David Cameron finalising plans to take on 'chicken' Farage in heated TV debate

Sources close to the Prime Minister suggest Cameron is preparing a series of live TV debates to take on his political rivals

David Cameron’s aides have drawn up plans to take on Nigel Farage in a live pre-election TV debate.

The Prime Minister plans to take on the Ukip leader in one of three leaders’ debates with his political rivals, according to The Sunday Times.

The proposals suggest that Mr Cameron would be willing to appear in television debates under the ‘2-3-5’ format.

He will take on Labour leader Ed Miliband in a one-on-one debate, with a second including Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

A third would include Mr Farage and the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett.

According to sources close to the Prime Minister, one of the debates would be held before the election campaign, with the other during it.

The Sunday Times quotes David Cameron as telling friends: “If you have Farage it makes no sense not to have the Greens as well. They have an MP.”

And on Sky News this morning, Grant Shapps, the Conservative party chairman, did not rule out the possibility of including Mr Farage in the debates.

He said that “all options are on the table”, praised the TV debates as a “good innovation” but said that negotiations would not happen until after the Scottish referendum in September.

It follows a turbulent week for Ukip, during which Mr Cameron branded Mr Farage “chicken” for ruling out running in the Newark by-election.

Labour leader Ed Miliband used an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show this morning to voice his support for the debates.

“It is up the broadcasters who they invite, whether they invite Nigel [Farage],” he said. “My main desire is that the debates go ahead, I think the Prime Minster doesn’t own these debates, the British people own these debates and he can’t wriggle out of them.”

Britain’s first debates between Mr Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg were broadcast in 2010 after lengthy negotiations between the parties and the broadcasters.

Mr Cameron has complained that the strict rules on style of questioning “took all the life out” of the campaign.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: International Trade Advisors - Hertfordshire or Essex

£30000 - £35379 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is based in Welwyn ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Controller - Response Centre

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn