When is the next UK general election TV debate?

The general election debates are underway ahead of the 4 July poll.

Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak faced a grilling on the Sky News debate on Wednesday. (PA)
Sir Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak faced a grilling on the Sky News debate on Wednesday. (PA)

The next general election debate will take place on Thursday 13 June, featuring leaders and representatives of the country’s main parties.

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer took part in a Sky News grilling on Wednesday night – but they departed from the head-to-head style of their first debate of the election campaign.

It was noted for moments including Starmer being accused of being a “political robot” by an audience members and Sunak saying that he ate Haribos and Twixes when asked to name something likeable about himself.

According to a snap YouGov poll, 64% of people watching said Starmer performed better in the debate, while just 36% said it was Sunak, who at times appeared deflated.

The debates will return on ITV on Thursday night, with Nigel Farage once again batting for Reform UK along with the major UK parties contesting the 4 July poll.

The last seven-way debate was on the BBC, in which Sunak and Starmer were replaced by Commons leader Penny Mordaunt and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner respectively.


There will be a multi-party debate on ITV at 8.30pm on Thursday 13 June, featuring leaders or senior representatives from the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Reform UK, the Greens and Plaid Cymru.

Moderated by Julie Etchingham, the debate will include Penny Mordaunt for the Conservatives, Angela Rayner for Labour, Daisy Cooper for Liberal Democrats, Stephen Flynn for SNP, Nigel Farage for Reform UK, Carla Denyer for Green Party and Rhun ap Iorwerth for Plaid Cymru.

(left-right) Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, leader of Plaid Cymru Rhun ap Iorwerth, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper, Stephen Flynn of the SNP, co-leader of the Green Party Carla Denyer, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, take part in the BBC Election Debate hosted by BBC news presenter Mishal Husain (front), at BBC Broadcasting House in London, ahead of the General Election on July 4. Picture date: Friday June 7, 2024. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
There was a seven-party debate on BBC on Friday 7 June. (PA)

The debate in Salford will be presented by Julie Etchingham, who moderated the first clash between Sunak and Starmer.

Then, on Thursday 20 June, there will be a Question Time Leaders' Special on BBC, in which Fiona Bruce will present a programme featuring the leaders of the four biggest political parties – the Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP – broadcast between 8pm and 10pm.

Starmer has confirmed he will take part, while Sunak, Sir Ed Davey and John Swinney have also been invited.

On Wednesday 26 June, just eight days before the general election, Sunak and Starmer will go head-to-head for the final time in Nottingham, in a debate from 9pm to 10pm hosted by Mishal Husain, who is replacing Sophie Raworth after she pulled out after fracturing her ankle.

Sky News has also announced a Leader’s Special Event on 4 July – the day of the general election. Starmer has agreed to travel to key target town Grimsby to answer voters’ questions. Negotiations are ongoing with Sunak to attend.

Viewers will be able to watch the ITV debates on ITV1 and STV. The debates will also be streamed on ITVX and STV Player.

The BBC debates will be available to watch live on BBC One and BBC News in the UK. It will also be on local radio across the country, available on BBC iPlayer and there will be full live online coverage.

Debates on Sky will be available to watch on YouTube, via the Sky News website and app and on Freeview (channel 233), Sky (channel 501), Virgin (channel 603) and BT (channel 313).

According to YouGov, 81% of voters who said there should be at least one debate believe that other party leaders should be included with Sunak and Starmer.

Polling shows voters would prefer an election debate involving other leaders. (YouGov)
Polling shows voters would prefer an election debate involving other leaders. (YouGov)

Some 63% of of those said that Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey should be included, while 44% said Reform UK leader Richard Tice should also be involved – although he has now been succeeded by Nigel Farage as leader.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, left, and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a head to head live Election Debate at the BBC TV studios in Maidstone, England, Friday Dec. 6, 2019. Britain's Brexit is one of the main issues for political parties and for voters, as the UK prepares for a General Election on Dec. 12. The debate is moderated by TV presenter Nick Robinson, right. ( Jeff Overs/BBC via AP)
Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson faced off against each other in a head-to-head debate during the 2019 election campaign. (AP)

In 2019, one head-to-head debate was held between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, covering issues including Brexit and the NHS.

That debate in November 2019 attracted an average audience of 6.7 million viewers to ITV – constituting a third of the British TV audience, including about one million viewers aged 16 to 34.

According to YouGov, the public thought there was no clear winner in the debate, with Johnson polling at 51% and Corbyn at 49%.

Other debates took place featuring key party figures - with Sunak actually appearing in one in December that year.

Before that, in the run-up to the 2017 election, prime minister Theresa May ruled out taking part in television debates. Two leaders’ debates took place between other party leaders with the Labour leader Corbyn, declining to take part in one but agreeing to the other. In the second, the Conservative Party sent the then home secretary, Amber Rudd.