Pressure on PM over revised debates

Published: Thursday 22nd January 2015 by The News Editor

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David Cameron faces increased pressure to agree to take part in televised debates during the general election campaign after broadcasters put forward a revised format that includes minor parties.

The Prime Minister has insisted he would not appear if Ukip leader Nigel Farage was on the panel but Green leader Natalie Bennett was excluded – sparking claims from opponents that he was “running scared”.

Broadcasters had suggested three debates: one head to head between Mr Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband, another also involving Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, and a third with Mr Farage thrown into the mix.

But fresh proposals – officially unconfirmed by the channels but reported by BBC News – would see the BBC and ITV staging debates involving the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Ukip, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru.

The third debate would remain a head to head between the Tory and Labour leaders, shown on Sky and Channel 4, it was reported.

Asked if the 7-7-2 format would secure Mr Cameron’s participation, a Conservative source said: “Further discussions are planned and we will obviously look at any new proposals presented by broadcasters.”

In a joint statement, the broadcasters said they “remain committed to providing election debates in the run-up to the general election”.

“The debates played an important role in informing millions of our viewers in 2010 and we will continue to work with all the parties to ensure that they happen again in 2015.”

Published: Thursday 22nd January 2015 by The News Editor

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