General Election latest: Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn to take part in head-to-head BBC debate

Ellena Cruse

The BBC has announced it is to host a head-to-head Prime Ministerial debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn in the run-up to the general election.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has been left out of that clash on December 6 – which follows a similar decision from ITV – but she will be included in a seven-way podium debate on November 29 between leaders or senior figures from seven major British parties including The Brexit Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP.

The broadcaster’s December 6th debate between the Tory and Labour leaders will be hosted by journalist Nick Robinson from Southampton.

Responding to the announcement Ms Swinson accused the BBC of being complicit in a stitch-up to exclude the “Remain voice”.

She said: “The BBC are now complicit in another establishment stitch up to shut down debate on the most important issue for generations: Brexit.

“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.”

She added that her party will pursue all options, including legal action, to ensure that “our voice is heard in televised leaders’ debates”.

“It should not be in the gift of any political party to decide whether the public deserve the opportunity to scrutinise those who seek to lead this country,” Ms Swinson said.

“That is why TV debates should be mandatory, and the format should be decided by an independent commission.”

A special two-hour long version of Question Time will be broadcast on Friday, November 22 where, across two hours, Mr Johnson, Mr Corbyn, Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon and Ms Swinson will each take questions from the audience for 30 minutes.

A debate aimed at voters under 30 will also be aired, and the BBC will host debates in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland featuring the main parties in each country.

The Lib Dems are also threatening legal action over ITV’s decision, saying Ms Swinson should be included in the debate to face Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn.