What time is the ITV Election Debate tonight, and who is taking part?

Hannah Daly
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Green Party Co-Leader Sian Berry, before the start of the Channel 4 News' General Election climate debate. - Getty Images Europe

Tonight, the second ITV election debate is set to take place, with Julie Etchingham expected to host the two hour live programme to which seven parties in the general election campaign have been invited. 

Head-to-head battles and multi-party TV debates play a significant role in the build up to political events and this general election is no different, as a range of live TV events are set to take place ahead of the Dec 12 vote. 

Here is everything you need to know about the general election TV coverage, including where and when you can see party leaders discuss the important topics.

When are the general election debates and what TV channel are they on?

The first head-to-head debate on Nov 19 took place on ITV, followed by Thursday night's climate change debate on Channel 4.

Earlier this month, Sky News proposed a general election debate between the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders for Nov 28. However, the broadcaster was unable to secure agreement from Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn and therefore made the decision to cancel the TV event. 

Meanwhile, ITV will air its second general election debate tonight, Dec 1. The seven main political parties have all been invited to attend the two hour TV event. 

On Friday night, the first BBC election debate took place, with the second to be held on Dec 6. There will also be a Question Time special for under-30s on Dec 9.

What time do the general election TV debates start?

  1. The ITV Election Debate, Sunday Dec 1, 7pm (ITV)
  2. The BBC Prime Ministerial Debate, Friday Dec 6, 8.30pm (BBC One)
  3. BBC Question Time special for under-30s, Monday Dec 9, 8:30pm (BBC One)

What happened in the Johnson v Corbyn ITV debate?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn took part in the first televised party leaders' debate last week.

Hosted by Julie Etchingham, the ITV special marked the first time since 2015 that both the Labour and Conservative party leaders have taken part in a TV debate. 

Mr Corbyn was mocked over his Brexit policy by a live television audience, after he refused to say whether he thought Britain should leave the EU or remain. Mr Johnson, meanwhile, faced criticism over the issue of truthfulness.

According to a snap poll by YouGov, 51 per cent of viewers thought the Prime Minister performed better than Mr Corbyn.

Who will take part in the next ITV general election debate?

Following the head-to-head Johnson v Corbyn debate, ITV has confirmed a second general election debate for Dec 1. 

The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens and Brexit Party have all been invited to take part, with Julie Etchingham set to host the two hour TV programme. 

Who will take part in the BBC debates?

At the start of November, the BBC unveiled plans to hold 10 special election programmes in the space of three weeks, including a seven-way podium debate between senior figures from the major political parties tonight, Nov 29, live from Cardiff.

Mr Corbyn was set to join the other party leaders at the BBC Election Debate on Nov 29, but Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, took his place. Mr Johnson did not take part either, sending instead the Conservative Party's chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak.

Less than a week before polling day, Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn are expected to take part in the BBC Prime Ministerial Debate in Southampton on Dec 6. BBC Radio 4's Today presenter Nick Robinson will be chairing this head-to-head debate, as well as the seven-way podium event.

Emma Barnett is also set to host a special edition of Question Time on Monday Dec 9, where an audience of under-30s will question senior figures from each of the main parties. 

Prior to these events, last week, a BBC Question Time special took place on BBC One. Live from Sheffield, the programme saw leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrat parties each answer questions from the audience for 30 minutes. 

Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, and Jonathan Bartley, the Green Party co-leader, had the opportunity to discuss their views in two separate Question Time specials. 

What happened in the Channel 4 climate change debate?

All party leaders except Boris Johnson took part in Channel 4's climate change debate.

The Prime Minister declined to take part in the debate, but it was understood that the Conservatives instead put forward Michael Gove. However, the broadcaster said that the former Environmental Secretary was not welcome on the basis that it was a leaders' event.

Mr Johnson was instead represented by a melting ice sculpture of  a globe in what the Conservatives deemed “a provocative partisan stunt”.

The Conservative Party made a formal complaint to Ofcom on Thursday night alleging Channel 4 breached the Broadcasting Code by  refusing to allow Mr Gove to take part in the debate.

Will any more general election TV debates be announced?

So far, ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC have confirmed their plans to hold general election TV debates.  

In addition to the main coverage, a live debate took place on BBC Wales on Tuesday Nov 26, with another to follow on Tuesday Dec 3.

BBC Scotland is set to broadcast its Scotland Leaders debate live from Glasgow on Tuesday Dec 10 and on the same night at 10.45pm, Northern Ireland party leaders will be debating in front of a studio audience.