TEHRAN, April 19, YJC - The UK PM Theresa May's refusal to participate in televised debates, following her announcement of a snap general election, is a "mistake" and can be explained by May's fear of a "hard debate" and the "need to think on her feet," Sputnik has been told.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
May's decision has been questioned by many when she confirmed she would face the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons instead.
"I believe in campaigns where people are out and about. That is what I will be doing," May said.
Sputnik spoke to Professor Paul Whiteley at the University of Essex, who said May's choice is a "big mistake" and she could be missing out on a very important opportunity to show the UK what she has to offer.
"I think she is making a mistake, in 2010 the TV debates were a very important factor in the decision on who to vote for and it was the first time we had them. Then they came again in the 2015 election, and we had them again for the third time, during the referendum last year. So she is refusing to engage with the public, which is not good," Professor Whiteley told Sputnik.
TV debates are a familiar part of the UK political scene but perhaps not as common and popular as in the US. However according to Professor Whiteley this should not be a concern for Mrs. May.
"I think TV debates are part of the UK political scene: in 2010 we had the first debate and it had a huge audience and it produced a big uptick in support for the Liberal Democrats and their leader at the time Nick Clegg. Clegg was thought to have done a great job against former PM and Tory leader, David Cameron. It was also said that Clegg came out on top against the PM at the time, Gordon Brown. In US, debates started in the 1960s, so it's entrenched in the US but I would say it's entrenched here as well and her [May's] refusal to participate is not good," Professor Whiteley told Sputnik.