BBC Tory leadership TV debate 2022: who are tonight’s presenters and analysts - format and how to watch live

The highly-anticipated Tory leadership debate will be broadcast live on BBC One

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will tonight go head-to-head in a TV debate as the bitterly-contested battle to replace Boris Johnson continues.

‘Our Next Prime Minister‘ - which will air on BBC One at 9pm - is the first one-to-one showdown between the current Foreign Secretary and former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Both candidates will likely spend Monday (25 July) engaging in final preparations for the debate, with tonight’s programme offering a vital opportunity for Ms Truss and Mr Sunak to speak directly to those who will be voting.

It comes as the candidates prepare to participate in a series of hustings events across the country, with the first taking place in Leeds on 28 July.

But who is presenting ‘Our Next Prime Minister,’ what is the format and why is it important?

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will go head-to-head in the BBC’s live TV debate

Who is the presenter?

Sophie Raworth, one of the BBC’s senior newsreaders, will host the live debate in front of an 80 - 100 people studio audience in Stoke-on-Trent.

Who are the analysts?

The BBC’s political editor Chris Mason and economics editor Faisal Islam will offer analysis of the debate - including a look at the issues discussed, the candidates’ performances and how it is likely to impact the polls.

Mr Mason and Mr Islam will also direct a few follow-up questions at Ms Truss and Mr Sunak.

What is the format?

The BBC’s live debate will take place in front of a studio audience made up entirely of people who voted for the Conservative Party at the last general election.

Some of those people will be long-standing Tories, but others will have voted blue for the first time in 2019 - and, at a time of fast-dwindling trust in politicians, some will be wavering in their support.

Ms Raworth will field questions from the audience - meaning the two remaining leadership candidates can speak directly to those who will be voting for them before the UK’s next Prime Minister is announced on 5 September.

How can I watch the debate?

‘Our Next Prime Minister’ will be broadcast live on BBC One at 9pm.

The 60-minute programme will also be simulcast on BBC Radio 5 Live, with coverage continuing after the debate and across BBC News Online and the BBC News Channel.

What questions can we expect?

Viewers can expect the current Foreign Secretary and former Chancellor to discuss a range of key issues, with the questions posed offering a good indication of what is important to those voting.

But it is likely that the cost of living crisis will play a key role in the debate, given that the candidates have been fiercely clashing over their contrasting plans for the economy.

Mr Sunak has positioned himself as a fiscally conservative candidate, slamming his opponents who have pledged to cut taxes as telling “comforting fairy tales”.

Ms Truss on the other hand has pledged to cut taxes immediately if she assumes the role of Prime Minister.

According to a YouGov poll, 67% of British people view the economy as the biggest issue the country is facing.

Why is it important?

With postal ballots set to arrive on Tory members’ doorsteps by August 5, the BBC’s debate will provide a crucial opportunity for the two remaining leadership candidates to win over party members before they start to cast their votes.

Mr Sunak in particular - who is firmly behind Ms Truss in a series of polls and surveys - faces pressure to make a solid case for his leadership.

Jonathan Munro, Interim Director of BBC News & Current Affairs, said on the debate: “We’re delighted to be offering BBC audiences the chance to be part of this pivotal moment in politics and hear, first hand, from the final two candidates as they compete to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.”