Trustwatch 2024 verdict on first all-party debate


Last night saw the first TV debate with senior figures from all the main parties. In an election where many people feel uninspired by the two main parties and where Reform have seen a huge surge in the polls, this could have been an important moment for the other – the Green party, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, Reform and the SNP – to get into the spotlight. Farage’s return to the front line of politics, becoming leader of Reform earlier in the week, also made this  

However, the debate followed key controversies around Sunak leaving D-day early – which continued to dominate headlines going into the debate. The question centred around how this would play out in the debate, and whether any other parties leaders would grab headlines back.

The day after the debate, we gathered reactions among some of those in our panel – most of whom hadn’t watched the debate. We asked them at noon on Saturday 8th June about what they had heard and how it made them feel about trust in the different leaders, and on different issues. People raised the D-day incident without prompt, but also referred to wider distrust in politics. People also raised different controversies surrounding Farage.

What follows is the verbatim messages from our WhatsApp chats. In describing the voting behaviour of each member of the panel, we’re referring to the change between the 2019 vote, and their stated voting intention expressed before the campaign began.

People expressed anger and disbelief at Sunak’s D-day incident

2019 Conservative voter, intending to vote Conservative

I thought Sunak was a joke and he should never have left France as it was a historic moment to pay respects to the war dead and veterans. Totally inexcusable, then to come on the debate and said he cared that was ridiculous. 

[It was a] massive mistake and then trying to justify it, just another notch in being untrustworthy


Can he really be that incompetent? It almost seems as though he wants to throw the election. The Conservative party faces a threat to its very existence. Pretty crazy really.

People had mixed opinions on the extent to which the Conservatives could be trusted

2019 Conservative voter, intending to vote Conservative

Personally I thought that Penny Mordaunt came out on top, she fact checked and was clear and concise on her questioning and answers, but politicians are professional liars. 

Conservative to Labour switcher

It’s still very hard to trust any of them as from past experience, politicians have always over promised lead up to elections to get the votes but deliver very little once they have been elected. I do not trust the Conservative Party at all anymore because of the fact that they have been in power for the last 14 years yet the country is still in a bad place economically etc. Brexit was a huge mistake and it was the conservatives that were in power at the time of EU referendum elections. They as our elected party should have thought of the impact it would have on the country in the coming years before even putting it out to the public about an EU referendum. I have lost all faith in the the Conservative Party. During covid they put social distancing rules in place yet they didn’t follow these rules.

Farage was controversial for multiple reasons

2019 Conservative voter, intending to vote Conservative

I personally wouldn’t trust Farage – went to the US recently and said US politics more important than ours. 


I think Farage is the only person who is talking about one or two of [the important issues], but I think he is appealing to the lowest common denominator through fear. I took at look at the Reform UK website and it was disheartening to see things like “To succeed, we need to do Brexit properly” prominently on the website. Then a graphic of Sir Keir Starmer called “Starmageddon”. So I am not filled with enthusiasm.

People had different reasons for not watching the debate


I don’t think the format lends itself to a productive discussion. I would be more interested to see the various leaders in long form conversations focusing on their political philosophy instead of trying to outperform one another.

Conservative to Labour switcher 

I didn’t watch the debate as I was unaware it was on last night