Debating for university students

John Smith Memorial Mace

The John Smith Memorial Mace is one of the largest and oldest debating competitions in the world. The competition features over 200 teams from universities across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Founded in 1954, the Mace is a UK and Ireland Championships, with England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland each holding competitions to choose a national winner, who then face each other in an International Grand Final.

Former winners include Charles Kennedy, Bob Marshall-Andrews MP, The Rt Hon the Lord Hunt of Wirral, Professor Anthony Clare, and the late Labour leader, John Smith, in whose honour the competition was renamed in 1995.

How to apply

Registration is now open.

This year the English leg is being run by Lancaster Debating Union. For full information and registration details please see the facebook event here.

To get involved in the Mace in Ireland, Scotland or Wales, please contact your local convenor.

Scotland's convenor. Wales' convenor. Ireland's convenor.


Before registering, please read our registration policy below.

John Smith Memorial Mace Registration Policy