Labour hopefuls
Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh, Tristram Hunt and Liz Kendall (Getty)

Labour leadership hopefuls will be forced to face their electoral demons when the candidates clash on live TV in June.

The leading left-of-centre politicians will debate on the BBC's flagship current affairs TV show Newsnight in the wake of their party's disastrous defeat at the general election.

The broadcast, presented by Laura Kuenssberg, will be aired on BBC2 and the BBC News Channel at 7pm on 17 June and the event will be held in Nuneaton.

The West Midlands town will evoke bad memories for Mary Creagh, Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham after Labour failed to win the marginal seat at the general election.

The constituency was on former leader Ed Miliband's so-called "hit list" of top target seats at the election. But his party's plan to take the constituency was laid to waste when Tory incumbent Marcus Jones more than doubled his majority to 4,882 and the local candidate secured 45.5% of the vote.

Labour hopeful Vicky Fowler only drummed up a vote share of 34.9%, down from 36.9% in 2010 when another candidate ran for the crunch seat.

Ian Katz, editor of Newsnight, said: "Five years ago, Newsnight staged the first televised hustings in the race to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader and we're delighted to be giving viewers a ringside seat for the fascinating argument over the future of the party at this pivotal moment."

The leadership contest was triggered after Miliband resigned from the top job in the wake of the disappointing election result.

The race has already seen a few dramatic twists and turns after Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, quit just days after putting his name into the hat.

Elsewhere, Tristram Hunt shocked pundits and commentators after he revealed his support for Kendall and announced he was not entering the contest.

Harriet Harman, Labour's acting leader, said: "We need robust, tough, televised hustings which involve the public. And we cannot just hold hustings in our Labour heartlands, we have to go to areas where we didn't win.

"That's why I am delighted that we've agreed that BBC2's Newsnight will host the first official hustings involving a studio audience in Nuneaton and we look forward to working with other broadcasters."