Redrafted TV debate plans put PM under pressure

Prime Minister David Cameron meets with Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick at the Scottish Parliament earlier today. Picture: Hemedia

Prime Minister David Cameron meets with Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick at the Scottish Parliament earlier today. Picture: Hemedia

Share this article
41
Have your say

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 would see the BBC and ITV staging debates involving the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party, the Greens, Ukip, and Plaid Cymru.

The third debate is expected to remain a head to head ­between the Tory and Labour leaders, shown on Sky and ­Channel 4.

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”. They said: “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.”

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said: “If it is true that SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will be included in UK-wide debates under the broadcasters’ new proposals, it represents very welcome progress.

“With a larger membership than the Lib Dems and Ukip combined, and more elected MPs than Ukip, the case for including the SNP in the televised debates is unanswerable.”

SEE ALSO

SNP call for inclusion in election TV debate

FOLLOW US

Twitter | Facebook | Google+

-----------------------------------------

Subscribe to our DAILY NEWSLETTER (requires registration)

-----------------------------------------

SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS

iPhone | iPad | Android | Kindle

Back to the top of the page