MORE than four-fifths of the UK public who want to see televised General Election debates think that all parties – not only the Tories and Labour – should take part, according to new polling.

The YouGov survey, which was published on Tuesday, found that a huge 81% of people disagree with Keir Starmer’s reported demands that he debate Rishi Sunak alone, without any other party representatives present.

Just 17% of people said they thought that televised General Election debates should only be between Starmer and Sunak.

The news comes after Starmer agreed to debate the Tory leader on live TV on only two occasions, once on the BBC and once on ITV, and on the condition that no other parties would be allowed to take part.

Multiple outlets reported that Starmer had indicated he would only appear in a head-to-head debate – without the presence of any smaller parties such as the SNP, the LibDems, Greens or Reform.

The SNP dubbed Starmer’s demands “thoroughly anti-democratic” and claimed the Labour leader was “running scared”.

Among those who say the debates should feature more than just the Labour and Tory leaders, 63% said LibDem leader Ed Davey should be included, 44% said Reform’s nominal leader Richard Tice, and 40% said both SNP leader John Swinney and Green Party of England and Wales co-leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay.

A total of 31% said Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth should also be included.

The YouGov survey found that the plurality of people in the UK think the televised debates have an impact on how the parties perform at the election.

The National:

While only 6% think they have “a great deal” of impact, a further 41% believe they have “a fair amount of impact” on the eventual result. By contrast, 35% think they make little to no difference.

However, elsewhere in the YouGov poll the majority of people in the UK (63%) said they weren’t interested in watching TV debates anyway – while 33% said they would want to see them take place.

Asked how many televised debates there should be, 17% said two, 16% said three, and 13% said none at all.

Just 4% said they wanted to see five or more – an idea which has been mooted by the Tory team.

The YouGov survey asked 2128 British adults their views between May 27 and 28.