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TV debate: it's on

Gordon Brown confirms ITV, Sky News and BBC participation

The main British party leaders, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, have agreed to lock horns in three televised election debates in the run-up to next year's general election, the Telegraph has reported.

The paper notes:

It will be the first time that British party leaders have gone head-to-head in a live television battle similar to those in American presidential elections. It comes after fierce negotiating between Number 10, David Cameron's office and the BBC, ITV News and Sky News.

ITV will host the first debate, to be chaired by Alastair Stewart; Sky News will go next with Adam Boulton as host. The third and final debate will be chaired by David Dimbleby.

Sky News has been pushing for live leaders' debates on television since September, with more than 15,000 people signing an online petition in support of the campaign so far.

The BBC and Sky will make their programmes available to other broadcasters simultaneously, while ITV will make its show available immediately after transmission.