Cameron to get the last word in TV debates

David Cameron and Ed Miliband
David Cameron and Ed Miliband
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THE running order for the ground-breaking election TV debate will see David Cameron handed the last word.

The Prime Minister will be the last to speak when the seven party leaders meet for their only head-to-head clash of the General Election.

ITV has confirmed the podium order for Thursday’s debate - decided after lots were drawn - also decided the speaking order for short opening and closing speeches, plus on initial answers to questions from the audience.

It means Green Party leader Natalie Bennett will speak first and will be followed by Nick Clegg for the Liberal Democrats, Ukip’s Nigel Farage, Labour’s Ed Miliband, Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood, Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon and Mr Cameron for the Conservatives.

ITV said the two-hour live debate, to be screened from 8pm to 10pm, will allow each leader to give an uninterrupted one-minute answer to each question posed by a studio audience of around 200 people.

There will be up to 18 minutes of debate on each question with “four substantial election questions” addressed, ITV said.

It added that the leaders will not see the questions in advance and an “experienced editorial panel” will select them.

Polling company ICM has chosen the “politically-balanced” audience, with around 20% said to be undecided voters.

ITV has asked the audience for their questions while viewers have been asked to submit questions via debate@itv.com.

There will be one commercial break during the two-hour broadcast, ITV added.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he was disappointed to be placed near the middle of the line-up for the debates, rather than near Mr Cameron.

Speaking on a visit to the Coastguard pub, close to the White Cliffs of Dover, Mr Farage said: “I’m disappointed that Mr Cameron is so far away from me but we’ll make the best of it.”