Rival political parties have accused David Cameron of “running scared” from the televised debates ahead of the General Election, after he said he wouldn't take part in them unless the Green Party were also included.
The Prime Minister made the comments after draft guidelines were made by Ofcom about who should appear. The report said Ukip may qualify as a major political party making them a potential candidate to appear in the broadcasts in the run-up to May’s election in a blow to the Green Party.
Speaking to the BBC and ITV, Cameron said it would be unfair for the Greens not to take part when "some minor parties like the Liberal Democrats and UKIP" could. "The Greens have a member of parliament, they beat the Liberal Democrats in the last national election - the European Elections, so I don't see how you can have UKIP and not the Greens. That is my very strong opinion,” he told the BBC.
Rival political parties have rounded on the Conservative leader’s comments. Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg tweeted at Cameron to stop making excuses while Labour leader Ed Miliband said he should stop running scared.
@David_Cameron Come on David Cameron, the broadcasters have invited us, the public expect it, just say yes and stop making excuses.— Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) January 8, 2015
David Cameron should stand on his record and stop running scared of TV debates.— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) January 8, 2015
Meanwhile, Ukip leader Nigel Farage who came up trumps in the Ofcom report, called him a chicken.
Looks like Mr Cameron is a chicken running scared over the TV debates. RT if u believe we should be in the debates: https://t.co/HpjI3ylULC— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) January 8, 2015
Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Caroline Lucas agreed Cameron’s stance on the matter was "a decent thing" but accused him of using the issue for his own political purposes. Earlier today she called Ofcom's decision "out of date, undemocratic and indefensible" and has previously called for the party to be included.
It’s thought Cameron would like to avoid the debates so as not to go head-to-head with Ukip, the party which has found popularity among traditional Tory voters.
The current proposed leaders debates will feature the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and Ukip however the final lineup and dates for them to take place have yet to be decided on by broadcasters and political parties.