UK General Election 2024 - How many TV debates will there be between Sunak and Starmer?
Jul 3

The starting gun has been fired - we will be having a general election on 4th July!

Debates had been suggested since the 1960s but leaders like Wilson, Thatcher, Major and Blair either refused to debate or were unable to agree on terms with their challengers.

The first televised debates were held in 2010, but they somehow seem like an inevitable fixture of British politics already. The market gives an 80% chance of at least one debate during this cycle:


The Tories have called for six televised debates:

Is this suicide with such an untelegenic leader? Is it a desperate last throw of the dice? Is it an attempt to lay down an absurdly unrealistic challenge so that they can taunt Starmer if he says no?

How many debates will there be?

The definition of a debate is taken from @NoitUK‘s market:

  • Both leaders appearing in the same broadcast.

  • Direct interaction between leaders, i.e. they are permitted to respond to each other’s statements directly.

  • Equal representation, I.e. both leaders are allowed to speak for approximately the same time.

  • A moderator to provide questions and enforce the rules of the debate.

  • Broadcast on one of the main free to air UK TV channels.

If other party leaders are also present, that will still be fine so long as the above criteria are met!

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For clarity, tonight’s event on Sky is being described as a debate by a few people but the proposed format doesn’t meet the definition for this market since the leaders will be questioned separately rather than being able to address each other directly.

opened a Ṁ250 1 YES at 20% order

It sounds like the Sky event won’t meet these criteria, no more events are scheduled, and Sunak is now hiding from the media. I think we might be one and done.

@Noit I thought we were still due a head-to-head between the two leaders on the BBC?

Or have they changed the plans for that one?

opened a Ṁ100 2 YES at 30% order

@SimonGrayson You are right, it’s a Leader’s Question Time format so it should meet the criteria. Bad info from me!

opened a Ṁ100 2 YES at 25% order

@Noit I think there are other events that might meet the criteria, but it's very uncertain.


Last night’s debate meets the criteria in the market - so the count so far is 1.

A reminder that things like a town hall “debate” where leader address questions but not each other won’t count. Nor would their appearance on a normal version of Question time, even if they ignore the format to try to debate each other !

bought Ṁ50 0 NO

0 should resolve no

@Jack_Rose This is a dependent market - it will resolve to one answer at the end rather than the each answer resolving independently.

The benefit is that the liquidity is shared across the whole market - if you bet on 1/2/3, you’re getting the liquidity from the other answers including 0.

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