In the final run-up to the general election, Noel Thompson hosts a special debate - in front of a studio audience - featuring representatives from the five larger Northern Ireland parties.
Status: In Development
Runtime: 60 minutes
The NI Leaders' Debate - United Kingdom general election, 2017 - Netflix
The 2017 United Kingdom general election took place on Thursday 8 June, having been announced just under two months earlier by Prime Minister Theresa May on 18 April 2017 after it was discussed at cabinet. Each of the 650 constituencies elected one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons. The governing Conservative Party remained the single largest party in the House of Commons, but lost its majority resulting in the formation of a minority government with a confidence and supply arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland. The Conservative Party (which had governed as a senior coalition partner from 2010 and as a single-party majority government from 2015) was defending a working majority of 17 seats against the Labour Party, the official opposition led by Jeremy Corbyn. Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 a general election had not been due until May 2020, but a call by Prime Minister Theresa May for a snap election was ratified by the necessary two-thirds supermajority in a 522–13 vote in the House of Commons on 19 April 2017. May said that she hoped to secure a larger majority in order to “strengthen [her] hand” in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. Opinion polls had consistently shown strong leads for the Conservatives over Labour. From a 21-point lead, the Conservatives' lead began to diminish in the final weeks of the campaign. In a surprising result, the Conservative Party made a net loss of 13 seats with 42.4% of the vote (its highest share of the vote since 1983), whilst Labour made a net gain of 30 seats with 40.0% (its highest share since 2001). This was the closest result between the two major parties since February 1974, and their highest combined vote share since 1970. The Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Liberal Democrats, the third- and fourth-largest parties, both lost vote share; media coverage characterised the election as a return to two-party politics. The SNP, which won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats at the previous general election in 2015, lost 21 seats. The Liberal Democrats made a net gain of four seats. UKIP, the third-largest party in 2015 by number of votes, saw its share of the vote reduced from 12.6% to 1.8% and lost its only seat. Plaid Cymru gained one seat, giving it a total of four seats. The Green Party retained its sole seat, but saw its share of the vote reduced. In Northern Ireland, the DUP won 10 seats, Sinn Féin won seven, and independent unionist Sylvia Hermon retained her seat. The SDLP and UUP lost all their seats. The Conservatives were narrowly victorious and remained in power as a minority government, having secured a confidence and supply deal with the DUP. Negotiation positions following the UK's invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union in March 2017 to leave the EU were expected to feature significantly in the campaign, but did not. The campaign was interrupted by two major terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, with national security becoming a prominent issue in the final weeks of campaigning.
The NI Leaders' Debate - Television debates - Netflix
Within hours of the election being announced, Corbyn, Farron and Sturgeon called for televised debates. The Prime Minister's office initially opposed the idea. On 19 April the BBC and ITV announced they planned to host leaders' debates, as they had done in the 2010 and 2015 elections, whether or not May took part. Labour subsequently ruled out Corbyn taking part in television debates without May. Broadcaster Andrew Neil separately interviewed the party leaders in The Andrew Neil Interviews on BBC One, starting on 22 May with Theresa May. The 2017 Manchester Arena bombing led to interviews with Nuttall, Farron, Sturgeon and Corbyn to be rescheduled. ITV Tonight also ran a series of programmes with the major party leaders. Sky News and Channel 4 hosted an election programme on 29 May where May and Corbyn were individually interviewed by Jeremy Paxman after taking questions from a studio audience. The BBC held two debates to which all seven main party leaders were invited, on 31 May in Cambridge and 6 June in Manchester; both May and Corbyn stated they would not attend the 31 May debate. May said that she had already debated Corbyn many times in parliament, and that she would be meeting the public instead. Corbyn announced on the day that he would attend the debate in Cambridge, calling on May to do the same. Instead Amber Rudd appeared for the Conservatives. The BBC hosted separate debates for the English regions, and for both Scotland and Wales, and also a Question Time special with May and Corbyn separately answering questions from voters on 2 June, chaired by David Dimbleby. Sturgeon and Farron were expected to do the same on 4 June, but after the June 2017 London Bridge attack it was rescheduled to 5 June and instead presented by Nick Robinson. The BBC also hosted two back-to-back episodes of a special election programme titled Election Questions on 4 June, first in Bristol with Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley followed by Nuttall, and second in Swansea with Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood. The party leaders were individually questioned by a studio audience. STV planned to host a live TV debate in Glasgow with four Scottish party leaders on 24 May, but it was postponed, owing to the Manchester Arena bombing. The debate was rescheduled for Tuesday 6 June.
The NI Leaders' Debate - References - Netflix