David Cameron wants to see changes to the format of the televised debates with other party leaders if he is to take part again during the 2015 general election campaign.
The Prime Minister told a Westminster lunch yesterday he was in favour of the debates in principle, but felt that in 2010 they sucked the life out of the rest of the campaign.
Mr Cameron said he had not yet decided whether to sign up for another round of TV clashes and indicated that if they did go ahead, he would favour a less formal format.
“I think TV debates are good. I enjoyed them last time – particularly the last one,” he said.
“We have a fixed-term parliament now, so we can think about it in a slightly different way. I haven’t made my mind up exactly what we should do, but I am in favour of these debates.
“I like campaigning, I like being out there, the public meetings, the awkward moments, the difficulties – it is an incredibly exciting time, trying to explain what you are about and what you are trying to do.
“I found the TV debates took all the life out of it.”
Britain’s first televised leaders’ debates, between Mr Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg, were staged on BBC, ITV and Sky News in 2010 after prolonged negotiations between the parties and the TV companies, which resulted in strict rules on the style of questioning and the division of time for leaders’ answers.
“We started with TV debates that were easy to agree, because they were quite controlled,” said Mr Cameron.
“They were quite dry – what really mattered was just delivering the soundbite down the camera, rather than a proper debate and more interaction.
“I have got an open mind, and there is still two-and-a-half years to go before we have to really think about it.”