ITV Leaders Debate
ITV can confirm that The ITV Leaders’ Debate, between the leaders of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, UKIP, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, will be held at studios in MediaCityUK in Salford.
The debate will be shown live on ITV from 8pm to 10pm, and will be moderated by ITV News' Julie Etchingham. The debate will also be streamed live online at ITV.com/itvplayer/itv and on mobile platforms via our ITV Player app. The live stream will also be available on the ITV News YouTube channel, and access to streaming the debate live is unrestricted.
Michael Jermey, ITV's Director of News and Current Affairs said,
"The programme will provide a fair forum for a proper debate between the party leaders.
Our viewers greatly valued the debates in 2010 and we know many are looking forward to this programme.
It'll be an opportunity to hear the leaders directly challenge each other and discuss face-to-face some of the big election issues facing the country."
Lots have been drawn to determine the podium order, and the leaders will appear on screen, left to right as follows - Natalie Bennett, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Ed Miliband, Leanne Wood, Nicola Sturgeon and David Cameron.
The drawing of lots for the podium positions also decided the order in which each leader speaks on the opening and closing statements and on the initial answers to the audience questions. The speaking order follows a pre-determined grid. The way lots were drawn means that Natalie Bennett will be the first speaker in the debate and David Cameron the last.
The leaders will make short opening statements at the beginning of the programme and closing statements at the conclusion of the debate.
During the two-hour live debate, leaders will address questions posed by the studio audience.
The format will allow each leader to give an uninterrupted one-minute answer to each question, before the debate is opened to moderated discussion between the leaders, for up to 18 minutes on each question.
The debate will address four substantial election questions with enough time allocated for a proper free flowing debate between the leaders.
ITV has asked the audience for their questions, as well as ITV viewers, who have been asked to submit questions via firstname.lastname@example.org.
An experienced editorial panel is selecting the questions which go through to the debate on the night. The questions will not be seen by the leaders in advance.
The audience of around 200 people has been selected by polling company ICM. It is broadly demographically representative of the UK. It is also politically balanced.
Around 80% of the audience will be made up of voters who express a voting intention at the time of recruitment. Around 20% of the audience will be “undecided”, defined as being interested in politics and intending to vote, but not having decided which party to vote for at the time of recruitment.
There will be one break for leaders during the two-hour live broadcast, and ITV will go to a commercial break to facilitate this.
After the debate, ITV News at Ten plans to have Mark Austin presenting the programme live from the debate location, with ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks reporting live from the ‘Spin Room’. Julie Etchingham, moderator of The ITV’s Leaders’ Debate, will join Mark on ITV's News at Ten to analyse the event after it has finished.
ComRes have helped ITV News to assemble groups of voters around the country in an initiative called ‘The Undecided’. These groups will give immediate reaction to The ITV Leaders’ Debate, and will contribute to further programmes through the campaign.
Immediately following The ITV Leaders’ Debate, ComRes and ITV News will release the results of a specially commissioned snap poll which will reveal the very first reaction to the debate - how the debate has informed voters watching at home and which politician has taken the lead following the session.
On itv.com/news viewers will be able to "rate the debate" as they watch it, using a special interactive dial embedded on the website and social #ratethedebate. ITV News will also be visualising social reaction on our website with real time displays, and our specialist editors will be tweeting analysis as the debate goes on under #leadersdebate.
At 10.45pm, ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby will be live with the first in the new series of political panel show The Agenda. Tom Bradby will be joined by guests Comedian Rory Bremner, CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, writer and restaurant critic Grace Dent and Spectator Editor Fraser Nelson. The Agenda is made by ITN Productions for ITV.