The leaders of seven political parties are preparing for a live, two-hour television debate on the general elections tonight. The debate sees the Prime Minister, the Labour leader and Nick Clegg joined by the leaders of UKIP, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru for a live debate with a studio audience of 200 people in Salford.
The event, hosted by ITV, is the first and only debate featuring all the leaders before voters go to the polls on 7 May. The debate has the potential to shape the course of the remaining five weeks of campaigning.
“I relish the opportunity to talk about the track record, to talk about the plan, and to talk about the choice. Because of course the alternative to our plan is the chaos of a Labour government,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.
Each leader will have a minute to make opening remarks in the order stated below:
- Green Party – Natalie Bennett
- Liberal Democrats – Nick Clegg
- Ukip – Nigel Farage
- Labour Party – Ed Miliband
- Plaid Cymru – Leanne Wood
- SNP – Nicola Sturgeon
- Conservative Party – David Cameron
During the debate the leaders will give an uninterrupted one-minute answer to each question posed by the audience.
The debate will address four “substantial election questions” which have been pre-selected by an ITV editorial panel from audience submissions. The leaders will not see the questions beforehand. They will have a minute each to answer, afterwards there will be 18 minutes of open debate between the candidates.
The debate will be moderated by ITV news anchor Julie Etchingham and broadcast live on ITV from 8pm to 10pm tonight.