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UK broadcasters line up election debates

MUMBAI: BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 are jointly announcing a set of UK political leaders’ election programmes, including one live election debate featuring all seven party leaders on 2 April. The announcement follows conversations with all the parties.

The headlines of the agreement are:

  • A debate with seven party leaders to be broadcast on ITV on 2 April. The seven leaders will be: David Cameron (Conservative), Ed Miliband (Labour), Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrat), Nigel Farage (UKIP), Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Natalie Bennett (Greens) and Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru). The live two-hour debate will be moderated by Julie Etchingham.
  • A live question and answer programme on Channel 4 and Sky News featuring David Cameron and Ed Miliband. It will be broadcast on 26 March. The 90-minute programme presented by Jeremy Paxman and Kay Burley will feature separate interviews with David Cameron and Ed Miliband. A studio audience will also put questions directly to the two leaders seeking to be Prime Minister. The leaders will not debate with each other during the programme.
  • A debate involving opposition party leaders hosted by the BBC on 16 April. The debate will include the leaders of Labour, UKIP, the SNP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru. BBC will ensure fair representation of the Northern Ireland parties. The BBC will also ensure fair representation of the government parties – Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – to ensure impartiality. The debate will be moderated by David Dimbleby.
  • A special ‘Question Time’ programme on BBC1, a week before polling day, with David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg answering questions from a studio audience. Each leader will appear separately on the programme to be broadcast on 30 April. It will be presented by David Dimbleby. The BBC will ensure fair representation of other parties.

A spokesperson for the broadcasters said, “We’re delighted that there will be a debate with all the party leaders during the election campaign. The debate on 2nd April will build on the success of the 2010 TV debates which were so highly valued by viewers.

“We’re very pleased to be able to offer viewers an extensive range of programmes, across the four channels, featuring the party leaders interacting directly with voters during the campaign.”