Party election broadcasts 2014
Use the links below to watch campaign broadcasts for the 2014 European Parliament and local elections. This page will be updated regularly throughout the campaign before polling day on 22 May.
Use the links below to watch campaign broadcasts for the 2014 European Parliament and local elections. This page will be updated regularly throughout the campaign before polling day on 22 May.
Tweets: So we gave our panel in Glasgow a #selfiestick .... #bbcqt
Bit more on the Chuka Umunna interview with House magazine. In it Mr Umunna says he backs radical devolution, including the principle of the Manchester NHS deal, and he declares that "markets and business are a force for good", and that "business is the solution, it is not the problem". He also speaks for the first time about when he hastily left a Sky News interview after criticising presenter Dermot Murnaghan for asking him questions about Eric Pickles' letter to mosques in the UK - which he had not read yet.
Tweets: That TV election debate story in full:
Senior Labour frontbencher Chuka Umunna has said that business should be seen as a "force for good". The shadow business secretary said that a thriving commercial sector was the key to lifting people out of poverty. In an interview with Parliament's The House magazine, he warned that any discussion about greater fairness was "pretty academic" without firms generating profits, jobs and growth.
For those political junkies out there Question Time will be aired tonight (22:45GMT) on BBC 1. The programme is in Glasgow this evening - here who's on the panel:
Do you want to talk to senior politicians live on TV and tell them what they need to do to win your vote? Victoria Derbyshire is holding a series of big debates during the general election. If you would like to take part in a debate, get in touch (see picture below).
Tweets: Positive talks with President @Poroshenko re situation on ground, #Minsk agreement & reform. Reaffirmed strong UK support for #Ukraine.
For those who missed what UKIP leader Nigel Farage said earlier about the TV election debates, here's a video clip. He urged the broadcasters to "call Mr Cameron's bluff".
Tweets: BBC Trust say decision to bar DUP from #tvdebates not a breach of European Convention on Human Rights
Here's a bit more from Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP, on the recent news that the party's appeal to be included in the TV debates has been rejected by the BBC Trust.
He said: "The broadcasters really have a big question to ask of themselves now, having made a complete mess of this, and in my view this means that from now on in we should have an independent commissioner or such like looking after these events, the broadcasters and politicians should be left out of it."
Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP, has told BBC News the BBC Trust's decision to exclude the party from the TV debates "defies belief". He said it was "wrong, irrational and unjust".
"I think potentially this could be another nail in the coffin of the television debates. The DUP have made very clear they believe they have a cast iron legal case to seek a judicial review challenging the BBC's decision, and potentially bring these TV debates to a grinding halt. The BBC Trust take the view that they are perfectly entitled to exclude the DUP from these debates because Northern Ireland is a distinct political landscape, different to Wales, England and Scotland. The BBC too are concerned that if the DUP were allowed into these debates, then they would have had to allow Sinn Fein, the Alliance Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and the debates would have just become unwieldy and totally unmanageable."
On PM, Roger Mosey, the former editorial director of the BBC, says the broadcasters should "stand firm" in the row over the election TV debates. He supports Nick Clegg's offer to debate against Ed Miliband in place of David Cameron. But ex-Conservative MP Tim Collins thinks that clash would attract few viewers and doubts it would "do either party much good".
The BBC Trust has rejected the Democratic Unionist Party's appeal to take part in the TV election debates. The move is now likely to trigger a judicial review by the DUP over their exclusion from the debates. A DUP spokesman described the decision by the BBC Trust as "a farce".
YouGov spokesman Joe Twyman said: "A lot of people want debates, over three quarters of the population say they would like to see them in this election. But if they didn't take place would it actually make a difference? I imagine probably not, particularly if the decision was made now in the next couple of weeks it would probably be forgotten by the time the campaign came round, because the party machines would just get on with it."
He conceded that the TV debates would only influence public opinion severely if one of the parties made it into a campaign theme, and the issue gained more momentum. But even then he warned: "The blame game will fly in every possible direction and it's unlikely to stick on one particularly person even though it's very clear David Cameron does not want these debates in a million years."
