Broadcasters to stick to Election debate plan

Date: 06.03.2015     Last updated: 06.03.2015 at 16.19
Category: News; Corporate
Today the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky confirm they will continue with the series of televised leaders' debates as planned in the General Election campaign.

The broadcasters welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has for the first time agreed to take part in a televised debate. However, the group believes there needs to be two seven-way debates of a minimum of two hours each, within the election campaign, allowing time to properly represent the views of all parties, covering a broad range of subjects. The broadcasters also believe that a head-to-head debate between the two individuals who could become Prime Minister - David Cameron and Ed Miliband - is important - something the Prime Minister has publicly supported.

The debates will go ahead on the following dates:

2nd April: ITV produced seven way debate with the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, UKIP, the SNP and Plaid Cymru

16th April: BBC produced seven way debate with the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, UKIP, the SNP and Plaid Cymru

30th April: Sky News and Channel 4 produced head to head debate between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition

As Sky News and Channel 4 have already said they are prepared to hold the two party debate on a different date if the leaders of the Labour and Conservative parties can agree on a date.

The broadcasters would like the Prime Minister to reconsider taking part in all of these debates. 22 million people watched the leaders' debates in 2010 and there is a public desire and expectation for them to happen again in 2015

The broadcasters proposals have come after extensive work over the last six months to ensure the public have the opportunity to watch televised election debates once more. The group have worked in an independent, impartial manner, treating invited parties on an equitable basis. They have listened to the views expressed by all parties and adapted the proposals to take into account electoral support.

The broadcasters will continue to work closely with all parties invited to take part in the televised debates to bring them to their millions of viewers across the UK. The heads of news of all four broadcasters would welcome the opportunity to meet Mr Cameron, or his representatives, to discuss the debates.

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