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Sir Keir Starmer says he will take on Rishi Sunak in general election TV debates | Politics News

Sir Keir Starmer said it is “nonsense” to suggest he would duck TV debates with Rishi Sunak during the general election campaign.

The Labour leader insisted he was happy to exchange views with the prime minister at any time, following reports that Labour aides would prefer him to avoid televised clashes that could get personal in the fight for the keys to Number 10.

“I’ve been saying bring it on for a very, very long time. I’m happy to debate any time,” Sir Keir said.

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Last week, a report in the Sunday Times claimed that Mr Sunak’s allies see TV debates as an opportunity to pitch him against Sir Keir in the choice between the two leaders.

According to the newspaper, the Tories will seek to paint the Labour leader as unprincipled and argue that despite the prime minister’s personal wealth and unpopularity, at least people “know what he believes in”.

The newspaper reported that conversations between Mr Sunak’s team and broadcasters have already begun.

But it suggested that Labour aides are less enthusiastic about the prospect of TV debates, and would prefer opposition leader Sir Keir to duck them.

Sir Keir’s comments came as Mr Sunak gave the clearest indication yet of when he will call the election, telling reporters his “working assumption” is that it will be held “in the second half of this year”.

What are the rules on TV debates?

Cameron, Clegg and Brown faced off against each other in the 2010 debates
David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown faced off against each other in the 2010 debates

There is nothing in electoral law that requires televised election debates between party leaders.

If they take place, they are a matter for broadcasters and political parties.

The first general election TV debates in the UK took place in 2010 when three head-to-head clashes were held between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, then the leaders of the three main…

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This notice was published: 2024-01-04 16:57:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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