Voters believe TV debates are important to help them decide – now will Theresa May show up?

Theresa May insists that she will not participate in TV debates ahead of the general election, and now Jeremy Corbyn says that if she doesn’t show he won’t either.

But a poll published today shows that 56 per cent of people think that TV debates are ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important to helping them to make up their minds. Among 18-24 year-olds, that rises to 71 per cent, according to the BMG/Electoral Reform Society poll.

‘These figures show voters now see TV debates as ‘part of the furniture’ of a General Election,’ commented Katie Ghose of the Electoral Reform Society.

That’s particularly the case for younger voters – meaning it’s therefore crucial for youth engagement that they take place.

“The last two General Elections saw millions watch the televised debates, allowing politicians to reach out beyond the already-politicised and speak to a hugely diverse audience.

“It would be a travesty for the debates to be cancelled simply because one side decided to torpedo this now-crucial part of 21st century politics.

“With such a short election period, the debates could play an absolutely essential role. Leaders owe it to the voters – and especially Britain’s young people – not to back out.”

Other party leaders, including Tim Farron, Nicola Sturgeon and Caroline Lucas, have slammed May’s decision not to participate in debates.

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