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Brown to face three televised election debates
12-21-2009, 07:02 PM,
#1
Brown to face three televised election debates
Quote:The UK looks set to have its first ever televised leader election debates after a deal was struck between the three big parties and the main broadcasters.

Labour's Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg have agreed to go head-to-head in a series of three debates.

Each clash will last about 90 minutes, with ITV's Alastair Stewart hosting the first and Sky's Adam Boulton the next.

The third of the historic debates will be hosted by the BBC's David Dimbleby.

Live presidential debates in the US and other countries have provided many of the key moments of election campaigns and are seen as having raised voters' interest.

Themed

But in the UK, despite many calls for such debates to be held, there has never been agreement reached between leaders and with broadcasters.

The programmes will be broadcast in peak time during the election campaign and will be between 85 and 90 minutes long in front of a selected audience.

The format of the debates will be the same - even though each will be produced by a different broadcaster - and around half of each debate will be themed.

BBC and Sky will make their programmes available to other broadcasters simultaneously. ITV will make their programme available to other broadcasters immediately after transmission.

Discussions will resume in the New Year to finalise detailed arrangements for the debates.

A spokesman for the Conservatives said: "We are delighted by this announcement. We have been calling for this for a long time and now look forward to finalising the details."

The Labour Party is understood to be happy the debates have been agreed although it would rather they had started earlier in the election campaign.

Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg said he was "delighted": "After a terrible year for politicians because of the expenses scandals, these debates will be an opportunity to start re-engaging people with politics.

"Next year everybody will get the chance to decide this country's future. I hope an open, honest and vigorous debate will encourage more people to have their say at the ballot box."

The election is widely expected to be held on Thursday 6 May although there has been speculation that it could be called for 25 March instead.

Tony Blair

Ric Bailey, the BBC's chief adviser on politics, said a lot of work had been done to get agreement and there was still some way to go on the detail.

He added: "I think it is quite significant in the sense that it's never happened before and all three of the biggest parties in the UK have agreed to do it."

Opposition leaders regularly call for TV debates in the run-up to general elections but while they are commonplace in the US, they have not been held in Britain.

Tony Blair refused to take part in one when he was prime minister and Mr Brown has previously argued that the situation is different in the US, where presidents are directly elected.

British prime ministers have also traditionally argued that they are questioned regularly, at prime minister's questions and in statements to the Commons.

Critics also say such debates overly personalise a UK election campaign, where people vote for a local MP rather than directly for a leader.

There have also been questions about whether the debates should be a head-to-head between the leaders of the two largest parties or whether the Lib Dem leader should also be included.

In October the Scottish National Party said it would consider legal action if its leader - Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond - was not allowed to take part.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8425280.stm
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12-21-2009, 08:57 PM,
#2
RE: Brown to face three televised election debates
Quote:Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg said he was "delighted": "After a terrible year for politicians because of the expenses scandals, these debates will be an opportunity to start re-engaging people with politics.

Sure, we'll just brush that under the carpet now that you're going to entertain us for a few hours. Unfortunately the brainwashed people will forgive and forget, not all of us though, not all of us.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

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