South Scotland

General election 2017: BBC announces Scottish leaders debate

Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale, Patrick Harvie, Willie Rennie Image copyright PA

BBC Scotland is to host a television debate with the leaders of the country's five main political parties, ahead of the UK general election.

Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale, Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie will take part in the 90 minute debate at 19:30 on Sunday 21 May.

The event in Edinburgh will be chaired by Sarah Smith and broadcast on BBC Scotland and on the BBC News Channel.

It is one of a series of programmes planned for the election campaign.

It comes after STV announced it would host a leaders debate with four Scottish leaders on 24 May.

BBC Scotland said it would also run a series of special "Ask the Leader" programmes on BBC One Scotland in the week before the election on 8 June.

Audiences will be invited to ask questions of each of the party leaders in the programmes hosted by political correspondent Glenn Campbell.

From Monday, Reporting Scotland's late evening bulletin will be extended to 30 minutes.

Stephen Jardine and Laura Maciver will host the programme which aims to bring detailed coverage of the latest developments in the story.

BBC Scotland's coverage of the general election campaign will also include:

  • On the day after the election, Reporting Scotland will be extended by an hour, and presented by Jackie Bird at Westminster and Sally Magnusson in Glasgow;
  • Gordon Brewer will interview the Scottish party leaders on Sunday Politics Scotland on BBC One throughout May;
  • The leaders will be quizzed in major interviews on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland;
  • Special radio programmes will cover the election in Orkney, Shetland, the Highlands, the north-east, the Borders and the south-west;
  • A politicians' debate will be broadcast on social media and presented by BBC Scotland political correspondent Nick Eardley;
  • On polling day, Glenn Campbell, Brian Taylor, Jackie Bird, David Henderson and Fiona Stalker will host the results programme on BBC One Scotland from 21.55;
  • Bill Whiteford and Gillian Marles will do likewise on BBC Radio Scotland;
  • There will be also regular extended political coverage on Radio nan Gaidheal.

Gary Smith, BBC Scotland's head of news and current affairs, said: "Coverage of elections is one of the most important things we do at the BBC. These plans aim to give voters, young and old, all the information and analysis they need, with clarity, accuracy and immediacy.

"We'll be reporting the campaign around the whole country, hearing from the politicians and the public, and giving voters the chance to put their questions to the party leaders," he said.

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