ITV to hold live TV debate ahead of general election

SNP's Westminster leader Angus Robertson broke the news to Theresa May – but will the Prime Minister take part?

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ITV are to hold a live leaders debate ahead of Theresa May’s snap election on 8th June. 

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It is as yet unclear whether the Prime Minister will take part, after stating as early as this morning that she would refrain from participating in any televised debate.

News of the ITV debate was broken by the SNP’s deputy leader Angus Robertson during Prime Ministers Questions earlier today. 

An official statement from the broadcaster confirmed: “ITV will hold a leaders’ debate as we did in 2010 and 2015. We will announce more details in due course.”

ITV newsreader Julie Etchingham will host and the one-off is anticipated to take place some time in early May. 

Prime Minister May told Radio 4’s Today programme earlier that she would not be taking part in any televised debates, informing presenter Nick Robinson that she preferred “to get out and about and meet voters”.

It is not yet clear whether ITV – and other broadcasters who choose to host debates – will “empty chair” May if she remains a no-show. 

UK party leaders first took part in televised debates back in 2010 when Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg clashed during three live broadcasts ahead of the general election.

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A selection of senior politicians – including Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon – lined up once again in the run up to the 2015 election, while many more took part in EU Referendum debates organised by a series of media outlets last year.