announces it will host a live TV debate between ALL Tory leadership contenders (but who will turn up?)

The has announced plans for a live television debate between the rivals battling to replace .

The broadcaster said Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis would anchor the programme due to take place in mid-June with all remaining candidates.

It would be followed by a special Question Time featuring the final two candidates, hosted by Fiona Bruce, before the pair also face one-to-one grillings from veteran interrogator Andrew Neil. 

But it remains to be seen which MPs will agree to take part in the event. 

Several candidates have indicated that they would be willing to take part in a general-election style leadership debate, including Rory Stewart, Matt Hancock and Dominic Raab. 

Questions had been asked over whether would be willing to join them.   

The favourite is generally seen as having the most to lose form such debates, as they risk making a mistake and also give a platform to their rivals. 

A source close to the Johnson campaign said today that they had yet to be ed by the about taking part.

‘They have not approached us,‘ they said.

‘We are happy to take part and will talk to all the broadcasters.‘ 

Mr Stewart has upped the pressure on Mr Johnson to sign up to televised leadership debates, saying he wanted them to go ‘mano a mano‘

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International development Secretary Mr Stewart had already upped the pressure on Mr Johnson to sign up to televised leadership debates, saying he wanted them to go ‘mano a mano‘. 

Under Tory leadership election rules MPs first vote on a wide field of candidates until just two are left. 

 They then face a head-to-head vote from the party membership across the nation.

Under the timetable set out by Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis and the 1922 vice-chairmen, nominations for leader will close in the week beginning June 10.  

Mrs May is due to step down as Tory leader the week before on June 7.

The party hopes to have a new leader installed in time for Parliament‘s summer recess at the end of July.

Fran Unsworth, the director of news and current affairs, said: ‘The decision being made by Conservative Party members will profoundly affect us all, so it feels right that audiences get a chance to see the candidates debate with each other, and that we scrutinise the various policy proposals they will be standing on.

‘Our plans include bringing the final two candidates in front of the same Question Time audience on the same night to be quizzed by the public, as although the final say will fall to Conservative party members, it‘s firmly in the public interest for audiences to question and hear from the next potential Prime Minister.‘

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