PM to be empty chaired in TV debate?

Anthony Painter

by Anthony Painter / @anthonypainter

Escalating his campaign for a leaders’ election debate, Adam Boulton threatened to empty chair Gordon Brown should he not agree to participate on BBC Radio 4 earlier. David Cameron and Nick Clegg have already agreed to take part.

Adam Boulton’s interview was picked up by Paul Waugh in his Evening Standard blog. Boulton said:

“Now that David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both agree to debate, we will be staging that debate. There will be a podium or chair for Gordon Brown and we hope he occupies it.

“This debate is now going to happen, whether or not Gordon Brown or the Labour leader at the time of the next election is there is upto them.”

This is a high risk strategy for Adam Boulton. He is right to force the issue- but could the PM agree to a debate but insist that it is broadcast on the BBC? If so, will the pressure strategy backfire on Sky News? David Frost has been mooted as a possible moderator but on which network is not clear. Could there really be more than one debate covering the different networks as is the case in the US? It is a high risk game but if it results in the first leaders’ debate then that can only be a good thing. Good luck Mr Boulton.

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