Nigel Farage entitled to take part in TV election debates says Ed Miliband
Labour leader says David Cameron is trying to wriggle out of debates after No 10 suggests changed formula.
Nigel Farage should be entitled to take part in the general election television debates, Ed Miliband said on Sunday as he accused David Cameron of seeking to “wriggle out” of them.
The Labour leader made his comments as he sat next to the Ukip leader at the end of Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 following a report that No 10 believes Farage should be included in one debate in an expanded series that would be held in the runup to the general election.
The Sunday Times quoted a source close to the PM as raising a possible “two-three-five” formula for the debates. This would involve one head-to-head debate between Cameron and Miliband, a three-way debate including Nick Clegg, and a five-way debate including Farage and the Green leader Natalie Bennett.
Miliband said the proposal was a spoiler. He told the Andrew Marr Show: “David Cameron is doing everything he can to wriggle out of them [with] more briefings and confusing messages. It’s up to the broadcasters who they invite, whether they invite Nigel. My main desire is the debates go ahead. I think the PM doesn’t own these debates. The British people own these debates and he can’t wriggle out of them.”
The Labour leader dismissed the idea of having a debate with Farage before the European parliamentary elections, and said he was confident he would beat the Ukip leader. Miliband said his focus was on the general election debates but said he would raise no objections if Farage were invited. “If the broadcasters want to invite Nigel that is fine by me,” he said.