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Party Leaders to take part in leader election debates

3rd March 2010

The three main political have agreed with broadcasters to take part in leadership debates during the British election campaign for the first time ever.

In a nod to the American political campaign, three live face-to-face debates will take place between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg on the BBC, ITV and Sky News.

Each programme will have a pre-determined theme for half of its airtime, with the remaining time open to questions on any election issue.  The questions will be open to both the live audience directly and to viewers via email in advance of the programme

ast prime ministers have generally been reluctant to debate with opposition leaders and Brown only agreed to the debates taking place last autumn.

The order of the debates for the broadcasters, allocation of themes and order of speaking for the leaders were all determined by drawing lots.

The first debate, screened on ITV1 and moderated by Alastair Stewart, will be filmed in the north-west of England and look at the theme of domestic affairs.

The second debate will be screened on Sky News and moderated by Adam Boulton. Its themed section will be on international affairs and it will come from the south-west of England.

The final debate will be screened on BBC1, moderated by David Dimbleby, and will focus on the theme of economic affairs. The programme will be based in the Midlands.

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