Following the proposals for a 7-7-2 format for the debates, Labour’s prospects in May could rise or fall.
After the original format for the debates, a new format has been proposed. Ed Miliband, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Natalie Bennett, Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood are likely to participate in a seven-way debate. The two-way debate will be between David Cameron and Ed Miliband - the two individuals most likely to be Prime Minister after the general election.
The cards have been revealed. A 7-7-2 debate format could be both positive and negative for Ed Miliband.
In the seven way debates, the Labour leader has to deal with attacks on the left. In Scotland, Labour faces a threat from the SNP. Recent polls have shown that Nicola Sturgeon’s party could gain a load of seats from Labour. Giving the SNP a platform in the debates could help them more against Ed Miliband's party.
Additionally, with Plaid Cyrmu given a spot on the stage the same could potentially happen in Wales.
Ed Miliband also faces a threat from the Greens, who have seen recent rises in the polls. Whilst the Greens are unlikely to gain a huge number of seats in May, the party could take votes from Labour voters in key marginals, an outcome which could benefit David Cameron and the Conservatives.
Labour faces an attack from the left on multiple fronts, however, the two-way debate provide an outcome to benefit Ed Miliband.
Having a two-way debate frames the election - to an extent - as a two-way race to Number Ten. David Cameron versus Ed Miliband to be Prime Minister. This debate could help both leaders as it could persuade people to vote for who they want to lead the country.
Furthermore, for Ed Miliband specifically, he has a terrible approval rating compared to David Cameron. Expectations will be low for the Labour leader. If Mr Miliband performs well then it will be noticed much more. On the other hand, the opposite could happen for David Cameron, a result which could further the Labour leaders’ case.
Overall, it depends on the nights of the debates. The debates will likely not decide the election of course, but it could just persuade certain voters in certain areas and have some sort of an impact.