General Election TV debates 2017 – when are they, who’s appearing and which channels are they on?

Theresa May has steadfastly refused to join any major political TV debates with her political rivals in the run-up to the 2017 General Election.

The Prime Minister said she thought people wanted to hear the policies – not see MPs warring with each other on TV. She told activists in Harrow, north London: “I am taking part in debates up and down the country, actually taking questions from people, meeting people, getting out and about and ensuring that I’m talking directly with voters and listening directly to voters.”

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With or without Mrs May, TV debates are going ahead anyway – even though you won’t see the Tory leader directly debate those policies with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

However, as election fever hots up in the run-up to polling day on Thursday, June 8, there will be plenty of TV coverage giving politicians the opportunity to deliver their manifestos.

Here is the Mirror Online’s guide to everything we know so far.

Key dates for your diary

Thursday, May 18, 8pm: Seven-way ITV leaders’ debate in Salford without Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn

Monday, May 22, 7pm: Theresa May interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil

Tuesday, May 23, 7pm: Paul Nuttall interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil

Wednesday, May 24, 7pm: Tim Farron interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil

Thursday, May 25, 7pm: Nicola Sturgeon interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil

Friday, May 26, 7pm: Jeremy Corbyn interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil

Monday, May 29, 8pm: Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May interviewed by Channel 4’s Jeremy Paxman in front of live studio audience

Wednesday, May 31, 7.30pm: Seven-way BBC debate between key figures from each party, without May or Corbyn

Friday, June 2, prime time: Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn BBC Question Time special

Sunday, June 4, prime time: Tim Farron and Nicola Sturgeon BBC Question Time special

Sunday, June 4, 10.30pm: Election Questions to Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and UKIP leader Paul Nuttall on BBC

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Theresa May won’t debate Jeremy Corbyn but she will face the same audience as the Labour leader as part of two Question Time Specials hosted by David Dimbleby.

The first will be with Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on Friday, June 2 and the second with Tim Farron and Nicola Sturgeon on Sunday, June 4.

Each leader will get 45 minutes fielding questions from the audience, but will not face each other in a head-to-head.

There will also be a seven-way debate on May 31 between senior figures from the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Green Party and UKIP.

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These will not necessarily be party leaders but could be in some cases – because parties get to choose “the person they think will best make their party’s case”.

Veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil will grill the party leaders individually with special interviews, each at 7pm. The schedule is:

  • Monday 22 May: Theresa May
  • Tuesday 23 May: Paul Nuttall
  • Wednesday 24 May: Tim Farron
  • Thursday 25 May: Nicola Sturgeon
  • Friday 26 May: Jeremy Corbyn

The BBC will broadcast two further programmes on Sunday, June 4: Election Questions to Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood from Swansea will be shown on BBC One at 10.30pm in Wales (11pm in England.), while Election Questions to Paul Nuttall will come from Bristol on BBC One at 10.30pm in England then at 11pm in Wales.

Newsbeat will hold a debate with a young audience hosted by Tina Daheley at 9pm on Tuesday, June 6 on BBC Radio 1.

Taking place in Manchester, it will feature leading Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, Plaid, Green and UKIP politicians.


ITV is hosting a leaders’ debate on Thursday, May 18 at 8pm with five party leaders but the Prime Minister is not set to attend. Nor is Jeremy Corbyn, who is boycotting any TV debate she refuses to take part in.

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