Belfast Telegraph

Lots drawn in challengers TV debate

Labour leader Ed Miliband will be positioned to the far left and Nigel Farage to the far right in Thursday night's challengers TV debate.

The BBC-produced debate features the main opposition parties in the General Election but excludes Conservative David Cameron and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg as the leaders of the last government.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood will be positioned next to Mr Miliband, with Green leader Natalie Bennett in the middle of the group and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to the right-hand side next to the Ukip leader.

Lots were drawn to determine the line-up of the leaders on stage at Central Hall, Westminster.

Each of the five leaders will be allowed a short opening statement before David Dimbleby invites questions from 200 voters.

Ms Wood will make the first statement, followed by Mr Farage, Mr Miliband, Ms Sturgeon and Ms Bennett.

At the end of the debate, Ms Sturgeon will have the first closing statement, followed by Ms Wood, Ms Bennett, Mr Miliband and Mr Farage.

The 90-minute programme will cover five subjects. Each question will see one-minute opening statements followed by 10 minutes of free debate.

BBC director of news James Harding said: "The BBC election debate will give a fascinating insight into the policies and priorities of five of the parties which were in opposition during the last parliament.

"The party leaders will lay out and debate their alternatives to the policies pursued by the coalition over the past five years.

"Afterwards, we will be able to gauge the instant reaction of other parties in an evening of viewing dedicated to helping voters understand the choices which will be before them on May 7."

Following the debate, at 9.30pm, the BBC will show a reaction programme featuring the response of the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and DUP.

A special edition of Newsnight at 10.30pm will include further reaction from Northern Ireland.

Mr Dimbleby will later host the regular edition of Question Time.


From Belfast Telegraph