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Dates confirmed for TV election debates

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown leaving London’s 10 Downing Street

© Rex Features

The BBC, ITV and Sky News have announced dates for their televised prime ministerial debates following yesterday's confirmation of May 6 for the general election.

All three broadcasters recently agreed a format with Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Conservative leader David Cameron for their participation in three debate programmes to air at prime time.

Each debate will carry a predetermined theme for half its airtime, with the remaining space devoted to questions from viewers and experts. Sky and ITV have agreed not to run advertising during the debate programmes.

The first election debate will go ahead on April 15 from 8.30pm to 10pm on ITV1, with host Alistair Stewart moderating discussion from England's North West under the theme of domestic affairs. Viewers are able to submit their questions for the leaders on any subject to debate@itv.com.

Sky News will host the second debate on April 22 from 8pm to 9.30pm, with Adam Boulton chairing discussion from the South West on the theme of international affairs. As recently announced, viewers can log their questions via skynews.com/debatequestion.

On April 29, the BBC will host the final prime ministerial debate on BBC One from 8.30pm to 10pm, with David Dimbleby hosting discussion from the Midlands under the theme of economic affairs. The public can submit their questions via bbc.co.uk/election.

Studio audiences for each debate will be selected by polling firm ICM to ensure a broad demographic and range of political views.

According to the agreed format, Clegg will give the opening statement for ITV's debate, Brown will open the Sky News programme and Cameron will kick off the BBC's edition.

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