UK broadcasters to hold leaders' debates without Theresa May

ITV will be the first to host a debate

UK broadcasters to hold leaders' debates without Theresa May

File photo of an ITV logo | Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/PA Images

British broadcaster ITV has confirmed it will hold a leaders' debate in the upcoming general election campaign.

This is despite the British Prime Minister Theresa May saying she would not partake in such debates.

She told the BBC she believed elections were all about "getting out and about and meeting voters" and "knocking on doors".

ITV has confirmed it will host a debate, but no date has been set.

"ITV will hold a leaders' debate as we did in 2010 and 2015. We will announce more details in due course", the broadcaster confirmed.

A BBC spokesman said it was too early to say whether the broadcaster would put in a bid to stage a debate.

But its head of newsgathering, Jonathan Munro, told the Daily Telegraph he did "not want to get in a position where any party leader stops us doing a programme that we think is in the public interest".

Sky News says it has joined other broadcasters in past elections, urging all major political parties to commit to televised debates.

After telling the House of Commons ealier she was proud of what the Conservatives had achieved in government, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asked: "If Theresa May is so proud of her record, why won't she debate it?

"She cannot be allowed to run away from her duty to democracy and refuse to let the British people hear the arguments directly."

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said he was "very disappointed" that Mrs May was unwilling to attend any TV debate.

He said: "It seems to me she feels she has got everything to lose by going on television and debating myself and others.

"When all is said and done, she has chosen this election, she presumably has some confidence in her position, why won't she go out there and argue with people like me who want to challenge her?"

Additional reporting: IRN