UK & World News

  • 12 April 2014, 14:06

Most Voters Want Farage In Leaders' Debate

A new poll suggests most of the public believe Nigel Farage should take part in any televised leaders' debates ahead of next year's general election.

A Comres poll has found 51% of people think UKIP should be represented alongside David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem Nick Clegg.

Even more - 53% - say the Prime Minister would look like a coward if he refused to take on Mr Farage.

It comes amid Conservative fears that the right-wing UKIP could top the polls in England in next month's European elections.

The party is enjoying a popularity boost after Mr Farage easily won a television debate against Mr Clegg.

The party thinks its overall poll position - which at 15% is well ahead of the Lib Dems - means it ought to be included in any further debates.

And Mr Farage has warned that if the party is excluded he will provide "an alternative form of entertainment on the evening".

The poll was carried out for Grassroots Conservatives, a Tory pressure group that feels the liberal wing of the party has too much control over the leadership.

James Joshua, executive director of the organisation, told Sky News that Mr Cameron would be most respected by party members if he took the UKIP threat on face to face.

But some senior Conservative strategists do not want their leader to take part in the clashes at all - because they believe three debates in quick succession before the 2010 election cost the party a majority.

Mr Cameron said the debates "sucked the life" out of the campaign.

Others argue that UKIP should not be included because they have not achieved any success in general elections with no seats, while other small parties excluded from the debates do have MPs in Parliament. 

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