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
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

Metail Ltd: Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific

£35,000 - £40,000 based on experience : Metail Ltd: As a Business Development ...

Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Owner

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Lettings Manager - Chinese Speaking

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate