Who won the ITV election debate? Tell us what you think

Senior figures from the seven major political parties clashed after one poll showed Reform ahead of the Conservatives for the first time election campaign.

From left to right, Nigel Farage, Angela Rayner and Penny Mordaunt clashed during the debate. (ITV)
From left to right, Nigel Farage, Angela Rayner and Penny Mordaunt clashed during the debate. (ITV)

Nigel Farage declared his Reform UK party the true opposition to Labour in an often ill-tempered multi-party general election TV debate on Thursday night.

Representatives from seven parties appeared on the stage in Salford just minutes after a new poll said Reform had overtaken the Conservative Party for the first time.

The YouGov survey for The Times newspaper said Reform’s support had increased by two points to 19%, putting them ahead of the Tories’ tally of 18%, with Labour clearly ahead on 37%.

Farage took no time at all to bring up the poll result in the debate, saying in his opening statement: “We are now the opposition to Labour.”

Later, when the Conservative Party’s Penny Mordaunt accused him of being a “Labour enabler”, Farage replied: “We are now ahead of you in the national polls. A vote for you is now a vote for Labour.”

Farage went up against Mordaunt, Labour’s Angela Rayner, Daisy Cooper of the Liberal Democrats, Stephen Flynn of the SNP, Carla Denyer for the Green Party and Rhun ap Iorwerth of Plaid Cymru.

Who do you think won the debate? Tell us what you think below.

These were the main talking points from the debate:

It’s taken a few weeks, but the B-word has finally made it into the general election conversation in a big way. The seven representatives were asked if they would rejoin the EU or the single market. When Rayner was the first of several to say no, Flynn called her response “shameful” and declared Brexit “Nigel’s pet project”.

The representatives were also asked by moderator Julie Etchingham to raise their hands if they thought net migration needs to fall, with Rayner, Mordaunt and Cooper all doing so, which Flynn branded “the Westminster status quo”.

The first multi-party debate last Friday was characterised by the Labour and Conservative representatives constantly arguing - and tonight was no different. The pair frequently talked over each other with Cooper caught in the crossfire.

Mordaunt accused Labour of planning to raise taxes, at one point saying: “You’ve had 14 years to come up with some ideas on this.” Rayner’s response - “You’ve had 14 years in government” - drew laughter from the studio audience.

In a rather bizarre segment of the debate, each participant was invited to direct a question to a single opponent, with Rayner almost always the target. In effect, it didn’t differ much from the rest of the debate, in which Mordant said continuously that a Labour government would put up taxes, while Flynn claimed they would cut public services.

As expected, several of the smaller parties went on the offensive against Farage, with ap Iorwerth saying the Reform leader had “been on a dog whistle tour of the UK for many, many years”.

When Farage accused the Tories and Labour of “lying” to the public, Flynn interjected: “Says you.” Farage's reply of “I’ve always told the truth” provoked laughter among the audience.

Read our full coverage of the debate below

  • Opinion: Who won the ITV general election debate? Writers have their say

    Tonight’s ITV debate saw Penny Mordaunt, Angela Rayner and Nigel Farage face off for a second time in a lively seven-party debate which began only minutes after news broke that Reform UK has overtaken the Conservatives in an opinion poll for the first time. Here, The Telegraph's writers give their verdicts on who performed best.

    Read the full story from The Telegraph.

  • YouGov poll shows Reform overtake Tories

    Nigel Farage mentioned Reform overtaking the Conservatives in the polls several times this evening - and here's that poll:

  • Poll shows Conservatives polling worse now than under Liz Truss

    Another poll today shows the Tories polling worse now than under failed prime minister Liz Truss.

  • The best moments from election debate – fiery exchanges and a fired-up Farage

    Penny Mordaunt, Angela Rayner and Nigel Farage were once again among the faces in the second seven-party debate of the campaign

    Julie Etchingham, hosted the debate with tax, immigration and the health service among the key topics.

    Read the full story from The Telegraph.

  • Watch audience laugh as Mordaunt boasts of Sunak's record

    The debate audience laughed as Penny Mordaunt claimed the prime minister's record should reassure people.

  • What did the viewers think?

    As with the other debates, candidates shouting and talking over other candidates was widely mentioned on social media.

  • Rhun ap Iorwerth says people should stand up for their communities

    Rhun ap Iorwerth urged people to stand up for their communities and said it was high time the Tories were kicked out of power.

  • Nigel Farage boasts he is only person not using autocue

    Nigel Farage boasted that he was not using an autocue and had cone out of retirement. He said he had the courage to "take on the mob" and urged people to vote for his action on borders and business.

    "Unlike these others. I don’t need a script, I’ve come out of retirement with passion in my heart, Britain is broken," he said.

    "For democracy to work the government needs an opposition. Ed Davey won’t do it, he agrees with most of Labour’s policies. Rishi Sunak won’t do it - he’ll probably be in California anyway. I have the courage to take on the mob."

  • Flynn says Starmer offers more of status quo

    Stephen Flynn said there was little hope and optimism and accused Labour of maintaining the status quo. He said there must be action on the NHS, and asked people in Scotland to vote to put Scotland's future first.

  • Angela Rayner says the Tories have left the country worse off

    Angela Rayner said a vote for Labour was a vote to end the chaos of the Conservatives. She said NHS waiting times would reduce and bolster neighbourhood security and UK borders.

  • Cooper says Lib Dems best chance of getting rid of the Tories

    Daisy Cooper said the country was crying out for change. "nothing works," she said. "We will fix the NHS and social care, tackle the cost of living crisis and stop filthy raw sewage being dumped in our rivers and seas."

    She added that the Liberal Democrats were the best chance of beating the Tories.

  • Mordaunt says 'if you value your pension, vote Conservative'

    Penny Mordaunt said Angela Rayner had proved Labour would put up taxes.

    "The lesson of the last few years is that when Labour are in charge unemployment rises and tax rises," she said adding that people's pensions and homes would be taxed and bills would be higher.

  • The candidates make closing statements

    Making her closing statement, Carla Denyer said Labour would form the next government but questioned whether they were offering real change. "We deserve better," she said. "Green MPs will never stop defending our future."

  • Candidates asked what change they would make to restore trust in politics

    Daisy Cooper said the Lib Dems would devolve power to local communities.

    Angela Rayner said Labour had been upfront about what they could and could not afford.

    Penny Mordaunt said people need to be honest about their manifestos and said the Tories were the only party that promised to cut taxes.

    Rhun ap Iorwerth said the Conservatives should be honest about higher thresholds meaning people paid more tax.

    Carla Denyer said people had lost faith in politicians because hundreds of MPs were safe in their seats. She said the Greens would change to a fairer voting system.

    Stephen Flynn said you should vote for the politician who would make things better. He said the Westminster system was broken and urged people to hold their politicians to high standards.

    Nigel Farage said the voting system needed to change and the House of Lords was an 'abomination' and said there should be more refere

  • Cooper asks how anyone can trust the Tories on NHS

    Daisy Cooper asked Penny Mordaunt how people could trust the Tories on the NHS following broken promises on increasing GP numbers.

    Mordaunt said the Tories had met many of their commitments and once again questioned Labour's pledge not to raise taxes.

  • Flynn asks Rayner about arms sales to Israel

    Stephen Flynn asked about Gaza and how long it took to back a ceasefire. He asked Angela Rayner whether labour would commit to stopping arms sales to Israel.

    Rayner said Labour would comply with international law and ask for advice on arms sales.

  • More questions between candidates

    Angela Rayner asked Penny Mordaunt whether she would allow Nigel Farage into the Tory Party.

    She said: "I am a Brexiter... I back business... I believe in rewarding personal responsibility." But added that she would not let Farage in as he was giving votes to Labour, who would tax people a lot.

    Rayner responded that the Tories had put up taxes.

  • Panel ask questions of one another

    Rayner, Cooper and Mordaunt during the debate. (ITV)
    Rayner, Cooper and Mordaunt during the debate. (ITV)

    The panel are now asking questions of one another.

    Green co-leader Carla Denyer asked Angela Rayner which of Labour's U-turns she was most proud of.

    Tory Penny Mordaunt asked Angela Rayner if she would rule out raising taxes. Rayner said there was nothing in the manifesto that suggested they would raise tax.

    Nigel Farage asked Penny Mordaunt about previous manifestos that suggested the Tories would reduce net migration - asking why anyone should believe the Tories on migration.

    "Because of the record of this prime minister," she replied, prompting a big laugh from the audience. "We will give parliament the chance to set an annual cap on family and work visas. That is what we are offering. That is why you can have confidence those numbers will come down. Nigel is a Labour enabler. No cap, no target and no plan."

    Farage responded: "Penny I dont believe a single word you say. We are now ahead of you in the national polls. A vote for you is now a vote for Labour."

  • SNP and Plaid Cymru leaders press Rayner on child poverty

    Angela Rayner was pressed on child poverty by Stephen Flynn and Rhun ap Iorwerth, who said millions of children could be lifted out of poverty with the scrapping of the two-child benefit cap.

  • Nigel Farage says he backs lifting two-child benfit cap

    Nigel Farage said he would back lifting the two-child benefit cap, prompting Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth to ask Angela Rayner why Labour was still in favour of keeping the policy while Reform would scrap it.

  • Mordaunt says Labour would put up taxes

    Penny Mordaunt said people needed to be able to take home more of their money and said the Tories would keep taxes low, while accusing Labour of planning to do the opposite.

  • Flynn says Tories are the problem

    Stephen Flynn said the Conservatives were the problem - citing the damage of Brexit, Liz Truss crashing the economy, and the mismanagement of energy resources as the reason bills has increased.

    He added that the consensus in Westminster was for £18 billion of public cuts, directly challenging Angela Rayner on the issue.

  • Next question on food banks and homelessness

    The panel was asked by a woman who worked in housing why she was dealing with people who never thought they would be poor but were now using food banks and were at risk of homelessness.

    Nigel Farage answered: "Because people are getting poorer.

    "GDP has fallen for the last six consecutive quarters. The big corporates and the big banks and a certain group of people have gotten richer exponentially and everyone else has fallen behind. We are back to the massive population explosion. We have to build more houses and take the poorer people out of tax."

  • Parties asked if they would rejoin the EU

    Asked whether they would join the EU, Rayner said Labour would not, prompting Stephen Flynn to mutter "shameful".

    Penny Mordaunt answered: "No and a Labour govt will take your back in."

    Carla Denyer said: "Yes when the time is right."

    Nigel Farage said: "No. We're badly governed but at least they’re our mistakes and nobody else’s."

  • Rayner and Mordaunt clash again

    Angela Rayner and Penny Mordaunt clashed once again during the debate.

  • Audience laugh as Farage insists he's 'always told the truth'

    Answering the question on migration, Nigel Farage said: "What are they gonna do about it? They are lying to you.

    He was interrupted by Stephen Flynn who said: "Says you, come on."

    Farage insisted he had "always told the truth," prompting a laugh from the audience.

  • Stephen Flynn says Brexit bigger problem than migration

    Stephen Flynn said: "When Nigel Farage tells you migrants are making you poorer, don’t believe him", adding that the bigger problem for the country's economy was Brexit.

    "You know what makes it worse, the LAbour party backed Brexit, as they did in their manifesto today," he added. "Shameful."

  • Farage accused of going on a "dog-whistle tour" over migration

    Nigel Farage. (ITV)
    Nigel Farage. (ITV)

    Nigel Farage said "Labour’s six points didn’t mention the single most important issue - the population explosion caused directly by migration.

    "We voted to reduce the numbers coming in. We need to bring net migration to zero. One in 30 people walking on the street out there has come in the last two years alone. We have to have a freeze on the total numbers coming in."

    He was accused by Plaid Cymru's Rhun ap Iorwerth of going on a "dog-whistle tour".

  • Parties asked about migration

    Christine asked the parties what their thoughts were on migration - balancing the need for foreign workers with stresses on the system

  • Audience laughs as Mordaunt claims education is 'world class'

    The studio audience laughed as Mordaunt claimed the UK's education system was 'world class'.

  • Angela Rayner denies claim Labour is timid

    Angela Rayner bit back at the claim Labour was being 'timid'.

  • Farage opens debate by saying Reform are now the 'opposition to Labour'

    Nigel Farage's opening statement was to say that Reform UK are now the opposition to Labour, following this evening's YouGov/Times poll that said the party has overtaken the Tories.

  • Rayner defends attacks from Tories and SNP

    Penny Mordaunt said Labour had a £38 billion 'black hole' in its manifesto and said the party would have to put up taxes to fund its plan.

    Stephen Flynn said Labour would have to make cuts from the NHS to afford its plan.

    Angela Rayner disagreed with both comments and said Labour's plan would come from growing the economy. "At the moment we’ve had flat growth and really poor growth in this country. What we are gonna do is have a growth strategy, a skills strategy. We can’t tax our way out of this."

  • Nigel Farage says taxing wealthy to fund NHS would cause 'brain drain'

    Nigel Farage. (ITV)
    Nigel Farage. (ITV)

    The Green Party would tax millionaires and billionaires to fund public services, Carla Denyer said, prompting Nigel Farage to interrupt and claim there would be a brain drain.

    Denyer said the changes in the non-dom status had not changed the amount of people leaving the country. She said: "When it comes to tax, the Conservatives have taken the decision to tax ordinary people and struggling families."

  • Mordaunt says keep political dogma out of public sector

    Penny Mordaunt said people just wanted results. She said we should listen to police officers, healthcare professionals and teachers and keep political dogma out of the discussion.

  • Rayner denies door being held open for NHS privatisation

    Angela Rayner. (ITV)
    Angela Rayner. (ITV)

    Angela Rayner denied the door would be held open for privatisation, instead saying Wes Streeting would use the private sector to bring down waiting lists.

    "Wes Streeting has said in order to bring waiting list down, we use up capacity in the private sector. It will always be a publicly owned NHS under Labour," she stressed.

  • Cooper says Lib Dem manifesto will save NHS

    Daisy Cooper. (ITV)
    Daisy Cooper. (ITV)

    Labour's Angela Rayner said the NHS would remain a public service under Labour, adding that the party would also fix social care and add more teachers to fix the education system.

    Daisy Cooper, for the Liberal Democrats, said she had heard the question about public services time and again and said their manifesto was one to save the NHS and social care

    She said: "I hear from people all over the country. They’re working, they’re striving. When they go to use the NHS or anything else, they’re broken. Our manifesto is a manifesto to save the NHS. We will fix the dental crisis."

  • Farage wants French healthcare system

    Stephen Flynn said he would not be standing here if it wasn't for the NHS, and said that Labour would cut spending on the NHS.

    Nigel Farage said the UK was now spending 11% of 'the national cake' for worse returns. He suggested there should be a system like France.

    He said: "The NHS has two fundamental problems, case loads up by 43%. All of our services are under pressure because the population is increasing. We need to look at countries like France who spend exactly the same amount of money but pay more into an insurance fund."

  • The first question is on public services

    An audience member described the NHS as being 'on its knees' and said many public services were not working - he asked the politicians whether they had any ideas to make services work again.

    Penny Mordaunt said the NHS was "an act of faith" for the people of the UK, "since the Covid pandemic, the caseload that our healthcare professionals are dealing with has gone up 43%". She pledged to keep the NHS budget strong and said Labour had cut it three times in Wales.

  • The debate is live

    Introducing themselves as the debate opened, Reform's Nigel Farage said his party was now the main opposition for Labour.

  • Reform overtake Tories for first time, says new poll

    Nigel Farage's Reform UK party has overtaken the Conservatives for the first time, according to a shocking new opinion poll.

    The YouGov poll for The Times said Reform's support was at 19%, with the Tories on 18%.

    The newspaper said the poll was carried out after prime minister Rishi Sunak launched his party's manifesto on Tuesday.

  • Bomb squad called to Tory MP's office after suspicious package found

    A Conservative former minister said he received a suspicious parcel at his constituency office on Thursday, leading to bomb disposal specialists being called in, PA Media reports.

    Jeremy Quin, an ex-defence minister and Conservative candidate for the Horsham constituency, said: “After the receipt of a suspicious parcel at my Horsham office earlier today the police decided that the incident should be escalated and specialists were called in.

    “It is still under investigation but there is no cause for alarm and the incident is being thoroughly and professionally addressed."

    A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “Police received a report of a suspicious package at a premise in Madeira Avenue, Horsham at about 2.40 this afternoon. Police and the explosive ordinance disposal team are currently at the scene."

  • Sunak's 'unfavourable' rating at its highest ever in latest poll

    Prime minister Rishi Sunak's popularity level has slipped to its worst ever, according to the latest polling.

    A survey by YouGov on Thursday found that 72% of Britons say they have an unfavourable opinion of the Conservative leader, with only 21% saying they have a favourable view of him.

    The resulting net approval rating of -51 is the joint lowest he has experienced so far, the pollsters said.

    In the same poll, 39% of the public said they had a favourable view towards Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, although 51% still have an unfavourable opinion of him, giving him a net score of -12.

    Read more at YouGov here.

  • Labour peers denounce Starmer’s plan for House of Lords as ‘ageist’

    Labour peers have criticised Sir Keir Starmer’s plans to force members of the House of Lords to retire at 80, labelling the measure “ageist”.

    The party’s manifesto includes a commitment to “modernise” the upper chamber, including by requiring members to retire at the end of the parliament in which they reach 80 years old.

    However, Labour members of the Lords have reacted with frustration, denouncing the proposal for overlooking the expertise of the House’s older members.

    Read more from The Telegraph here.

  • What will happen in tonight's debate?

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 7: NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption. In this handout photo provided by the BBC, (left-right) Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner and Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, take part in the BBC Election Debate hosted by BBC news presenter Mishal Husain at BBC Broadcasting House on June 7, 2024 in London, England. Mishal Husain hosts the first BBC election debate and features Penny Mordaunt for the Conservatives, Angela Rayner for Labour, Daisy Cooper for the Liberal Democrats, Nigel Farage for The Reform Party, Carla Denyer for the Greens, Rhun ap Iorwerth for Plaid Cymru and Stephen Flynn for the SNP.  (Photo by Jeff Overs/BBC via Getty Images)
    Angela Rayner and Penny Mordaunt clashed on numerous occasions in last week's debate. (BBC via Getty Images)

    Tonight's seven-party debate starts at 8.30pm and will last for 90 minutes and be broadcast live on ITV1.

    The debate will be moderated by Julie Etchingham, who was the caught between Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer in their tempestuous head-to-head on the same channel last week.

    The line-up for the debate is exactly the same as the previous multi-party showdown on BBC last Friday, and features the following:

    - Penny Mordaunt for the Conservative Party

    - Angela Rayner for the Labour Party

    - Daisy Cooper for Liberal Democrats

    - Stephen Flynn for the SNP

    - Nigel Farage for Reform UK

    - Carla Denyer for the Green Party

    - Rhun ap Iorwerth for Plaid Cymru

    The debate last Friday with the same players was notable for Mordaunt and Rayner predictably clashing over a number of issues, including tax and the cost of living.

    The smaller parties also went on the attack against Farage, so expect more of the same this evening.

    Lots were drawn earlier to decide the standing positions of the seven participants, and they will line up, from left to right, like this: Labour, Liberal Democrats, Conservative, Green Party, Reform UK, SNP, Plaid Cymru.

  • Sunak’s Tories hit Truss level of all-time low support as Farage’s Reform closes the gap in new poll

    The Tories have hit their joint lowest standing in the weekly tracker poll as Nigel Farage’s Reform takes its biggest share yet and the aftermath of Rishi Sunak’s D-Day gaffe takes effect.

    The prime minister apologised for skipping part of the commemorations to do an election interview for ITV last week but the first weekly tracker poll taken by Techne UK after the fiasco reveals the depth of public anger.

    Read the full story from The Independent.

  • Labour hoping, but not certain, about growth

    Labour is hoping for growth to support its plans - but it is not certain there will be any, says Sky News's Ed Conway.

  • When is the next UK general election TV debate?

    The next general election debate will take place on Thursday 13 June, featuring leaders and representatives of the country’s main parties.

    Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer took part in a Sky News grilling on Wednesday night – but they departed from the head-to-head style of their first debate of the election campaign.

    Read the full story from Yahoo News.

  • From Sunak’s Sky saga to a Labour MP’s rap: 6 funniest election and pop culture crossovers so far

    The battle for No 10 is well underway, as politicians trawl up and down the country to secure votes in the forthcoming general election.

    In their attempts to appeal to voters in the run-up to 4 July, hopeful MPs are doing all they can to endear themselves to the public, with varying success.

    Read the full story from The Independent.

  • Sir Keir Starmer's manifesto plans rely heavily on economy growing - but what if it doesn't?

    Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer launches his party's manifesto at Co-op HQ in Manchester, while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture date: Thursday June 13, 2024.
    Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer launches his party's manifesto at Co-op HQ in Manchester. (Alamy)

    Imagine a skyscraper: the tallest you've ever seen. Imagine it surrounded by other tall buildings - a cityscape of skyscrapers.

    Now imagine a small semi-detached house standing in front of those buildings.

    What you're picturing in your head is about the best visual approximation of the statistical difference between the fiscal plans from most of the manifestos this year - big, tall, towering financial commitments towards higher taxes and spending - and the Labour manifesto. That small semi-detached house is Labour's manifesto.

    It is, at least in fiscal term, a tiddler.

    Read the full story from Sky News.