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Cameron may duck TV election debates

  • @_richardhall

David Cameron may not take part in televised debates of party leaders in the run-up to the next general election, it was reported last night.

The Conservative Party chairman, Grant Shapps, said that it was not certain that Mr Cameron would debate with other party leaders in 2015, as he did in 2010, when televised debates were held for the first time.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s performance in those debates saw his party’s standing in the polls improve at the expense of both Labour and the Tories.

In an interview with The Times, Mr Shapps said nothing had yet been decided: “I had very mixed feelings about the leaders’ debates last time round. It may or may not have made a difference. The reason I’ve got mixed feelings is to do with the shape of the campaign, which was then all about the debates – it’s not important what you do up in Newcastle on a particular day, it’s all about the debate that evening or that’s coming out.”

Mr Shapps added: “I’m open-minded. I don’t know if it will happen. There will be a discussion.”

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are said to be expecting the debates to go ahead, but all three parties have disagreed over the format they could take. There has been some suggestion that there may be only one debate, rather than three as in 2010.