Is Ben Elton sending you emails? You must be on a Labour Party database. All the parties are using tricks learned from direct marketing to sell merchandise - including novelty tea towels and fridge magnets - and raise funds. I cast an eye over the best and worst efforts in this piece.
MPs will be banned from claiming expenses for dinners, TV licences and pre-23:00 taxis after the general election - even if their 10% pay hike does not go ahead. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) proposed a raft of curbs to perks in 2013 as part of a wider package that included salaries rising from £67,000 to £74,000. But the watchdog has now confirmed that politicians' expenses will be cut from 8 May, even though the pay rise is still subject to review and David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have signalled they may block it.
Across in the House of Lords a debate is ongoing about women's economic empowerment. Baroness Crawley - the former chairwoman of the Women's National Commission, and now Labour peer - has focused on how it might be affected if the UK were to leave the EU, and she warns that "Farage is a feminist issue". She argues that leaving the EU would hurt women's economic empowerment. "The EU is not only the UK's largest economic market, it's also the union that helped establish standards for working men and women for their rights at work," she tells peers. "I would not want to see women in the UK miss out on future rights for work by leaving the European Union."
Deputy leader of the SNP Stewart Hosie said: "What David Cameron is doing is giving a very good impression of actually running scared from having his record held up to scrutiny." He adds: "What we cannot have is one politician - however important - dictating the terms of the debates for everyone else."
Ian Birrell, a former speech writer for David Cameron, said: "I'm not sure how much the public - while I think they like debates and enjoyed them last time - I'm not sure how big a deal it is compared to schools and hospitals and the state of the economy."
He also said he believed the previous TV debates in the 2010 "distorted" the last election campaign, and he added it would be a "big call" for the BBC to challenge the prime minister by empty chairing him.
UK intelligence needs to do more to recruit middle-aged women and mothers to be spies, such as by using the website Mumsnet, MPs say. In a report, the Intelligence and Security Committee said such women were an "untapped recruitment pool" for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. It said more than half of the civil service were women, but the figure was 37% in the intelligence agencies. Hazel Blears, the Labour MP who led the report, called for a culture change. Read the full story here.
It's been a busy day so far with reaction to David Cameron's decision to only take part in one TV debate before the election. At this point, Nick Eardley is signing out for the afternoon, but Dominic Howell will be here until midnight with the latest political news and analysis.
"David Cameron is feart" of the TV debates, SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told the BBC's Glenn Campbell. She says Mr Cameron is "running scared of the public" and that broadcasters should call his bluff and empty chair the prime minister if he doesn't turn up. Ms Sturgeon says she will debate any time, anywhere.
On Daily Politics earlier, UKIP's general secretary Steven Stanbury discussed how the party would spend money currently earmarked for foreign aid. You can watch his package, in which he argues there is a seismic disconnect between political priorities and public opinion, here. His party wants to cut foreign aid by 75% and spend the money in local services.
Katie Ghose, chief executive of the electoral reform society, is the latest to speak about the TV debates. She says the "time for squabbling and tactical manoeuvres" is over, adding that it is voters who will feel let down and democracy that will suffer if the debates do not go ahead. "It's an important part of the mix for millions of people... to have that special opportunity to hear directly from all the party leaders who may have influence or leadership in the next government," she tells BBC News.
Nick Clegg has accused the Tories of behaving with "lofty disdain" over the TV debates. He said his coalition partners were acting as though "they were ordering a drink in a drawing room of Downton Abbey, declaring that they deign to a participate in one debate". He added that it was "no way to treat the British people". And he reiterated his challenge to broadcasters to give him David Cameron's place so Ed Miliband can scrutinise the government's record.
The Western Morning News is covering Nick Clegg's visit to Cornwall, where the Lib Dem leader has been promoting his plans to offer a Cornish Assembly which would get new powers over local services. Stephen Gilbert, Lib Dem MP for St Austell and Newquay, tells the paper: "A central plank of my political belief is that democracy should be opened up to our communities and powers devolved from Whitehall to Cornwall."
Opening a Welsh affairs debate in the Chamber, Glyn Davies, the Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, quotes Megan Lloyd George, the daughter of former Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who said that "no Englishman can understand a Welshman".
Megan Lloyd George became the first woman MP in Wales when she won the Anglesey seat for the Liberal Party in 1929. She later became a Labour MP.
Steve Richards (mentioned in previous entry see 14:44 GMT) also said it was possible broadcasters will "empty chair" David Cameron - hosting the debates even if he doesn't turn up. "Some of them are saying that that will happen, but they will be farcical frankly", he says. "If you haven't got one of the two potential prime ministers in any of the debates... they become pretty dire to watch".
Portraits of famous female parliamentarians should be hung in prominent places around the historic Palace of Westminster after the election, a former women's minister has told the House of Commons. Maria Miller urged a redressing of the balance in the palace, and Speaker John Bercow said he would be an enthusiastic supporter of such a change. Labour MP Emily Thornberry made the case for suffragette Emily Wilding Davison to be added to any list of MPs displayed.
Steve Richards from the Independent says he doubts any debates will take place. He says the debate proposed would be "farcical" - as would any smaller debate without the prime minister. He says he doesn't blame Mr Cameron for his decision, however. "He is going to take hit today, but I think he had more to lose from a one-to-one with Ed Miliband than Ed Miliband would ever have to lose."
The TV debates have generated significant interest among BBC News readers today. There are more than 1,700 comments on our story about David Cameron's TV debates stance. The highest rated is one reader questioning whether The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will come up in the debates (if they happen). You can read more about what TTIP is here. The second asks when we will we stop debating debates and start talking about policy instead. And the third highest rated asks: "Who cares how slick and smarmy they appear, voting should be based on the manifesto not appearances, sharp suits and how photogenic they appear."
A number of contributors suggest David Cameron should be "empty chaired" if he doesn't want to take part. Other says the debates wouldn't tell us much, so aren't much of a loss. You can add your comments or email us firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media @bbcpolitics. We'll continue to feature your views over the course of the afternoon.
Earlier, Nigel Farage told Loose Women on ITV that he expects the number of MPs his party has after the election to be in "double figures". On the Telegraph website, James Kirkup argues that the number the party will end up with won't be enough. More here.
Over on The New Statesman, Stephen Bush is the latest to have his say on the TV debates. The proposal made by David Cameron, he says, appears reasonable at first glance. However, he argues "they're carefully designed to ensure that the Prime Minister's requests can't be met, and to prevent the debates from happening." More here.
Tweets: #tvdebates debacle illustrates need for UK equivalent of US Commission on Presidential Debates if they happen in future campaigns
More on the SNP's strong showing in the opinion polls. Polling expert John Curtice says that given Labour and Conservatives are "virtually neck and neck" at the moment, it looks like it is going to be "impossible after 7 May to form a government without at least the acquiescence of the SNP". What does this mean? Not only has the SNP ruled out making David Cameron prime minister, but their policy demands on matters like Trident and austerity would also be tricky for Labour, he says. This raises questions about how easy it will be for anyone to form a stable government after the election, he adds.
Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, has been discussing polls that suggested the SNP could win the safest Labour seat in Scotland at the general election. The results largely confirm what many pundits had been saying about the Scottish vote, he says, adding: "The truth is the SNP tide is rising by about 25 points in just about every constituency in Scotland."
Asked how voters will be able to judge Mr Cameron if the debate takes place before the Conservative manifesto is published, Grant Shapps says "people will have a pretty good idea by the end of this month what the different parties want to do". Lucy Powell says Ed Miliband would turn up to the "head-to-head" debate alone, but says he does not want to.
Back on the TV debates, Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps blames the broadcasters, saying they have had five years to sort out arrangements. But Labour's Lucy Powell David Cameron is being "hypocritical", having advocated debates in the past.
On the World at One, professor of political communications Stephen Coleman, of Leeds University, says the last TV debates, in 2010, were "remarkably popular". Two thirds of people surveyed afterwards said they had learned something new, while 87% had discussed them with other people, he says. Prof Coleman says people will not be impressed by David Cameron's "final offer", saying they see it as "kind of part of the constitution now".
How many seats will UKIP win at the election, he is asked at the end of his interview on ITV's Loose Women. Nigel Farage says it will be in double figures
Asked is it all worth it - getting up at 5am and not getting home before midnight - Nigel Farage says you've got to be fairly selfish to get into politics.
"It is really vile" Mr Farage says of the way some politicians are treated by the media. He says he decided to take some time out at the start of the year, but repeats that he is "fit as a flea". He only spends a few hours in the pub each day, he jokes. But his drinking and smoking are "what I actually do", he adds.
UKIP is not going to win the election, but will win a "number of MPs". He suggests the party might be in the same position the Lib Dems were in 2010 and says he'll get a much better deal for his party. Asked if he wants to be deputy prime minister, Mr Farage says on Loose Women it's not what he wants to do.
Nigel Farage says his life has been "pretty up and down" since he went to school. He says he wants to "radically change" politics - the gap between the wealthy and the rest is getting bigger every year and he wants to address that.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has just been asked, tongue-in-cheek, on ITV's Loose Women about his "self esteem issues". That got the biggest laugh from the studio audience so far.
Nigel Farage says he wants to ask David Cameron about immigration and how the Conservative leader thinks it can be controlled without leaving the EU at the TV debates. He tells the ITV programme he wants an end to "unskilled" workers coming to the UK.
On Loose Women, Nigel Farage says he believes David Cameron is trying to sabotage the TV debate process.
Nigel Farage is on Loose Women on ITV soon. At the moment, they're showing him outside having a cigarette and a coffee. The UKIP leader has already tweeted to say he is more nervous than normal.
The interview with Tory chairman Grant Shapps on the TV debates is up on our website now. You can watch it here.
Over on The Daily Telegraph, Rupert Myers has also been analysing the TV debates fall-out. He says David Cameron's decision to only agree to one debate is "shrewd politics". He writes: "Right now, perhaps the greatest electoral asset the Conservatives have is the gulf of public respect and confidence which exists between Cameron and Miliband. A series of TV debates would imperil that advantage."
David Cameron's communications director Craig Oliver criticised the broadcasters "deeply unsatisfactory process" for organising the pre-election TV debates in his letter last night. Today, Isabel Hardman has written a piece for The Spectator saying he has a point. She writes: "Though the prime minister is ducking out of them for the selfish reasons outlined here, the blame must ultimately lie with the broadcasters for making it possible for him to do so. They have managed to mess up at every stage of the process."
tweets: I'm about to go on @loosewomen. Slightly more nervous about this panel than I usually am!
tweets: Is the PM "running scared" or "unblocking the logjam"? We'll talk TV debates with @grantshapps & @LucyMPowell #wato
David Cameron was speaking just now about TV debates during a visit to promote housebuilding policies. It was also a first for Politics Live - the first chance to use a fresh pic of a politician cooing over a baby. We're pretty sure there'll be plenty more to come over the weeks ahead.
Labour MP Paul Flynn said yesterday's Prime Minister's Questions was "the worst ever" and suggested scrapping the weekly session. He tells Daily Politics there is nothing new about prime ministers not answering questions, but says there is often no connection between the question and the answer now. It drags politics into "further disrepute", Mr Flynn says. He doesn't believed the session can now be reformed and wants a whole new system. Andrew Percy says it's a "pretty unedifying" spectacle but that it serves a purpose, particularly for constituency issues.
The Daily Politics is now discussing Labour in Scotland and recent polls suggesting the party could lose most of its seats. Lord Adonis says there is a long way to go in the campaign, telling the programme it is clear that opinion in Scotland is "volatile". Jim Murphy is doing a great job of re-energising the party, he adds. He won't be drawn on whether Labour should rule out of a deal with the SNP before the election.
