Which Political Parties Should be Invited to Take Part in TV Debates?

Four of the UK’s largest broadcasters have announced plans for a series of leadership debates prior to the next general election. The BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 plan to hold 3 debates:

  • One with the Conservative & Labour parties.
  • One with those parties plus the Liberal Democrats.
  • One with Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, and UKIP.

Their belief appears to be that this is what the public wants. I was not sure whether that was the case, therefore I carried out a poll of just over 1,000 people to find out. I gave the options of the above, plus a fourth option “All parties with at least one MP”.

The Overall Results

Here is the result of a survey of 1,003 people within the UK, asking the following question:

“Which political parties should be invited to appear in televised leadership debates ahead of the 2015 General Election?”


In summary, here is the breakdown, weighted to match the internet population of the UK:

As you can see, this is a significant result.

  • Just 10% opted for the 2 main parties alone.
  • Even less wished for the 2 main parties plus the Lib Dems.
  • The first 3 options combined make up the 3 debates planned by the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4. Even when totaled up, these 3 options still form less than 50% of respondents’ preferred opion.
  • Well over half of respondents wish for all parties with at least one MP to be invited to the leadership debates.

Summary: Respondents to a poll of over 1,000 people in the UK want all parties with at least one MP to be invited to televised leadership debates.

Split by gender, the result looked as follows:

Result from Women

Result from Men

In summary: If we accept the poll as anywhere near representative of broader opinion, t is clear that the population of the UK would favour all parties with at least one MP be invited to appear in televised debates. At the time of writing those are as follows:


Appendix: Further Details

The survey was carried out between 14-16 October 2014. Users were surveyed while browsing websites. The breakdown of websites where users were asked the question was as follows:

  • News: 29.6%
  • Mobile: 18.9%
  • Arts & Entertainment: 17.1%
  • Other: 34.3%

Here is the makeup of the responding group, and their bias +/- the overall internet population of the UK:

If you’d like further details, drop a comment below or do get in touch. If you find this useful or interesting, please do share it with others.

2 replies
  1. Josh
    Josh says:

    Frankly, I think the only parties that should be on national TV debates are those that field national PPCs. End of.

    There’s always been potential for local TV debates and some constituencies do this.

  2. ScooterGirl
    ScooterGirl says:

    That’s an incredibly smug and ill-considered statement and the recipe for what we have ended up with, i.e. two and a half main parties who all dribble virtually indistinguishable rhetoric with almost identical policies which are geared to favour their corporate donors.
    It’s about time that a sledge hammer was taken to status quo maintenance mechanisms and those complacent career politicians who rest on their laurels are given a diver’s boot up the arse.


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