— TSE (@TSEofPB) February 22, 2015
Today reports emerged that Liberal Democrat sources say the televised leaders’ debates are unlikely to happen. The Lib Dems aren’t happy because Nick Clegg is only in two of the three debates, and is relegated to the likes of Plaid Cymru, who received one-sixtieth as many votes in 2010 as the Lib Dems did.
A spokesman for Clegg said the Lib Dem leaderâ€™s team would â€œcontinue to negotiate with the broadcastersâ€. But another senior Lib Dem figure said: â€œI donâ€™t see how this is going to happen now. The broadcasters have made a massive strategic error.â€
A senior Tory said: â€œThe prime ministerâ€™s view is, â€˜We said to you [the broadcasters], you are obsessed about debates and they took up too much energy last time. We didnâ€™t have an election campaign. We had a debates campaign.â€™ â€
The Sunday Times articleÂ also says “Labour, while openly backing the debates, have also privately raised questions about the presence of [Nicola] Sturgeon, who will be handed a national stage as well as debating with Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader.”
So we’re unlikely to see a replica of the Cleggasm for any party, so which will party/parties will benefit from the lack of debates in 2015? Probably the more established parties will benefit, especially the ones who are better resourced, so perhaps the Tories will be the biggest beneficiaries of no debates.
However if the Tories fail to achieve a consistent, remain in power leads in the opinion polls, Dave might conclude he needs the debates after all to turn things around.