Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

British leader says no to televised debates

British leader says no to televised debates

Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, dared broadcasters to hold debates with an empty chair on stage.

The Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday that she will not face Mr Corbyn and other party leaders in live TV debates in the run-up to the June 8 poll, insisting that campaigning should be about getting "out and about" meeting voters.

But if May can withstand the public scorn, she doesn't have much incentive to show up for a debate - her party's already the heavy favorite to carry the election.

Mr Munro told The Daily Telegraph: "There is a proven track record over two elections and two referendums that debates reach huge audiences including a lot of young people who don't watch conventional political coverage in great numbers".

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused Mrs May of "bottling" the debates and urged broadcasters to "empty chair" her if she refused to take part.

Broke news of ITV General Election leaders debate directly to Theresa May.

No details of format or date have yet been released, but it is expected that Julie Etchingham will host the programme, as she did in 2015, when seven leaders including David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg took part in a two-hour showdown.

'It is a unsafe policy, staying above the fray when you are saying the country's coming together and we are united on this Brexit issue, and when she knows a lot of Remainers still have a lot to say and are not going to shut up and may not vote the way she wants.

In the United States, generations of voters have grown used to debates and consider them part of the job application.

ITV said it would push ahead with a debate, while the BBC has also now said it wants the studio audience events to happen. Germany's Angela Merkel will nearly certainly face off with her challengers later this year.

Meanwhile, Scottish LibDem chief Willie Rennie has called for a televised Scottish leaders' debate.

Having TV debates during an election would allow the public the chance to see what party leaders are offering and how well they can defend their views.

The format could be similar to European Union referendum debates in which David Cameron and Michael Gove faced questions from a live audience in separate programmes.

The opposition again piled on the pressure in the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Question Time. Cameron won the election.

Mr Corbyn said the PM's stance was "rather strange", adding: "I say to Theresa May, who said this election was about leadership, Come on and show some'".

"The prime minister is not a personality that enjoys this kind of thing", Bartle said.

She says she prefers to "get out and about and meet voters".

Ms Sturgeon tweeted: "If PM doesnt have the confidence to debate her plans on TV with other leaders, broadcasters should empty chair her and go ahead anyway".

But many people are not happy with her decision, accusing her of dodging scrutiny by avoiding the debates.

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