Picture: PA/Ben Cawthra)

TV debates have become par for the course in the run-up to any election and the December 12 general election is no exception.

A schedule of live debates across several different channels has already been drawn up and will see party leaders go head-to-head on some of the biggest issues faced by the UK.

Televised general election debates started in 2010, with Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg clashing in three shows.

In elections since then, the formats have varied and usually result in some kind of controversy over who should be invited to debate whom and with which broadcaster.

Televised election debates have become the norm yet usually cause controversy (Picture: PA)

In 2017, Theresa May refused to take part in a seven-way BBC debate, sending then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd instead.

This December might just be the busiest season of election debates we’ve seen in the UK.

So who’s taking on who, and when?

The Prime Ministerial Debate on ITV - November 19

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are set to go head-to-head in a televised debate broadcast on ITV and hosted by Julie Etchingham.

It will take place on Tuesday, November 19 at 8pm.

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The debate has already sparked controversy after the Liberal Democrats launched a legal challenge against ITV over its decision to exclude Jo Swinson from the debate.

When the broadcaster announced the debate, it said it would hold another programme to allow other parties to comment, as well as another multi-party debate, but Ms Swinson said it was wrong to exclude her.

Question Time Leaders’ Special - November 22

This special Question Time, aired on BBC One, will see leaders from the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and SNP take questions from a live audience in Sheffield on Friday, November 22.

As in previous years, there will be a special Question Time featuring the leaders (Picture: PA)

During the show, chaired by Fiona Bruce, Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon will take questions from the audience for 30 minutes.

The BBC has said there are also plans for other Question Time specials, including Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and one of the Green Party co-leaders Sian Berry or Jonathan Bartley.

Sky News Election Debate - November 28

Sky News will hold its election debate on Thursday, November 28.

It has included Jo Swinson, Boris Johnson, and Jeremy Corbyn, prompting a complaint from the SNP whose leader Nicola Sturgeon was not invited to take part.

The SNP has complained that Nicola Sturgeon has not been included in the Sky News debate on November 28 (Picture: Reuters)

BBC Election Debate - November 29

A “seven-way podium debate” between leaders and senior figures from the UK’s major parties will take place on Friday November 29, aired on BBC One.

The debate, which will be held in Cardiff, has been described as including “leaders or senior figures from the seven major GB political parties”.

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BBC Prime Ministerial Debate - December 6

Just days before polling day, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will face each other again for a Prime Ministerial Debate on the BBC in Southampton on Friday, December 6.

Their second showdown, broadcast on BBC One, will be hosted by Nick Robinson.

However, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and Plaid Cymru have complained at not being included in the planned Prime Ministerial Debate.

Jo Swinson has criticised a decision to leave her and other party leaders out of a BBC debate, saying the Liberal Democrats are being denied the opportunity to challenge Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit. (Picture: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson accused the BBC of being “complicit in another establishment stitch-up” because she was not selected to take part in the head-to-head debate.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the BBC’s decision to exclude the party from a key televised election debate is “senseless” and defies democracy.

Plaid Cymru said the decision is “absolutely disgraceful”, with the party’s candidate for the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr seat Jonathan Edwards adding: “Whether we’re talking about a blue Brexit or a red one, both Johnson and Corbyn are prepared to throw Wales under the bus.”

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Ms Swinson said: “Millions of people voted to Remain in 2016. After three years of chaos, it is shocking that the Liberal Democrats – the strongest party of Remain – are being denied the opportunity to challenge Johnson and Corbyn on Brexit.”

TV debates have become the norm (Picture: REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool)

Under-30s Question Time special - December 9

The last Question Time special before the election on December 12 will have an audience entirely made up of under-30s in an effort to focus on the younger generation.

Hosted by BBC 5 live’s Emma Barnett, the debate will take place on Monday, December 9, airing at 8.30pm on BBC1, BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and 5 Live.

Country Debates

The BBC will also host debates in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland featuring the main parties in each country.