Can YouTube solve the election debate debacle?


David Cameron and Ed Miliband have been considering a proposal to join a live internet 'digital debate' hosted on YouTube ahead of the general election campaign.


A consortium of the Guardian, the Telegraph and YouTube is offering to act as a platform for a digital debate as the row between party leaders rumbles on.

The move to break the impasse over TV debates came as the the Prime Minister and the Labour leader swapped insults in the Commons over the issue.

The consortium has suggested moving forward the date of its event to accommodate the wishes of David Cameron.

The Guardian, The Telegraph and YouTube said they will collectively provide the best possible online platform for such a debate, with direct connections to other election resources and party websites.

In a letter to party leaders, the media organisations say they are now offering to move forward the date of its proposed debate by a few days to 26 or 27 March – before the start of the so-called short campaign – again inviting the five main UK-wide parties.

This would mean including the leaders of the Conservative party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Ukip and the Green party. The nationalist parties from Scotland and Wales would be excluded, as well as the Democratic Unionists.

In their letter executives from the consortium write: “We note that the prime minister has said he is willing to take part in a debate in the week beginning 23 March and that the leader of the opposition is prepared to debate ‘any time, any place, anywhere’.’ The consortium had initially proposed a date of around 30 March, and an earlier date might remove one stumbling block to the debates occurring.

“We also note that the impasse in negotiations with the broadcasters means that meaningful television debates now look unlikely to take place,” the consortium writes.

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