Sunday, 22 February 2015
Tories and Lib Dems: Debates unlikely to happen
Reports today emerging from Lib Dem HQ suggest that the television debates are unlikely to go ahead this year. A senior Lib Dem said that David Cameron was attempting to "Scupper" the debates. The source added that the broadcasters had made a "Massive strategic error" by inviting Plaid Cymru and the SNP, and that their inclusion was almost certain to rule out the debates from ever happening. "I do not see how this is going to happen" he added.
Alastair Campbell, Labour's ex spin doctor, said that David Cameron was trying to avoid giving Mr Miliband the chance to improve public perceptions.
"I think the debates are one of those things that can be a game-changing moment," Mr Campbell said earlier on the Andrew Marr Show.
"People talk about it being Farage. I think he’s worried about Ed Miliband actually doing better than people expect him to and he turns it through the debate. So they’re trying desperately to avoid them. I sort of understand what they’re trying to do. But I think there is a price to pay given that he, Cameron, said that last time these are fundamental to democracy."
A senior Tory admitted that the Prime Minister was trying to avoid the debates.
“The prime minister’s view is, ‘We said to you [the broadcasters], you are obsessed about debates and they took up too much energy last time. We didn’t have an election campaign. We had a debates campaign.’