Primetime BBC1 Conservative leadership debate draws over 5 million viewers

Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Rory Stewart and Sajid Javid were quizzed by the public and host Emily Maitlis

TV debate tory

The BBC’s Conservative leadership debate, Our Next Prime Minister, drew in an impressive 5.28 million viewers yesterday evening (Tuesday 18th June), according to overnight figures.

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Audiences tuned in to see the remaining five candidates – Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Rory Stewart and Sajid Javid – battle it out over an hour-long show covering Brexit, the environment and public service cuts.

Host Emily Maitlis worked hard to contain the candidates, who regularly spoke over each over as they answered questions asked by the public via a video link.

However, the highlight of the night for many was Rory Stewart, who removed his tie halfway through the debate – much to the delight of Twitter.

The BBC’s audience figures are a big step up from Channel 4’s, whose 16th June televised debate Live: Britain’s Next PM drew in 1.2 million viewers. Unlike the BBC debate, Boris Johnson – the contest’s frontrunner – did not appear on this show.

Viewers can expect one further Conservative TV showdown, with Sky News set to host a live head-to-head debate between the final two candidates in front of a studio audience made up of Conservative voters. The exact time and date of the show, that will be presented by Kay Burley, is yet to be finalised.

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You can watch the BBC debate, Our Next Prime Minister on BBC iPlayer now