If Miliband is so weak, why is Cameron so afraid of debating with him? That's the question Polly Toynbee is asking over on the Guardian site today. You can read her thoughts here.
tweets: On today's show: @UKIP leader @Nigel_Farage takes on our women, plus comedian @RealMattLucas will be joining us too! #Elections2015
Finally on TV debates on Daily Politics, Labour peer Lord Adonis says the broadcasters should go ahead regardless of David Cameron's views. He suggests the prime minister will be forced to take part if that happens.
The prime minister's debate plan is "completely workable", says Grant Shapps. Labour peer Lord Adonis says most members of the public think the 2010 debates changed things in terms of TV debates becoming a fixture of UK elections. "To turn the clock back" was a "disservice" to the public, he adds.
We've run out of time, Grant Shapps says, to hold the debates as planned by the broadcasters. Let's get the parties in and have a debate just before the election campaign proper, he adds. And he denies the claim his party wanted to avoid the debates at all costs.
If the debates are held during the campaign people won't talk about anything else - such as the issues that matter, Mr Cameron says. He adds that he has said for the past three years that the debates should take place before the campaign proper begins.
David Cameron says he wants there to be a TV debate. He says that rather than trying to avoid a debate, he is trying to "unblock the logjam" that the "broadcasters helped to create", so "let's get on, let's have the debate that matters the most". By putting this proposal forward, he says, "we'll actually see one take place".
Grant Shapps says the approach to debates has been messy. The debates at the last election sucked the life out of the campaign, he adds. There is still no clear sense of what broadcasters want, the Tory chairman adds.
Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, says there has been "chaos and confusion" over TV debates. He says "lots of people" haven't accepted the proposals.
During his earlier interview Mr Miliband was also asked about Scotland and polling which shows his party could lose a number of previously safe seats. The Labour leader said "the fight is on" in Scotland. He added: "I hope people who want to see the back of the Conservatives in Scotland will vote Labour."
In Scotland, First Minister's questions is under way. Follow it here.
A bit more from Ed Miliband. He says it is "clear David Cameron is ducking the [head-to-head] debate". He adds: "He should stop ducking and weaving and name the date".
Mr Miliband says he will take part in the seven leader debate, but continues: "We also need the debate between me and David Cameron". He says he is open to debate the prime minister at any time, in any place. And he adds that the public will no tolerate Mr Cameron "running away".
On the possibility of a one-on-one debate with Nick Clegg, as suggested by Lord Ashdown, Mr Miliband says it is up to broadcasters.
Ed Miliband has accused David Cameron of "cowering from the public" over the TV debates. The Labour leader says the British public "deserves" the debate. Mr Miliband says he is ready to debate "any time, any place, anywhere - he should stop ducking and weaving".
tweets: Ed Miliband accuses PM of "cowering from the public" over #tvdebates
Some more comments from Politics Live readers on the TV debates
No meaningful mass media debate between the main party leaders? Just another example of politicians' disrespect for the population at large. They all think that the ONLY moment of accountability is at the ballot box and violently object to any other forum (unless it`s in their own particular interest).
Am I the only one who would be thankful if no debates took place at all? Televised Punch and Judy Politics can be seen every day on the news and in particular at Wednesday's Prime Ministers Questions. This is not informative nor even remotely entertaining.
The problem is, the Conservative party have backed themselves into a corner. They have been banging on for the last few years how weak a candidate Ed Miliband has been and it's come back to haunt them.
Expectations of Ed are so low, even an even debate would be a landslide victory for the Labour Party. From the Conservative point of view, it doesn't really make sense to give Labour the platform, where the best they could do is break even.
It seems unlikely that any of the party leaders will win a majority in May. They are going to have to work together for the common good of an electorate tired of their silly and destructive adversarial politics.
Let's make a reality TV show instead. It might be interesting if all the party leaders were shut in a plush stately home with plenty of TV cameras and given a task or do - agree a plan to build an environmentally sustainable economy in the UK would be a good one. There are many more tasks like that to be tackled.
