Sky News will host the first live TV debate featuring the contenders for the UK’s next Conservative Party leader and the country’s next prime minister.
Incumbent Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned last week amid mounting scandals and the resignations of his top ministers, but he will continue in office until the party elects a new leader.
There are 11 contenders so far, including former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and current Chancellor Nadim Zahawi; former Equality Minister Kimi Badenouch, who has the support of former Equalities Minister Michael Gove;
Prosecutor Suila Braverman; Current Minister of Foreign Affairs Rahman Chishti. former health ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid; current Secretary of Commerce Penny Mordaunt; Current Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps. Current Secretary of State Liz Truss. and Chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat.
There is speculation that current Home Secretary Priti Patel may join the fray. Former Brexit Secretary Steve Baker has given up his bid for leadership and supports Braverman while former Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, considered the front-runner for the job, withdrew from the competition.
On July 18, the nominees at Sky News Studios in West London will face a live debate hosted by Kay Burley and will also face questions from a virtual studio audience.
John Riley, Chairman of Sky News, said: “There has never been a more important time to revitalize voter confidence in the Prime Minister’s Office. This live television debate on Sky News gives candidates an opportunity to reconnect with millions by discussing the key issues facing Britain. It represents a unique opportunity to re-engage a frustrated electorate.”
Unlike the United States, where live television debates for the US presidential race began in 1956, it is a relatively recent practice in the United Kingdom where Sky and other broadcasters hosted the first leaders debates in 2010.
The leadership contest will be determined by the national vote for membership in the Conservative Party ballot. The winner will be sworn in as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.