Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn to go head-to-head in first live general election debate
ITV has announced it will host the first head-to-head election debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on 19 November in the run-up to the 12 December election.
The live debate will be moderated by news presenter Julie Etchingham and will be the first televised debate between the party leaders.
Mr Corbyn welcomed the announcement on Twitter, saying he was glad Mr Johnson had had "accepted our challenge" for the "once in a generation election".
But other pro-Remain parties have criticised the line-up, with the Liberal Democrats accusing the two leading parties of “running scared”.
Former Labour MP Chuka Umanna, who joined the Liberal Democrats earlier this year, called the move “discriminatory, undemocratic and wrong”.
Whatever your politics, this is discriminatory, undemocratic and wrong. Not only is it two blokes deciding to have a debate excluding women, we are not a two party country and the sizeable proportion of the public who want to #StopBrexit won’t have a voice in the room. /1 https://t.co/6wxxPXtdyN— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) November 1, 2019
SNP MP Ian Blackford also said on Twitter that the proposed show would be "deeply misleading for audiences."
The debate announcement came just two days after Ms Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, accused Mr Johnson of “running away” from debate with her.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Ms Swinson said: “Voters deserve better than a choice between the two tired old parties, and in the TV debates people deserve to hear from a leader who wants to stop Brexit and build a better future.
“So will the prime minister commit today to take part in those three-way debates, or is he going to run scared of debating with ‘a girly swot’?”
The Liberal Democrats will be included in a later ITV debate prior to the election, which will also include the SNP, the Brexit Party, the Greens, Plaid Cymru as well as representatives from Labour and the Conservatives.
Other parties will also have a chance to comment on the debate and set out their own electoral offer in a separate interview-based programme to be broadcast the same evening as the debate,
Additional debates are planned specifically for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to allow debate between regional candidates.
The exact timings of the debate between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn will be announced in the coming days.