Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn challenges Prime Minister David Cameron to an annual television debate

James Nickerson
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Seven Leaders Of Britain's Political Parties Join Televised Debate
Research suggests television debates engage the electorate (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn believes there should be annual, televised "state of the nation" style debates between Britain's national political leaders, and has challenged Prime Minister David Cameron to take part.

Speaking to The Independent, Corbyn said he hoped the Prime Minister would agree to a cross-party initiative to debate the dominant issues of the year, as well as let leaders be questioned by the public.

"No political leader should shrink from the [challenge] to engage more fully with the public," Corbyn added.

Read more: Corbyn says he enjoys pressure and could become PM

Such debates would help the get the public more interested in politics, Corbyn said, as both leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon and Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said they would endorse the Corbyn's plan.

Corbyn made his comments after an academic study from the University of Leeds found viewers' interest in politics was increased by 30 per cent during the 2015 General Election television debates.

“It is clear the 2015 TV election debates performed a crucially important civic role, reaching sections of the population least likely to be touched by the rest of the campaign; helping people acquire the information they need to make meaningful choices and thereby boosting the electorate’s confidence," said professor Stephen Coleman.

Read more: TV debate - The good, the bad and the soundbites

If a debate of this kind had been held this year, topics would have included Syrian air strikes, tax credits and even the recent flooding in northern Britain, Labour said.

The news also comes after Corbyn told Bradley Wiggins he believes he could become the next Prime Minister.

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