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Friday Show Debates - inviting conversation on todays biggest topics.

Alongside being one of England's oldest and most active Debating Union's, we are also one of the few remaining University societies that host consistent 'show debates'. Throughout the years we've hosted many prestigious speakers, ranging from cultural icons such as Stephen Fry to former Prime Ministers such as H.H Asquith.  Our exciting debate format not only encourages a great discourse between our panellists but also allows the audience to get involved with our extensive question period, giving members the chance to engage with prestigious speakers. 

access our recent debates.

Michael Shirley 


“Discussing contentious topics from religious freedom to the rise of populism, it is my pleasure to oversee our Friday ‘show’ debates which bring together a panel of prominent speakers to continue Debsoc’s 130-year history of free debate and intellectual discussion"

Jacob Brown

"Fridays represent a fantastic opportunity for politically engaged people to see excellent public speaking and debate topics whether in the debate or at the pub afterwards, making it one of the best socialising opportunities on campus"

Upcoming Debates

This House Would Welcome a Return to the Victorian Era

Throughout the Years

'This House Would Abolish the Monarchy'

Welcoming in a full house - this debate focused on the traditions, charitable endeavours and powers associated with the British Monarchy. The panel included figureheads in the Republican movement such as Graham Smith and Ken Ritchie, as well as royal correspondants Michael Cole and Richard Fitzwilliams.  

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'This House Believes Boris Johnson was the Worst Prime Minister since the Second World War'

An example of how Debating Society tackles contemporary political issues; this debate featured a fantastic panel including former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe and current MP for Devon, Selaine Saxby.


'This House Believes that Law has Nothing to do with Justice'

This debate touched on the complex moral and practical relations between law and justice. The panel included former First Minister of Wales, Carywn Jones!


This House Believes that there should be no co-education of the sexes.

In 1868, women in Britain  first gained access to university education. Almost fifty years later, this debate was held in response to the rise of the womens rights movement, and  saw a record attendance for public debates in the academic year. 

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'This House Believes Christianity has Done More Harm than Good'

An interesting and sophisticated discussion on the doctrine and application of Christian ideology, this debate encapsulates the society's aim to promote free and engaging discussion on campus. Notable speakers include David Voas, Chris Phippen, Simon Taylor and Sir Gary Streeter. 

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'This House Regrets the Rise of Populism'

A fascinating debate which tackled the topic of Populism - political movements that champion, or claim to champion, the common person. Notable speakers include former Conservative MPs Lord Gavin Barwell and David Guake.


This House Believes that conscription is necessary for our Empire.

In response to rising concerns surrounding conscription during the Great War, this student-led debate held in 1915 highlights the willingness for the society to give platform to the ideas of its time. 

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The advantages of being a member of a large family outweigh the disadvantages.

The earliest recorded Friday night debate was held on the 4th of February, 1906 and was notably not held in British Parliamentary style. The student magazine commented on the event, and stated the debate was held with 'eloquence, energy and enthusiasm'.

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