When are the TV leaders' debates?

The first debate will take place next Thursday

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Indy Politics

Broadcasters have announced that a deal to show TV election debates has been reached, with PM David Cameron set to take part in one with seven party leaders.

Labour leader Ed Milliband’s challenge to the PM for a one-on-one debate has been unsuccessful with no head-to-head scheduled.

The live debate with seven leaders, representing the Conservative, Labour, UKIP, SNP, Green and Plaid Cymru parties, will be broadcast on ITV on 2 April and will be moderated by Mary Etchingham.

A debate between five opposition party leaders, representing the Labour, the SNP, the Greens, Plaid Cymru and UKIP parties will be broadcast on the BBC and moderated by David Dimbleby.

The PM and Mr Milliband will also take part in a live question and answer programme on Channel 4 and Sky News and will be interviewed separately before answering questions from a live studio audience.

The 90-minute programme which will be presented by Jeremy Paxman and Kay Burley will take place on 26 March.

The BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 said that the announcement follows talks with the parties.

A spokesman for the broadcaster said: “We’re delighted that there will be a debate with all the party leaders during the election campaign. The debate on 2 April will build on the success of the 2010 TV debates which were so highly valued by viewers.”

There will also be a special Question Time on the BBC on 30th April, a week before polling day during which David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will be appearing separately on the programme to answer questions from a live studio audience.

Cameron had previously stated that he would not participate in a debate at the start of the campaign on 30 March but indicated that he had signed up to a “formal offer” for a new format of TV election programmes, including the one multi-party debate.

Milliband has accused the PM of going to “any lengths” to avoid a head-to-head debate.”

The schedule:

26 March: Live Question and answer programme on Channel 5 and Sky News featuring David Cameron and Ed Milliband, presented by Jeremy Paxman and Kay Burley

2 April: Debate with seven party leaders on ITV, moderated by Julie Etchingham

16 April: Debate between five opposition party leaders on the BBC, moderated by David Dimbleby

30 April: BBC Question Time programme with David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg, presented by David Dimbleby