BBC prepares to host Tory leadership debate

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Media captionPolitical Correspondent Nick Eardley on set ahead of the debate

The candidates to be Conservative Party leader – and the UK’s next prime minister – are to take part in a live televised debate on BBC One later.

The programme at 20:00 BST hosted by Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis will be broadcast two hours after Tory MPs vote in the second bout of the contest.

Questions will be from the public but there will not be an audience, opening or closing statements.

The front-runner in the contest, Boris Johnson, says he will be taking part.

The former foreign secretary missed Sunday’s TV debate on Channel 4.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, ex Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and the International Development Secretary Rory Stewart are the other leadership hopefuls.

Conservative MPs will vote by secret ballot in the Commons in the next stage of the leadership contest, with a result expected some time after 18:00 BST.

Any of the candidates will be eliminated from the contest – and therefore will not be part of the TV debate at New Broadcasting House in central London – if they come last or fail to secure at least 33 votes.

Image copyright PA
Image caption There are six candidates left in the race

The hour-long programme, called Our Next Prime Minister, will see the candidates face questions from viewers via video links from BBC studios across the UK.

The BBC received thousands of questions ahead of the debate, with the largest number being about Brexit.

Other topics submitted included HS2, public spending and climate.

At least 12 questions will be posed and each candidate will be given an opportunity to answer them.

The BBC said the questions will focus on policy, and not the candidates’ personality or conduct, and come from a cross-section of society, not necessarily all Conservative voters.

The questions will be selected by the programme team, which has made an editorial decision on which ones best represent a range of issues likely to face the next prime minister.

How can you watch the debate tonight?

Our Next Prime Minister will be hosted by BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis and broadcast on BBC One at 20:00 BST.

You can also follow the debate on our live page on the BBC News website.

Alternatively, you can stream the debate online through BBC Sounds or by watching BBC One and the News Channel through iPlayer.

From 21:00 BST, the BBC News Channel will be broadcasting reaction to the debate from politicians and pundits.

The debate will be also be broadcast live on Radio 4.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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