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23 February 2015updated 24 Feb 2015 12:34am

Broadcasters announce timings for TV debates – with Cameron and Miliband to do battle just a week before Polling Day

The broadcasters have announced their plans for the television debates, after an FA Cup style draw.

By Stephen Bush

The broadcasters have announced the schedule for the televised debates after an FA Cup style draw. The format in full:

2 April: ITV – Debate between the Party Leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Ukip, the SNP, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru.

16 April: BBC – Debate between the Party Leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Ukip, the SNP, the Green Party and Plaid Cymru.

30 April: Sky and Channel 4 – Head to head debate between the Leader of the Conservative Party and the Leader of the Labour Party.

But the debates are unlikely to happen regardless. David Cameron has said that he thinks that the debates should occur before the short campaign, and, if the Scottish Nationalists and Plaid Cyrmu are to be included, with the presence of the DUP.

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That the broadcasters are persisting with the 7-7-2 format, and with the tussle between Cameron and Miliband just one week before polling day, gives the Prime Minister plenty of wriggle room to get out of the debates, which look all but doomed.

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