In 2008 David Cameron Attacked Labour For Avoiding Leaders' Debates During The Election Campaign

    But in this election the prime minister wants nothing to do with debates during the short campaign.

    Back in 2008 David Cameron accused then prime minister Gordon Brown of being "frightened" because he refused to take part in TV debates, which he said should take place during election campaigns.

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    Cameron made the remarks on 27 February 2008 during Prime Minister's Questions, according to archive footage located by BuzzFeed News.

    But seven years later the Conservatives are doing everything possible to keep their leader from taking part in the TV debates during the election campaign, as currently proposed by the broadcasters.

    On Wednesday his team said they would not take part in a head-to-head debate with Labour, insisting Cameron would only take part in one debate with the leaders of seven parties – and only if it is held before the end of March.

    Here's the transcript of Cameron's words from the video above:

    I have to say to the prime minister that if he really thinks that these exchanges once a week are a substitute for a proper television debate, then he is even more out of touch than I thought.

    We have to be honest with ourselves: Not many people watch these exchanges, and not all those who do are hugely impressed with them.

    There are parliamentary systems that do have television debates; we have seen them in Italy, Australia, and Poland. The prime minister has no objection in principle – when he was shadow chancellor, he did a television debate against the then chancellor of the exchequer.

    So I have to ask him: What on earth is he frightened of?

    On the same day, Cameron wrote a letter to Brown, insisting that debates should take place during the election campaign to encourage maximum scrutiny from the public:

    It is true, of course, that we have the opportunity to debate matters at Prime Minister's Questions.

    But that is a very different matter to a proper television debate during a General Election campaign – when Parliament is not sitting, and when people will be most receptive to engaging in political discussion.

    I am sure, on reflection, that you will want to re-consider your position.

    Watch Cameron repeat his challenge to Brown in 2008:

    (Press the audio icon to turn on sound.)