SNP leadership candidates will go head-to-head in a televised debate, it has been confirmed.

STV will broadcast the debate, which will be hosted by political editor Colin Mackay.

It is scheduled to air at 9pm on Tuesday, March 7 and will see Ash Regan, Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf face off as they make their cases to party members.

The broadcaster said members of the public would also have a chance to put their questions to the candidates who are almost certain to become first minister if they are elected SNP leader.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes takes early lead in poll of SNP voters' leadership preference

The programme will last 70 minutes and will be broadcast live from STV’s Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow.

Following the debate, Scotland Tonight presenter Rona Dougall will be joined by a panel of guests, including STV’s special correspondent Bernard Ponsonby, to provide reaction and analysis, the broadcaster said.

Linda Grimes Douglas, STV’s head of news and current affairs, said: “Scotland’s next leader will be declared in just over a month, but before the voting begins it’s crucial that the people of Scotland are given the opportunity to cut through the noise and hear directly from the three prospective candidates about the direction in which they intend to steer the country.

“With Colin Mackay at the helm, this in-depth and robust debate will explore the most important issues facing the country today, to help inform SNP members and the wider public ahead of what’s set to be a significant moment in Scotland’s history.”

Meanwhile, Forbes is currently the only candidate in the running who has not accepted an invitation from the SNP's internal trade union group for a hustings. 

Regan and Yousaf have confirmed they will appear at the event, scheduled for March 12. 

The BBC is also understood to have asked to host a TV debate with the candidates. It is not known whether their bid has been successful.