The broadcasters proposed two live election debates featuring seven UK political parties. David Cameron has said he will take part in only one televised debate ahead of the general election, featuring seven party leaders.The announcement rules out a head-to-head clash with Labour leader Ed Miliband ahead of the 7 May poll. Downing Street said it was a "final offer" and criticised the "chaos" of the negotiating process.
Other parties criticised the PM, accusing him of "acting like a chicken" and trying to "bully" broadcasters.
BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said: "Downing Street believes it is the fault of broadcasters, who they accuse of coming forward with proposals without consultation, to a timetable that was never going to be acceptable, and of failing to get the parties to get together for meaningful negotiations." The broadcasters said they would respond to the Conservatives' proposal in due course.
'Held to ransom' Under Mr Cameron's proposal, one 90-minute contest would take place before 30 March, when the official general election campaign is likely to start.Downing Street said the Democratic Unionist Party should also be considered for inclusion.It follows fierce debate over how the debates should be organised.
On Twitter, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg told Mr Cameron people wanted the debates to go ahead and added: "Stop holding them to ransom by trying to dictate the terms." (Bbc news)