It would be tempting to make them stay in there until they agreed. In the real world we all need politicians to work together for the common good - something else they would have to agree on.
It might even make good television. It is what Parliament needs to become after 7 May.
Nothing gets TV executives salivating - and political leaders quaking - like a live televised debate. Beneath the glare of the studio lights, a politician is at his most exposed. One stumble, a flash of anger, an inappropriate joke, a memory lapse or just a failure to bring your "A Game", and the whole shooting match can be over. The fate of nations sometimes hang in the balance. But the lessons are still there to be learned....
Here's what the main players are saying:
On TV debates the PM's spokesman referred all questions back to Director of Communications Craig Oliver's letter of last night. Asked if David Cameron was running scared the spokesman said "that is not a premise I would accept".
Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by former Labour minister Andrew Adonis as guest of the day. Conservative chairman Grant Shapps will be talking TV debates. MPs Paul Flynn and Andrew Percy will debate whether PMQs should be abolished, while a film from Giles Dilnot looks at civilian use of drones after a parliamentary report on the issue. And they will be looking at party names after the Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party was told by the Electoral Commission that its moniker was "describing women as a sexual object in a demeaning way and would cause offence if it were to appear on ballot paper". You can watch the programme live from 1200-1300, or later, on the Live Coverage tab on this page (if you're reading this on the BBC app, to watch the it live you have to click here and open the page in a browser)
William Hague has told MPs that the Prime Minister's offer for a television debate should be taken up. Speaking in the Commons this morning he said: "When I recall asking Tony Blair when I was leader of the opposition in 2001 for a television debate there was not even an offer of a debate from Tony, not even the pretence of a debate, there was a very clear 'no debate whatsoever'. And this prime minister is offering a debate and that is an offer that should be taken up that was never offered by Tony Blair in similar circumstances."
tweets: Ms Moneypenny lives. Only 19% of senior civil servants in intelligence agencies are women - report from Intelligence and Security Committee.
tweets: Gordon Brown: #TBT to me at primary school. On #IWD2015 Stand #UpForSchool to empower the next generation of women
So are the debates dead? Well, maybe not. But only if the broadcasters hold their nerve. In other words if they decide to press ahead with the three debates and empty chair the prime minister. It would be a huge decision - and many at Westminster remain sceptical that the BBC would be willing to do this.
However, privately, the broadcasters' insist they will not buckle and will not allow one party to "dictate" the conditions. They insist the single 90 minute seven, or even eight party, debate proposed by the prime minister will "not cover the ground". And crucially, both Labour and the Liberal Democrats say they will still turn up for whatever debates the broadcasters' decide to hold. Ed Miliband will even take part in the head-to-head without David Cameron - and subject himself to a grilling from Jeremy Paxman. Senior Lib Dems say Nick Clegg would be ready to stand in for the prime minister in the final head-to-head, making it a Miliband v Clegg clash.
The danger for the prime minister is that even if the debates lose their impact without him - he risks a backlash from voters for failing to take part. Downing Street's hope - that the broadcasters will buckle and either agree to his proposal or just scrap the whole idea of TV debates for this election.
Earlier, we reported that the home of former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor had been searched by police investigating historical allegations of child abuse. He phoned the Today programme to give his reaction and deny any wrongdoing. You can listen to his interview with James Naughtie here.
Reaction to David Cameron's TV debate decision is coming in thick and fast. Electoral Reform Society Chief Executive Katie Ghose says: "This unseemly squabble over TV debates has to end now. In the run-up to an election that's too close to call, the British public expect to hear from all the party leaders. Everyone involved needs to recognise that fact and come to an agreement before it's too late.
"Compared to other advanced democracies around the world, Britain has been extremely late to the party when it comes to TV debates. It would be a national embarrassment if we end up being the first to leave that party as well. No TV debates in 2015 would be a backward step in terms of our democratic development."
