Keir Starmer agrees to take part in TV election debates with Rishi Sunak

Keir Starmer agrees to take part in TV election debates with Rishi Sunak

video subtitles, Of course there will be live TV debates: Labor leader Keir Starmer

  • Author, Sam Francisco
  • Role, political reporter

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has agreed to take part in televised election debates with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The Conservatives are pushing for six television debates, one each week of the campaign, but Labor officials will only commit to two, hosted by the BBC and ITV.

Speaking to the BBC, Sir Keir said: “I can be in one debate or 100, I know what Sunak is going to say.

“Of course there will be live television debates, but I want to talk as much as possible to voters directly and get my message across to them and listen to them.

“Ultimately, the power is in the hands of those voters.”

Labor sources told the BBC that they “will not break the format established in previous elections just to satisfy the whims of the Conservative Party this week.”

Televised leaders’ debates in the UK began in 2010, when there were three, with Labor Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

Labor sources indicated that Sir Keir would be willing to take part in the two debates with the largest potential audiences: BBC and ITV.

The senior Labor figure told the BBC that Sir Keir wanted to take part in two head-to-head debates, rather than including smaller parties.

The source added that they did not believe debates on other television channels with smaller audiences were a valuable use of campaign time.

Writing for The Telegraph, Sunak said: “There are big issues at stake in this election. Will we continue to cut taxes or raise taxes on working households as the Labor Party would?

“Do we prioritize energy security and your family’s finances in our approach to net zero or do we prioritize environmental dogma as Sir Keir Starmer and Ed Miliband would? And above all, how do we give this country the sure future you deserve?

“I want to debate these issues with Sir Keir Starmer. But he doesn’t want to because he doesn’t have a plan and he doesn’t have the courage to say what he wants to do.”