Nick Clegg will step in to the head-to-head debate with Ed Miliband to defend the Government’s record if David Cameron will not.
By proposing to hold the debate before the Tory manifesto is published, the public will not be able to see David Cameron grilled on his plans for Britain.
Liberal Democrats are not afraid to debate our record or our manifesto. We are proud that we have helped rescue the British economy and ensured the recovery has been done fairly.
Nick Clegg is passionate about anchoring these debates into the democratic process. If this means taking part in a “seven-sided 90 minute bite size squabble fest”, so be it.
It is not right for one party and one man to hold the debates to ransom. They are a right of the British people. Why should the Conservatives hold a veto over our democratic process?
Liberal Democrat General Election Chair Paddy Ashdown said on the Today programme:
“I'm told that Downing Street is now depending on the Liberal Democrats to say no. Well, I've got bad news for them. We're not going to.
"I hope the broadcasters stand firm but I need to be very clear that even if it is done in the fashion that the Prime Minister demands - and why on earth should he be able to veto the democratic debate? - we will still be there.
“If it is the case that there's a two-headed debate and Mr Miliband turns up and the Prime Minister will not defend the record of the Government, then Nick Clegg will be very happy to.
“What he is proposing is not just a ludicrous, seven-sided, bite-sized squabble fest but actually he is proposing it takes place before the Conservative manifesto is published.
“If Mr Cameron hasn't got the guts to stand up and defend this government's record then Nick Clegg will do so."