ITV, BBC, Sky and Channel 4 have announced the dates for the TV debates of the UK’s party leaders. ITV informed, however, that it is not certain that all the leaders will agree to participate.
The final timetable followed weeks of lengthy negotiations between the main party leaders and broadcasters.
After Ofcom (the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries) ruled that UKIP should be represented in the televised debates, Mr. Cameron insisted the Green Party should also be included.
The TV debaters: 1. David Cameron (Conservative). 2. Ed Miliband (Labour). 3. Nigel Farage (UKIP). 4. Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats). 5. Nicola Sturgeon (SNP). 6. Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru). 7. Natalie Bennett (Green Party).
The dates, which came about by drawing lots, will be:
ITV – April 2nd: The Debate will be between the Party leaders of the Liberal Democrats, Labour, Conservatives, UKIP, the Green Party, the SNP, and Plaid Cymru. Newscaster Julie Etchingham will moderate the debate.
BBC – April 16th: The Debate will be between the same leaders as on April 2nd. David Dimbleby will moderate the debate.
Sky and Channel 4: A head-to-head debate between David Cameron (Conservative) and Ed Miliband (Labour). Jeremy Paxman will moderate the debate, and Sky’s Kay Burley will introduce the programme and present the post-debate analysis.
ITV said the Labour Party confirmed Ed Miliband will take part.
Labour challenging Cameron over debates
As soon as the announcement of the debate dates were published, Labour responded with a challenge to the Tories.
Douglas Alexander, Chair of Labour’s General Election Strategy, wrote the following letter to the Conservatives:
“You will now be aware that broadcasters have today decided – after the drawing of lots – that the head-to-head leaders’ debate between Mr. Cameron and Mr. Miliband will take place on April 30, just seven days before the General Election.”
“I am happy to confirm on Mr Miliband’s behalf that he will turn up to debate Mr Cameron on 30th April. Can you today confirm that Mr. Cameron will be there too?”
“Failure to answer this question will lead many to conclude that you and Mr Cameron are reluctant to give the British people the chance to make up their own minds.”
“The broadcasters have set the date. The invitation is in the post. The only question remaining is whether David Cameron is willing to go head-to-head with Ed Miliband.”