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How to watch the Conservative leadership debates on TV

Boris Johnson is stepping down as Leader of the Conservative Party.

Conservative leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss during Britain's Next Prime Minister: The ITV Debate at Riverside Studios on July 17, 2022 in London, England.
Photo by Jonathan Hordle / ITV via Getty Images
Published: Wednesday, 20th July 2022 at 6:20 pm
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We are now down to the final two candidates in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

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Rishi Sunak MP, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Liz Truss MP, Foreign Secretary, will go head-to-head to be named the next Leader of the Conservative Party and, ultimately, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The leadership hopefuls have already clashed during live debates on ITV and Channel 4.

However, the original third televised Tory leadership debate was cancelled after Sunak and Truss confirmed to Sky News that they did not want to take part.

A statement from the broadcaster read: "Tuesday evening’s live television debate on Sky News between the Conservative Party leadership candidates has been cancelled.

"Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the Conservative Party, exposing disagreements and splits within the party.

"Both are very welcome to taking part in future Sky News televised debates."

In a statement, then-candidate Penny Mordaunt’s campaign team said: "It’s a shame some colleagues cannot find a way to debate one another in a civil way.

"Throughout this contest she has never dodged media or shied away from broadcast interviews and debates – people deserve to hear from their leaders."

However, now a third debate will take place on Monday 25th July 2022 between Sunak and Truss on BBC One as they battle to be elected as the party's next leader.

So, who will be the person to succeed Boris Johnson and likely lead the Conservative Party into the next General Election?

Here is everything you need to know about the Conservative leadership television debates.

How to watch the Conservative leadership debates on TV

How to watch the Conservative leadership debate on BBC One

Our Next Prime Minister will air on BBC One on Monday 25th July 2022 at 9pm.

The debate will be available to watch live on BBC iPlayer and afterwards on catch-up.

Both Rishi Sunak MP and Liz Truss MP will take part in the debate which will be hosted by Sophie Ranworth and be held in front of an audience of between 80 and 100 people in a studio at Stoke-on-Trent.

Jonathan Munro, the interim director of BBC News and Current Affairs, said: "We're delighted to be offering BBC audiences the chance to be part of this pivotal moment in politics and hear, first-hand, from the final two candidates as they compete to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister."

Can you watch the Conservative leadership debate on Sky News?

As detailed above, Sky News' Tory leadership debate has been cancelled after two of the three hopefuls then leading in the MPs ballots – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – revealed to Sky News that they did not want to take part.

Sky News debate had been scheduled for 8pm on Monday 18th July 2022 and was set to be hosted by Kay Burley with questions from a virtual studio audience.

John Ryley, Head of Sky News, had said ahead of the cancellation: "There has never been a more important time to reinvigorate the trust of voters in the office of the Prime Minister.

"This live TV debate on Sky News gives the candidates a chance to reconnect with millions by debating the major issues facing Britain. It presents a unique opportunity to re-engage a disillusioned electorate."

How to watch the Conservative leadership debate on Channel 4

Britain’s Next PM: The Conservative Leadership Debate aired on Channel 4 on Friday 15th July 2022 at 7pm.

The debate was also available to watch live on All4.

But if you missed it, don't worry: it's available to watch on catch-up.

The official description from Channel 4 read: "As the Conservatives prepare to elect a new leader, this live debate asks: who's the right choice to be Britain's next Prime Minister?

"Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosts the debate with the candidates who are still in the running for the top job, facing questions from a studio audience of floating voters.

"After Boris Johnson's dramatic resignation, the race is on to follow him into Number 10. And with the most diverse field of candidates ever, it's a wide-open field."

How to watch the Conservative leadership debate on ITV

The Conservative leadership debate aired on ITV on Sunday 17th July 2022 at 7pm.

The show was available to watch live on ITV Hub and is now available on the streamer's catch-up service following its airing.

The debate was recorded at ITV's White City Studios.

The channel previously aired a similar debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt when they were competing for Conservative Party leader in 2019.

Michael Jermey, ITV's Director of News and Current Affairs, commented: "Television debates at important elections help voters engage with politics.

"ITV has been the home of some of the biggest political debates over the past decade. Sunday's debate will be an important event as the country's next Prime Minister is chosen."

Who is running to be the Conservative Party leader?

Conservative Leader candidates Liz Truss (L) and Rishi Sunak
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak remain the final two candidates to be the Leader of the Conservative Party Photo by Getty Images

The following Conservative Party MPs remain in the race to be Conservative Party leader and, ultimately, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

  1. Rishi Sunak MP, former Chancellor of the Exchequer
  2. Liz Truss MP, Foreign Secretary

MPs who had ruled themselves out of the race included Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Ben Wallace, and Priti Patel.

Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, dropped out of the race after initially announcing his intention and is now throwing his support behind Rishi Sunak.

Sajid Javid, former Health Secretary, also dropped out of the race after initially announcing his candidacy, as did Rehman Chishti.

The first round of MPs voting saw Jeremy Hunt and Nadim Zahawi, Chancellor of the Exchequer, eliminated from the contest, while the second round saw Suella Braverman, Attorney General, eliminated.

The third round of the contest saw Tom Tugendhat eliminated from the contest, while the fifth round saw Kemi Badenoch MP, former Levelling Up minister, knocked out of the contest.

Finally, the sixth round of MPs voting saw Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State, eliminated from the contest, leaving the final showdown between Mr Sunak and Ms Truss.

The pair will now face the Conservative Party membership.

If you're looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide.

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