General election 2017: Theresa May agrees to BBC Question Time but refuses head-to-head debate with Jeremy Corbyn

The BBC has announced two shows which will see party leaders questioned by members of the public

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Indy Politics

Theresa May will take part in a live TV election programme but it will not involve going head-to-head with Jeremy Corbyn.

Instead the Prime Minister will only be questioned by members of a studio audience in a BBC Question Time special to be aired in early June.

There will also be a seven-way head-to-head debate involving other senior figures from the main parties, including the Tories and Labour, at the end of the month.

The BBC made the announcement as it also emerged Ms May will also do a BBC One Show interview with husband Philip on Tuesday May 9. 

A poll for The Independent found that a majority of the public want the leaders to directly debate each other in live televised debates.

Ms May had been criticised after refusing to take part in a head-to-head contest, with rivals accusing her of "running scared", but Mr Corbyn had also signalled he was unlikely to take part if the Tory leader did not.

David Dimbleby will host the two Question Time specials in which leaders will face audience questions consecutively, similar to an event involving David Cameron and Ed Miliband in 2015.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will appear on June 2 and there will then be a further show on June 4 with Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon on June 4.

Presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme Mishal Husain will then moderate the seven-way debate on May 31, including representatives of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Green Party and UKIP.

There will then be a final BBC Newsbeat Youth debate on June 6 with an audience of 16-34 year olds, hosted by Tina Daheley in Manchester.

ITV has already announced it will run a live event on May 18 with the leaders of seven parties invited to take part, and the event going ahead if any leader fails to turn up.