When is the next Tory leadership TV debate? Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak hustings schedule - how to watch

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The Tory leadership candidates will today go head-to-head at a hustings event in Belfast

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the final two candidates remaining in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

The former chancellor and current Foreign Secretary are now taking part in nationwide leadership hustings events as they attempt to win the favour of Tory party voters.

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Their next appearance will take place at 1pm today (17 August) in Belfast.

Ms Truss and Mr Sunak are expected to be quizzed on the Northern Ireland Protocol, the cost of living crisis, and support for the regional party, currently led by Matthew Robinson, which has been plagued recently by internal disputes.

Truss and Sunak will take part in nationwide hustings events over the coming weeksTruss and Sunak will take part in nationwide hustings events over the coming weeks
Truss and Sunak will take part in nationwide hustings events over the coming weeks | PA

Tory party members will soon vote on their favourite candidate, with the winner - and therefore the UK’s next prime minister - announced on 5 September.

But what are hustings, who can attend, when are they taking place, and how can I watch them?

Here’s everything you need to know.

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What are hustings?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘hustings’ are the “political meetings, speeches, etc. that take place in the period before an election”.

Similarly, the Electoral Commission defines the term as “a meeting where election candidates or parties debate policies and answer questions from the audience”.

Voters are able to hear the views of the parties - or in this case, the candidates - and ask questions on the key issues.

The idea is these events enable voters to make a more informed decision.

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Who can attend?

Only eligible voting members of the Conservative Party can attend the hustings in person.

If you are eligible, you will need to register for a ticket - which costs £5.

Those who are unable to attend in person can register online for virtual hustings streams.

When are they taking place?

Below is the timetable for the upcoming hustings, as listed on the Conservative Party’s website.

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  • Leeds - 28 July (Past)
  • Exeter - 1 August (Past)
  • Cardiff - 3 August (Past)
  • Eastbourne - 5 August (Past)
  • Darlington - 9 August (Past)
  • Cheltenham - 11 August (Past)
  • Perth - 16 August (Past)
  • Belfast - 17 August (Today)
  • Manchester - 19 August
  • Birmingham - 23 August
  • Norwich - 25 August
  • London - 31 August

Today’s hustings event will take place at 1pm at the Culloden Hotel in Cultra, Belfast, and you can live stream the action on the Conservative Party’s website.

What are the leadership election rules?

Conservative Party leadership elections consist of two stages:

Stage 1: Conservative MPs choose two candidates to put forward to stage two.

This takes place through a series of votes, and is how the field has been narrowed down to Ms Truss and Mr Sunak. Those who were eliminated from the contest during this stage were:

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  • Penny Mordaunt
  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Tom Tugendhat 
  • Suella Braverman
  • Jeremy Hunt
  • Nadhim Zahawi

Stage 2: The two MPs selected in Stage 1 face a ballot of Conservative Party members.

This is done on the basis of one member, one vote. You must be a member of the Conservative Party to vote.

Ballots will be posted to members, and are due to arrive between 1 August and 5 August. The vote closes at 5pm on 2 September, with the outcome due to be announced on 5 September.

The candidate who receives the most votes wins, and will become the next prime minister.

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