Scotland politics

Election 2015: BBC Scotland unveils party leader debate plans

Nicola Sturgeon, Patrick Harvie, Jim Murphy, Willie Rennie, David Coburn and Ruth Davidson Image copyright other
Image caption A leaders' debate is planned for 8 April featuring Nicola Sturgeon, Patrick Harvie, Jim Murphy, Willie Rennie, David Coburn and Ruth Davidson

BBC Scotland has announced plans to hold TV election debates with Scotland's party leaders.

The first will take place in Aberdeen on 8 April and feature the main Scottish leaders and representatives from the Scottish Greens and UKIP.

The second will take place on 3 May with Labour's Jim Murphy, the Lib Dems' Willie Rennie, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon and the Tories' Ruth Davidson.

BBC Scotland has also revealed its General Election results' night plans.

It will broadcast live from all of Scotland's 32 counts after polls close on 7 May.

In an addition to the leader debates, the BBC will host a series of topic-based discussions.

These will be aired during the six-week campaign on Sunday Politics with Gordon Brewer and Scotland 2015 with Sarah Smith.

The April debate - during the second week of the campaign - will be hosted by the BBC's James Cook and see the four main Scottish leaders quizzed alongside David Coburn, UKIP's Scottish MEP, and Patrick Harvie, MSP and co-convenor of the Scottish Green Party.

The 3 May broadcast, featuring the four main party leaders only, is being presented by BBC Scotland's Glenn Campbell in front of an audience in Edinburgh.

Other BBC Scotland plans for General Election coverage include;

  • Issues poll - BBC Scotland has commissioned a survey which will be published on 7 April that ranks the issues people in Scotland say are the most significant in the General Election.
  • Reporting Scotland - From 27 April the programme will be extended to 60 minutes to bring reports and analysis.
  • Good Morning Scotland - Presenters Gary Robertson and Hayley Millar will go on the road for the campaign, hearing from local communities about the issues that matter to them, and interrogating politicians on their manifesto pledges.
  • Radio Scotland - The Kaye Adams and the John Beattie programmes, and the teatime Newsdrive show, will also cover the campaign stories of the day and scrutinise the plans of the parties.
  • Radio debates - There will be six local debates, one each in Orkney, Shetland, the Highlands, the North East, the Borders and South West. In addition, Gordon Brewer will host six Big Election Debates on radio during the campaign.
  • BBC news website - It will be the place to go for explainers and analysis as well as to access constituency profiles and candidate lists. The public will also be able to follow a comprehensive results service covering all 59 Scottish seats.
  • Generation 2015 - A group of 200 voters, aged 18 to 24, have been selected from across the UK to offer their questions and views ahead of polling day.
  • Exit poll - The headlines from a UK-wide exit poll - commissioned with ITV and Sky - will be projected on the exterior of BBC Scotland's studios at Pacific Quay. Results will also appear on the side of the River Clyde based building.
  • Election night special - Presenters Glenn Campbell, Brian Taylor and Jackie Bird will be broadcasting live on BBC One Scotland and Isabel Fraser and Bill Whiteford will host the BBC Radio Scotland results' night coverage.

Get involved

  • Would you like to be a member of the audience for the leader debate on Wednesday 8 April in Aberdeen?
  • Click here and fill in the application form.

BBC Scotland's head of news and current affairs, John Boothman, said: "All the signs are that this will be one of the most fascinating General Elections of recent times.

"We will cover this major political story for our audiences on all platforms with the best journalism and the highest levels of accuracy, objectivity and impartiality.

"Our news teams will be travelling the length and breadth of Scotland to break the big stories from the campaign, put the searching questions to the politicians and to hear what the voters have to say about the issues that count.

"For the first time we will be reporting live from all General Election results in Scotland where our journalists will interview the leading political figures and campaigners as the results roll in.

"Social media engagement was a significant element of last year's referendum and for the General Election we will be increasing the ways in which voters can access our coverage online with more shareable content such as video and audio clips."

Mr Boothman added that May's election was a "major political story" and BBC Scotland would be putting its audiences "at the heart of it with a broad range of programming and other content".

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