The Democratic Unionist Party says broadcasters have made a "complete and utter mess" of plans to hold pre-election TV debates. The party has begun legal action against the BBC for excluding it from its earlier proposal of two UK TV debates. Today, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster that the BBC and other broadcasters had "messed up big style" during the entire debates process.
Away from Westminster, the European Union has approved the rollout of rural fuel rebates to 17 areas in Scotland and England. The move will mean some retailers can claim back up to 5p per litre duty relief on unleaded petrol and diesel, and pass on the savings to customers. The 17 areas include parts of the Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Northumberland, Cumbria, Devon and North Yorkshire.
Where does the word "hustings" come from? Our colleague Trevor Timpson, the BBC's Vocabularist, has been taking a look.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood says she is "ready to debate the prime minister and the other party leaders at any time".
She adds: "People want these debates to go ahead so that they have the opportunity to hear from the parties that they will be voting for in May. Plaid Cymru is ready for these debates and we look forward to setting out our plans for an alternative to Westminster's austerity agenda. The prime minister's efforts to manipulate the broadcasters are unacceptable and arrogant and it would seem that he is running scared of his record being open to scrutiny."
Former Sky News chief Chris Birkett, who this time is heading up a team hoping to stage a prime ministerial debate on YouTube, says the broadcasters have been firm so far and that he won't be surprised if the broadcasters stick firm with the current plans. But he suggests there may need to be a look at how the debates are organised in the future.
After last night's Ashcroft polling on Scotland, our Scotland correspondent James Cook is out in Glasgow speaking to some of those involved in the election. First up is Glasgow East Tory candidate Andrew Morrison. He says his party is "fighting hard" to increase its share of the vote - especially because Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson is from the constituency. He says the response he gets on the doorsteps has been mixed, with many not having decided how to vote yet. Mr Morrison agrees with our correspondent that Scottish politics is now being seen through the prism of nationalism v unionism.
The British public wants to see the TV debates, according to Labour's Lucy Powell. She says Ed Miliband debating Nick Clegg head-to-head, as suggested earlier by Lord Ashdown and the Liberal Democrat leader, is not the table at the moment. The debate should be between those who could be prime minister after the election and says David Cameron is "running scared".
Some more of your views on the TV debates
David Cameron gives Ed Miliband a thumping (metaphorically) every Wednesday at PMQs - I don't think for a minute that he's running scared or has anything to prove.
Politicians are there to serve us, not vice versa and television is a great medium to reach millions across the country, allowing us to hear how they propose to do that and get a measure of their leadership qualities.
If Cameron can't be bothered to turn up for debates (plural) then I can't be bothered to turn out and vote.
A pointless exercise overhyped by journalists with nothing better to do. The politicians will tell us what they think we want to hear. Far better to judge them on what they have done over the lat few years. Parliamentary question time is a disgrace by all parties
David Cameron is investing "pathetic excuses" over the TV debates, Alastair Campbell says. He is worried out losing them, and that is why he is not taking part, Tony Blair's former director of communications says. And it is an insult to the British people not to give them a chance to see a one-on-one debate, he adds.
He admits he was "sceptical" of Tony Blair taking part in the debates previously, but the precedent has now been set, he says.
tweets: Factors in voters' decisions between Con and Lab and how they've moved. Cons need points top right, Lab top left:
Over in the Commons, Transport questions are just getting under way. Topics today include the Airports Commission, rural railway stations and compensation payments to passengers for delayed rail travel. You can follow today's proceedings on our dedicated Westminster live page.
Nick Clegg bets a UKIP candidate (not Nigel Farage) who calls his programme "several pints" that the Lib Dems will have "many, many, many, many, many more" MPs than his party after 7 May. He says UKIP will be a "pipsqueak" party in comparison.
On defence, Nick Clegg says the spending review will decide how much of GDP goes towards defence in the future. The deputy prime minister says money was misspent to the tune of billions in the past and must be properly spent in the future. It comes amid a debate on whether the UK will be able to honour a commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence.
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