Televised debates between party leaders 'must go ahead' because they engage young people, Lords insist
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Tuesday 13 May 2014
Televised debates between the party leaders must go ahead at next year’s general election because they engage young voters in politics, a cross-party Lords committee said today.
The call will put pressure on David Cameron not to pull the plug on a repeat of the debates seen for the first time in Britain at the 2010 election. Although the Prime Minister insists he wants them to happen again next year, the other parties have accused him of looking for an excuse to avoid them.
In a report, the Lords Communications Committee said that the live TV contests would tackle apathy among young people, citing polls showing that 87 per cent of 18-24 year-olds said the debates last time led to them discussing the election with friends.
Although the peers admitted that "a whole range of obstacles" stand in the way of a repeat next year, they said they would not expect any leader to walk away from the challenge "against a backdrop of wide public support and manifest expectation that the debates do happen again".
Lord Inglewood, the committee’s Conservative chairman, said: "What has been made very clear to us is that most people would be interested in the debates happening again, and we hope that this report will help to show that and in doing so make it harder for any reluctant party leaders and their strategists to withdraw from participating in something which the public expects to happen and which in a number of ways can be seen to have been in the public interest.”
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran