Channel 4 to host first Conservative leadership TV debate ahead of BBC and Sky

Channel 4 will broadcast the first TV debate between Conservative MPs hoping to become party leader and the country’s next Prime Minister.

Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy (pictured) will host Live: Britain’s Next PM – The C4 Debate, produced by ITN Productions, in front of a live studio audience at 6.30pm on Sunday 16 June.

The exact details of the format are yet to be decided.

The debate will come days after the first round of voting in the Conservative leadership contest, which is due to take place on 13 June. Candidates must secure at least 16 votes to continue.

Further ballots are scheduled for 18, 19 and 20 June before Conservative Party members choose their next leader from the two final candidates, with the result due to be announced in the week commencing 22 July.

MPs currently in the race are Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Dominic Raab, Matt Hancock, Savid Javid, Rory Stewart, Mark Harper, Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom, and Sam Gyimah.

Channel 4 director of programmes Ian Katz said: “The next British prime minister will be chosen by 313 MPs and 120,000 Tory party members – just 0.2 per cent of the population – so it’s vital that they are properly tested before the wider electorate.

“There has been a dismaying trend in recent years towards major politicians avoiding taking part in televised debates but we’re hopeful that this will mark a return to healthy public scrutiny of candidates for our highest office.”

Ian Rumsey, director of TV production at ITN Productions, added that the debate is a “vital part” of the process to choose Britain’s next Prime Minister.

BBC and Sky News both announced last week that they will host TV debates with the Tory leadership candidates.

The BBC’s debate will be moderated by Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, but it has yet to be confirmed at what stage of the leadership contest this will air.

The broadcaster has also made plans for the final two candidates to appear on a special edition of Question Time with Fiona Bruce and face one-on-one interviews with Andrew Neil within the voting period for Tory members.

Sky News will host a head-to-head debate with the final two leadership candidates in front of a live studio audience made up of Conservative voters, with Kay Burley as host.

ITV News said its plans include a head-to-head debate and interviews, but has yet to announce further details.

Picture: Channel 4 News

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