First televised General Election debate to take place next week between Scots leaders

Scotland's political leaders are set to face-off in the first televised debate of the 2024 General Election next week.

First Minister and SNP leader John Swinney, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Lib Dems – will debate the key issues facing the country on STV on Monday, June 3.

STV’s Political Editor, Colin Mackay, will host the 90-minute programme from the broadcaster’s Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow. Mackay will first question the leaders before they cross-examine each other.

Following the debate, Scotland Tonight presenter Rona Dougall will be joined by a panel of guests to provide instant reaction and analysis.

The STV Leaders’ Debate is the first of two televised debates airing on STV next week. A head-to-head between Rishi Sunak, leader of the Conservative Party, and Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, will follow at 9pm on Tuesday, June 4.

Linda Grimes Douglas, Head of News & Current Affairs at STV, said: “Ahead of major votes like the forthcoming General Election, we know many viewers value having the opportunity to hear political leaders set out their plans for the country and debate the issues that matter most to the electorate.

“STV is pleased to be broadcasting the first leaders’ debate of the election campaign. An in-depth and robust head-to-head, it will likely set the agenda for the coming weeks in Scotland.”

It comes after it was confirmed Sunak and Starmer would face-off on STV/ITV on Tuesday. There are a number of debates set to take place ahead of the election on July 4. But despite the SNP winning the third most MPs at the previous general election in 2019 there will be no place for John Swinney at the debate.

First Minister of Scotland John Swinney and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar -Credit:Getty Images
First Minister of Scotland John Swinney and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar -Credit:Getty Images

The First Minister branded the decision "ridiculous" and said that his party would be arguing its case with broadcasters.

"I think it’s ridiculous that the third party in UK politics has been excluded from the debates that are being taken forward," he said. "We’re making strenuous representations to the broadcasters about that point and we’ll continue to do so."

The STV Leaders’ Debate airs on Monday 3 June at 9pm on STV and STV Player.

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