Election 2019

General Election 2019: First head-to-head debate on 19 November

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are among the candidates competing to be prime minister

The first head-to-head election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will take place on 19 November.

It will be shown on ITV and hosted by news presenter Julie Etchingham.

The channel said it also plans to hold a multi-party debate in the run-up to the 12 December poll.

On Thursday, Labour leader Mr Corbyn challenged the PM to a one-on-one debate, while Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said she should take part in a three-headed encounter with the two leaders.

Mr Corbyn welcomed ITV's announcement on Twitter, claiming Mr Johnson had "accepted our challenge" for the "once in a generation election".

But pro-Remain parties are not happy, with the Lib Dems criticising the line-up as a "cosy establishment stitch-up" and the SNP saying it would be "deeply misleading for viewers".

After the main event, ITV said it would hold a live interview-based programme to allow other parties to comment on the debate.

The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Brexit Party, Scottish National Party and the Green Party will all be represented.

In a later multi-party debate, the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, Brexit Party and Plaid Cymru will take part, represented by either their leader or "another senior figure".

'Undemocratic'

ITV said Northern Ireland and Wales would have their own debates specifically for the nations, while STV - which broadcasts to parts of Scotland - plans to hold its own debate with Scottish candidates.

The SNP said it should be included in the principal debate since it could very well hold the balance of power in a Hung Parliament.

"This debate ignores the half of the population who voted remain and want to see the UK stay in the EU and the majority in Scotland who support independence," said the party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

"UK politics has long stopped being a choice between two tired old parties."

And Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna said the format was "undemocratic and wrong".

Political leaders' TV debates have featured in the last three general elections in 2010, 2015 and 2017.

But in 2017, the then-Conservative Party leader and PM Theresa May declined to take part, saying she preferred "to get out and about and meet voters".

The then-Home Secretary Amber Rudd stood in for her during a BBC debate.