U.K. Broadcasters Intensify Pressure on Cameron Over TV DebatesSvenja O’Donnell
Britain’s main broadcasters intensified pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to take part in televised debates before the May 7 election by reiterating that they’ll go ahead without him should he refuse to attend.
The BBC, Sky News, ITV and Channel 4 published new proposals Friday for the debates to include smaller political parties. They would take the form of one debate between Cameron and opposition Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, and two debates between leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the U.K. Independence Party, the Scottish National Party, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru, the broadcasters said in a joint statement.
“The party leaders will be formally invited to take part in these debates,” the broadcasters said. “In the event that any of the invited party leaders decline to participate, debates will take place with the party leaders who accept the invitation.”
Cameron had previously declined to take part in the debates on the basis they excluded the Green Party and were therefore not representative. The original proposal only included the Tories, Labour and UKIP.
Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and UKIP’s Nigel Farage then wrote to Cameron, saying they’d “ask the broadcasters to press ahead with the debates and provide an empty podium should you have a last-minute change of heart.”
The debates will be held about two weeks apart, the broadcasters said.