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Competitive Debating

In addition to our world-famous Thursday night debates, we run one of the most successful and inclusive competitive debating programmes in the world, representing the University of Cambridge across the globe.

Over the last few years, the Cambridge Union Society has sustained an unprecedented level of success in debating, winning the European Championships, and excelling at the World Championships. We’re also incredibly inclusive, sending significantly more teams to British competitions each year than any other debating society in the world, with a very significant proportion of which having no prior debating experience.

How do we debate?

In every debate there is a motion: a statement, idea or policy that is disputed and framed within the prefix ‘This House’. Usually, the motion is either a policy which changes the status quo (e.g. This House Would Provide All Police Officers With Firearms) or a statement, the truth or falsehood of which is examined in the debate (e.g. This House Regrets the Decline of Marxism in Western Liberal Democracies). There are two sides to the debate: the government and the opposition. The government, also known as the proposition, supports the motion whilst the opposition opposes it. After the debate, the judges will decide which debaters were most persuasive.

Do you want to understand more about how it works? Check out our FAQs.

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