Finally: Mandy takes on Ken

Mandy vs Ken: the big fight could be the highlight of the Cabinet contender debates
Mandy vs Ken: the big fight could be the highlight of the Cabinet contender debates

By Ian Dunt

The clash many political pundits have been waiting for since Ken Clarke and Peter Mandelson were brought back into the fold is finally on its way.

The two will meet face-to-face during a series of ministerial debates held in the run up to the election.

The BBC will screen nine cabinet contender debates as a supplement to the three main debates between party leaders being held on ITV, Sky and the BBC.


With Lord Mandelson sitting in the Lords, he has never debated with the shadow business secretary face-to-face, since both men were brought back to the front benches by their respective leaders.

The debates will be held by Andrew Neil, and include ministers discussing defence, health and education

There is uncertainty whether chancellor Alistair Darling will appear opposite George Osborne, however.

A debate on 'trust in politics' will take place on the day before the election, although it is unclear who party leaders will be putting forward for it.

The Daily Politics debates will not be in front of an audience. Each participant will be given 45 seconds to make an opening statement before being quizzed by Mr Neil and one of the BBC's specialist reporters.

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