The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky today announce their joint plans to broadcast a series of party leader debates in the run up to the 2015 General Election.
They have written to Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour Leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg and UKIP leader Nigel Farage inviting them to take part. It follows the success of the broadcast debates in 2010, the first in British political history, which were watched by 22 million people.
Responding to the changes in the political landscape and developments in digital media, the jointly proposed plans for 2015 are taking a different format. The party leaders are being invited to take part in three debates:
— One head-to-head debate between the two leaders who could become Prime Minister – Conservative and Labour. This debate will be co-produced by Sky News and Channel 4 and chaired by Jeremy Paxman. Kay Burley will introduce the programme and present the post-debate analysis. The whole programme will be carried live on Sky and Channel 4 and their digital platforms, as well as having a major presence across social media.
— One debate between the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders. This debate will be produced by the BBC and presented by David Dimbleby. It will be broadcast on BBC One with extensive live coverage on other BBC TV and Radio networks and online.
— One debate between the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP leaders. This debate will be produced and broadcast by ITV. The ITV debate, chaired by Julie Etchingham, will air on ITV’s main channel and online
All three debates would take place within the six-week campaign period at a time when the parties will be setting out their policies – to help further engage the audience with the election. The proposal entails three debates at fortnightly intervals on April 2, April 16 and April 30 at locations around the UK.
Each debate would be open to questions across all subject areas and would take place in front of audiences comprising members of the general public, who will put their questions to the leaders. Each broadcaster will make their debate available live to all other media outlets.