Last modified July 2, 2015 by Kelly McBride

Candidate debates

Before a general or local election, candidates might participate in some debates, which is where they discuss their view on topics that are important to the people voting with the candidates running against them. This helps us to know what candidates and political parties think should be done about an issue, and what they plan to do if they are elected.

These debates could take place anywhere, and often groups and organisations – such as charities, student groups or local campaign groups – will organise their own debate and invite candidates along. Debates and other election-related events could be advertised through posters, newsletters, social or local media. You will need to work out how is best to find out what’s happening in your local area.

There is also a website called Meet Your Next MP that wants to help everyone meet their election candidates in person, so they list independent events and hustings (which is where you can ask a panel of candidate’s questions). They ask people to add events that they know are happening.


Arguably the biggest debates of the general election season are the televised debates. These will be happening at the following dates in 2015 and the Democratic Society will be covering them live:

  • 2nd April, 8-10pm – Channel: ITV – leaders of the Conservatives, Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party, UKIP
  • 7th April – Channel: STV (Scotland) – leaders of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Scottish Labour Party, Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Liberal Democrats
  • 16th April – Channel: BBC – leaders of the Green Party, Labour, Plaid Cymru, Scottish National Party, UKIP
  • 30th April – Channel: BBC – Question Time special with leaders of the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats