The ITV Leaders’ Election Debate: everything you need to know about how it works

When is the debate on, who's taking part and who's in the audience? Which leader is behind which podium, and do they get to hear the questions beforehand?

When is it?

Tonight, Thursday 2nd April, 8pm-10pm


How can I watch it?

On ITV, the ITV Player website or ITV Player apps on your phone.

Who is taking part?

The leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru, Green Party and United Kingdom Independence Party. Here’s a who’s who.

Who is moderating?

Julie Etchingham from ITV News. She says it’s going to be “complex”.

What’s the format?

After opening statements, members of the audience will ask questions. Each leader is allowed a one minute uninterrupted answer, followed by free-flowing discussion between them all. This can go on for up to 18 minutes per question. There will be one break for the politicians, which will be filled by adverts.

Who stands where?

The positions behind the podiums were decided by lot. They are, from left to right… 

Who speaks first?

The luck of the draw means that Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, will be the first to speak, while David Cameron will have the closing remarks of the evening. In between, the politicians will answer questions in the following order:

Who is in the audience?

Around 200 people were selected by pollsters ICM to be politically balanced and  “broadly demographically representative” of the UK population. Eighty per cent are those who already intend to vote for a particular party, while the remaining 20 per cent intend on voting but haven’t made up their minds yet.


Will the leaders get to see the questions first?

No cheating before exams. The audience and ITV viewers submitted their questions beforehand, with the final questions selected by an editorial panel and read out to the party leaders for the first time live on air.