ITV announces General Election plans with Leaders' Debate on 18 May

ITV has announced it will air a Leaders' Debate on Thursday 18 May as the broadcaster revealed its coverage plans for the upcoming General Election.

Presenter Julie Etchingham will moderate the debate, which will be broadcast live on ITV from 8pm.

Julie will also present a series of Tonight election specials in the run up to polling day on June 8. The half-hour prime time programmes will focus on the leaders, covering their "lives, interests, policies and their vision for the future." The first edition, covering Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, will air on 8 May.

ITV has also announced that its flagship News at Ten will be extended by 10 minutes on each weekday from 8 May, while Peston on Sunday will have a series extension with programmes through to 25 June.

Peston on Sunday will run until 25 June. Credit: ITV

News at Ten Presenter Tom Bradby will host ITV's special coverage on election night itself, alongside two of the country’s leading psephologists: Professor Colin Rallings, ITV News’ election analyst for nearly 30 years, and Professor Jane Green, one of the Directors of the British Election Study, an organisation which has been monitoring British election behaviour for more than 50 years.

Good Morning Britain will be extended until 9.25am on 9 June, before Julie Etchingham takes over from the ITV News studio with rolling coverage through the morning with more expert analysis and reaction.

  • 'Campaign Live'

ITV News will keep voters up-to-date on its website throughout the campaign. Credit: ITV

For the first time, ITV News is introducing Campaign Live to its award-winning website - a live video feed of each day's campaign events using cameras located across the country, giving voters access to full, raw campaign coverage direct to their desktop, mobile or tablet.

On social media, correspondents will be going live on Facebook to give their take on the campaign and to answer questions - with the ITV Twitter feed the home of breaking election news.

In addition to the national campaign, will provide in-depth local coverage of the election, providing people the news and information they need to decide who gets their vote.

  • Local debates in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

ITV Wales will host a debate of leaders in Wales on 17 May. Credit: ITV

Viewers in Wales will be able to watch a live ITV Wales Election Debate programme on Wednesday 17 May, featuring five party leaders in Wales.The debate, in front of an invited audience, will be moderated by ITV Wales' Political Editor, Adrian Masters.

In Northern Ireland, UTV will broadcast a 60 minute debate at 9pm on Wednesday 24 May, which will be moderated by UTV presenter Marc Mallett.

STV’s Scotland Debates programme will air on the day in ITV Border Scotland and will include the leaders of the four main political parties in Scotland.

Geoff Hill, Editor of ITV News, said: “Our journalists will travel across the United Kingdom in the coming weeks, speaking and listening to the voting public who will be most affected by the outcome of Election 2017.

"Throughout the campaign, ITV News will examine manifestos, analyse policies, debate the key issues and challenge leading decision-makers. Our coverage will be dynamic and balanced, providing viewers with an accurate account of what’s happening ahead of voting day and who will be moving into Number 10 as Prime Minister on June 9th.”