James Forsyth

Debate deal finally reached

Debate deal finally reached
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After months of negotiations, a final deal on debates has now been reached. There will be no head to head debate between Cameron and Miliband. Instead, there will be one seven way debate on April 2


broadcast on ITV. There will also be an opposition leaders’ debate on the 16


of April on the BBC featuring Labour, the SNP, UKIP, the Greens and Plaid Cymru.

On top of these debates, David Cameron and Ed Miliband will both do separate interviews, taking questions from a studio audience on Thursday for a Channel 4 / Sky programme. Then, on 3oth of April, Cameron, Miliband and Nick Clegg will appear separately on a special edition of Question Time.

The only change from the deal that the Tories said that they had been offered last weekend is that Labour will now take part in the challengers’ debate. Tory strategists are puzzled as to why Labour is so keen to take part in this debate, especially given the risk that Miliband is attacked by the other party leaders. But Labour’s view is that if there’s a debate on, they want to be involved. It remains to be seen if this is a sensible approach.