ITV will host the first head-to-head general election debate next week, the broadcaster has confirmed.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir will face off on Tuesday, June 4 at 21:00 BST. The debate will take place in front of a live studio audience.

The hour-long programme – titled Sunak v Starmer: The ITV Debate – will be moderated by presenter Julie Etchingham, who also hosted debates in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

ITV said it also planned to broadcast an interview programme with other party leaders and a multi-party debate.

Michael Jermey, ITV’s director of news and current affairs, said: “Millions of viewers value the election debates. They provide a chance to see and hear the party leaders set out their pitch to the country, debate directly with each other and take questions from voters.

“ITV is pleased to be broadcasting the first debate in this year’s election campaign.”

Other broadcasters, including the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky News, have not yet announced plans for any televised debates. However, it’s expected that there will be at least one more head-to-head debate between the two main leaders before the general election on July 4.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak – CREDIT: Peter Nicholls/Getty Images

On Tuesday (June 28), the BBC confirmed that Clive Myrie and Laura Kuenssberg will host its election night coverage. Channel 4’s election night coverage team will include Rory Stewart, Alastair Campbell and Emily Maitlis, while Kay Burley will present Sky News’ election results broadcast.

In other news, singer-songwriter James Blunt recently shared his thoughts on Sunak’s mandatory national service plan, saying it’s “not a bad idea”.

The Conservative Party have said that 18-year-olds would be required to participate in a scheme involving military or civilian service, if they win the UK general election on July 4.

Blunt – who served in the British Army before being signed as a musician, and was an officer during the Kosovo War – recently spoke about the controversial move at the 2024 Hay Festival.

“We all know it’s not going to happen, but I think the concept – to understand a bit about serving your community – is not a bad idea,” the ‘You’re Beautiful’ singer reasoned (via the Standard).

Blunt continued: “I’m a posh twat and these people were salt of the earth. A guy from Newcastle who would otherwise be nicking cars is in the Army, and I know he’s going to be able to hot-wire my tank to get out of a situation.

“Likewise, he knows that when we come across the enemy, I’m going to be able to chat my way out of the situation.”

The post ITV to air first general election leaders’ debate next week appeared first on NME.


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