All seven major party leaders will participate in a series of televised debate programmes prior to the General Election, it has been announced today.
However, there will be no head-to-head confrontation between Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
In a joint statement, broadcasters including the BBC, Sky, ITV and Channel 4 announced their intended schedule of programmes, which includes a seven-way debate between all of the leaders on April 2.
“We’re delighted that there will be a debate with all the party leaders during the election campaign,” said the statement.
“The debate on April 2 will build on the success of the 2010 TV debates which were so highly valued by viewers.
“We’re very pleased to be able to offer viewers an extensive range of programmes, across the four channels, featuring the party leaders interacting directly with voters during the campaign.”
The first programme, to be aired next Thursday by Channel 4 and Sky News, will have the Labour and Conservative leaders interviewed separately, also offering them the opportunity to answer questions posed by a live studio audience.
This will be followed by the seven-way debate on April 2, chaired by Julie Etchingham on ITV.
Cameron and Miliband will both take part in this debate, alongside Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage of UKIP, Natalie Bennett representing the Greens and their counterparts from the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru.
The BBC will host a subsequent programme on April 16, in which Ed Miliband will appear alongside UKIP, the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP.
Finally, the BBC will host a special edition of Question Time on April 30, in which Cameron, Miliband and Clegg will answer audience questions separately.
There has been a huge amount of controversy around the debates in recent months as broadcasters and political parties have attempted to thrash out details that satisfied everyone.