General election TV debate dates announced

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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DAVID Cameron and Ed Miliband will be pitched in a head-to-head live televised debate exactly a week before the May 7 general election, if the TV showdowns go ahead, it has been announced.

Britain’s four major broadcasters announced the order in which they will screen three proposed debates, which was decided by drawing lots.

ITV won the right to stage the first debate, scheduled for April 2, which will pitch Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband against Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg, Ukip’s Nigel Farage, the Greens’ Natalie Bennett, the Scottish National Party’s Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru.

The same line-up of seven leaders have been invited to take part in the second debate, a fortnight later on April 16, which will be hosted by the BBC.

And the final showdown between the two men most likely to emerge from the general election as prime minister has been scheduled for April 30 on Sky News and Channel 4.

Mr Cameron has yet to confirm whether he will take part in any or all of the debates, having expressed concern at the exclusion of the Democratic Unionist Party from the format proposed by the broadcasters. However, the TV companies have indicated their determination to go ahead with the broadcasts in the absence of any leader not willing to take part.

Liberal Democrats have voiced dissatisfaction with the proposal to exclude Mr Clegg from the third debate.