Ed Miliband has promised to attend all three scheduled televised debates, with or without the Prime Minister.
During a speech in Edinburgh, the Labour leader made it clear he was willing to debate, against an empty chair if necessary, whilst simultaneously refusing to be drawn on David Cameron’s challenge to rule out a coalition with the Scottish National Party (SNP).
Cameron had drawn ideological lines two months before the election, saying Labour should refuse to enter government with the SNP, which had wanted to break up the UK at the Scottish independence referendum.
From Miliband however, the talk was of the fighting variety. Of his rival Miliband said:
He says this election is all about leadership, all about the choice between him and me, and when it comes to a debate between him and me, he’s running scared.I say to David Cameron: you can refuse to face the public, but you can’t deny your record. You can try to chicken out of the debates, but don’t ever again claim that you provide strong leadership. You can try to escape the people’s debates, but you will not escape the people’s verdict.
There are set to be three televised debates, two involving the seven main party leaders (the Conservatives, Labour, Ukip, the Lib Dems, the SNP, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru) and one bout of man to man combat between Miliband and Cameron. The Prime minister has agreed to do just a single round; one of the seven-way debates.
Here is the proposed schedule for the debates:
- 2 April (ITV) – seven leaders
- 16 April (BBC) – seven leaders
- 30 April (Channel 4, Sky News) Miliband v Cameron