Keir Starmer And Rishi Sunak Agree Date Of First General Election TV Debate

The Labour leader and prime minister will go head-to-head on June 4 on ITV.

Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak will take part in a head-to-head debate on ITV on June 4, the broadcaster has announced.

The Labour leader and prime minister will face each other in the first televised debate of the campaign at 9pm on Tuesday.

It will last an hour and be be moderated by Julie Etchingham, who took on the same role at debates in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

The Conservatives were reported to have wanted one debate for every week of the six week long campaign.

It seems more likely Labour will agree to just two direct head-to-head clashes, one on the BBC and one on ITV.

Michael Jermey, ITV’s Director of News and Current Affairs said: “Millions of viewers value the election debates.

“They provide a chance to see and hear the party leaders set out their pitch to the country, debate directly with each other and take questions from voters.

“ITV is pleased to be broadcasting the first debate in this year’s election campaign.”

There is no law that requires Sunak, Starmer or other party leaders to take part in debates.

But the prime minister did go head-to-head Liz Truss in his losing 2022 Tory leadership campaign.

General election TV debates first took place in 2010, which saw Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg capture the limelight.

In 2019 there were - for the first time - two head-to-head debates between the PM and Opposition leader, with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn facing-off.

The first clash drew an average audience of 6.7 million viewers - a third of the British TV audience.

Theresa May infamously ducked the debates during her disastrous 2017 campaign, sending then-home secretary Amber Rudd in her place.

While in 2015, David Cameron featured in one debate with other party leaders.


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