The main broadcasters confirm agreement for the leaders’ debates but will not feature a head-to-head between the Prime Minister and Ed Miliband.
Prime Minister David Cameron appears to have won the battle with the broadcasters as he secures a ‘question and answer’ session with Labour leader Ed Miliband. This will be screened on 26 March, produced by Channel 4 and Sky News. The PM has insisted he would only do one television debate, and it would appear he has got his wish.
ITV will screen a seven-way debate, involving Cameron and Ed Miliband (Labour), Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat), Nigel Farage (UKIP), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Natalie Bennett (Greens) and Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru). Moderated by ITV News presenter Julie Etchingham, the two-hour debate will air 2 April.
On the 16 April, the opposition parties will then take part in a debate to be screened on BBC One. This would not include David Cameron or Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. After protest from Northern Irish political party, the DUP, the BBC has said that parties from Northern Ireland will be fairly represented in this debate, as will the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, due to impartiality rules.
A week before the nation goes to the polls, the BBC will screen a special Question Time programme. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg will appear separately and take questions from the audience. David Dimbleby will host.
“We’re very pleased to be able to offer viewers an extensive range of programmes, across the four channels, featuring the party leaders interacting directly with voters during the campaign.” – Spokesperson for the broadcasters
The broadcasters recently stated they would not be changing their plans to screen 2 seven-way debates and a head-to-head. However, the Prime Minister was insistent he would only take part in one debate, which the broadcasters have now agreed to with this new format.