The Guardian
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Election 2015: Cameron agrees to just one TV debate


DAVID Cameron has said he will take part in only one televised debate ahead of the general election, featuring seven party leaders.

The announcement rules out a head-to-head clash with Labour leader Ed Miliband ahead of the 7 May poll.

Downing Street said it was a “final offer” and criticised the “chaos” of the negotiating process.

Other parties criticised the PM, accusing him of “acting like a chicken” and trying to “bully” broadcasters.

On Twitter, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg told Mr Cameron people wanted the debates to go ahead and added: “Stop holding them to ransom by trying to dictate the terms.”

The broadcasters said they would respond to the Conservatives’ proposal in due course.

Under Mr Cameron’s proposal, one 90-minute contest would take place before 30 March, when the official general election campaign is likely to start.

Downing Street said the Democratic Unionist Party should also be considered for inclusion.

It follows fierce debate over how the debates should be organised.

Speaking about Mr Cameron’s “final offer”, BBC deputy political editor James Landale said: “Water that was pretty muddy has just got muddier.”

Broadcasters have proposed a total of three debates.

The BBC and ITV were to hold two, both involving the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Greens.

A third debate – hosted by Sky and Channel 4 – would feature a head-to-head between Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband.

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