Scotland politics

Holyrood election 2016: BBC Scotland to host televised party leader debates

Willie Rennie (Scottish Lib Dems); Patrick Harvie (Scottish Greens); Kezia Dugdale (Scottish Labour); Ruth Davidson (Scottish Tories); David Coburn (UKIP Scotland) and Nicola Sturgeon (SNP)
Image caption The first of the two BBC leader debates will feature [from top] Willie Rennie (Scottish Lib Dems); Patrick Harvie (Scottish Greens); Kezia Dugdale (Scottish Labour); Ruth Davidson (Scottish Tories); David Coburn (UKIP Scotland) and Nicola Sturgeon (SNP)

BBC Scotland will host two televised party leader debates as part of its Holyrood election coverage.

The first will take place on 24 March and the second will be broadcast on 1 May, days before the 5 May election.

The broadcaster is also commissioning a poll to find out about the issues that matter to the electorate.

In addition, the leaders of Scotland's main political parties will be quizzed on BBC Radio Scotland by presenters Gary Robertson and Kaye Adams.

Head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, Gary Smith, said: 'We are developing an in-depth and compelling range of content for our audiences across all our platforms.

"Voters are centre-stage and we'll be giving them all the breaking news and views from the campaign trails, as well as expert analysis on the issues that count, as they prepare to go to the polls."


What's the plan in detail?

  • First leaders' debate - It will take place at the BBC's Pacific Quay headquarters on Thursday, 24 March. It will be chaired by political correspondent Glenn Campbell in front of an audience of voters. In the spotlight will be Nicola Sturgeon (SNP); Kezia Dugdale (Scottish Labour); Ruth Davidson (Scottish Conservatives); Willie Rennie (Scottish Lib Dems); Patrick Harvie (Scottish Greens) and David Coburn (UKIP Scotland).
  • Second leaders' debate - It will take place on Sunday, 1 May, at a venue yet to be finalised in front of an audience of voters. The host will be Scotland editor Sarah Smith. She will put questions to Nicola Sturgeon (SNP); Kezia Dugdale (Scottish Labour); Ruth Davidson (Scottish Conservatives); Willie Rennie (Scottish Lib Dems) and Patrick Harvie (Scottish Greens).
  • BBC poll - The results of a specially-commissioned survey will be published during the campaign. It will focus on the issues that matter to the electorate.
  • Radio interviews - Good Morning Scotland's Gary Robertson will quiz each of the party leaders during the campaigning period. The politicians will also be answering the questions of listeners when they appear on the Kaye Adams programme. In addition, Good Morning Scotland will be touring the country to find out what matters locally.
  • Reporting Scotland - The weeknight programme will be extended to an hour from Monday 25 April, to cover the later stages of the election campaign.
  • Scotland 2016 - The late night BBC Two show will host a series of issue-based debates.
  • Sunday Politics - Broadcaster Gordon Brewer will explore with leaders the main talking points that emerge during the campaign.
  • Local debates - Radio Scotland will host a number of constituency debates in Shetland, Orkney, Aberdeenshire, Inverness, Dumfries, and Selkirk.
  • BBC Scotland news website - It will be the key destination for interviews, features and breaking news stories throughout the campaign. There will also be shareable content on social media that will engage and educate the audience.
  • BBC Alba - There will be election coverage in An Taghadh on 3 April. Further detail will feature in Radio Nan Gaidheal's news and current affairs programming, and on its online service.
  • Election night - Extensive coverage will take place across TV, radio and online.

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