Brown Agrees To TV Election Debates

Gordon Brown(Reuters) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has agreed in principle to go head-to-head with main opposition leaders in U.S.-style television debates in the run up to next year’s general election.

Potential prime ministers have never debated each other on television before; but Brown, who is expected to call an election next May, has agreed to a string of such presidential showdowns.

David Cameron, leader of the main Conservative party and the Liberal Democrat’s Nick Clegg have already declared their readiness to take part in television debates, but Brown had yet to commit.

Last week Cameron, whose party is well ahead in the polls and is widely tipped to be the country’s next prime minister, challenged Brown to ‘get off the fence.’

Brown said on his party’s website that broadcast debates were crucial in the ‘first election of the global age.’

He said it was up to others to thrash out format details but that he ‘relished’ the chance to make his case to the people.

‘So I believe it is right that the parties debate the issues not just in Parliament but in every arena where the public will join in the discussion,’ Brown said.

‘It is right that there will be a strong focus on the leaders’ debates and it is right that in a cabinet system of government that ministers and opposition ministers also debate the issues in a series of debates on television and radio too.’

On Friday, some of Britain’s main broadcasters, the BBC, ITV and BSkyB jointly proposed to stage three live election debates, one per company, between leaders of the three main parties.

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