Nick Clegg has said he is ready to take David Cameron's place in a head-to-head TV debate with Ed Miliband if the Prime Minister refuses to take part.
Clegg said on his weekly LBC radio phone-in that he is ready to take Cameron's place in the two-way debate planned by Sky News and Channel 4 for April 30 - one week before the General Election on May 7.
"Having been in government for five years, I also have this old-fashioned view that I want to defend the record of this Government," Clegg told listeners.
If David Cameron is too busy or too important to defend the record of this Government with Ed Miliband, then I offer myself. I'll do it instead."
Nick Clegg is ready to take David Cameron's place in a head-to-head TV debate with Ed Miliband if the Prime Minister refuses to take part, Lord Paddy Ashdown has said.
The Lib Dem campaign chairman and former leader said Clegg is prepared to take Cameron's place in the two-way debate planned by Sky News and Channel 4 for April 30 - one week before the General Election on May 7.
Lord Ashdown told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I'm told that Downing Street is now depending on the Liberal Democrats to say no. Well, I've got bad news for them. We're not going to."
"If it is the case that there's a two-headed debate and Mr Miliband turns up and the Prime Minister will not defend the record of the Government, then Nick Clegg will be very happy to," he added.
Alastair Campbell has called the Prime Minister's stance on the TV leaders' debates "morally cowardly and democratically wrong".
Labour's former director of communications wrote on his blog: "How well I remember David Cameron proclaiming how marvellous the TV leaders' debates were and, more importantly, how vital they were to the democratic process in the modern media age.
"And how pathetic it is, five years on, to watch his wriggling and weaselling to avoid them.
"If Ed Miliband is as hopeless as Cameron and his press poodles say he is, why is the Tory leader so scared of going head-to-head over an extended period live on TV?"
Nick Clegg has called on the David Cameron to "get on with it" and agree to TV debates after the Prime Minister made a "final offer" to broadcasters.
Writing on Twitter, the Liberal Democrat leader urged the Prime Minister to stop holding the debates "to ransom".
.@david_cameron The British public want the debates so let's get on with it. Stop holding them to ransom by trying to dictate the terms.
In separate statement, a spokesperson for the party said: "The Tories clearly do not want to discuss and debate the merits of their manifesto with the British public - it's why they don't want them to happen during the campaign - but the Liberal Democrats do."
The Lib Dems had previously said they wanted to take part in "all the TV debates", but plans but forward by BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 propose two debates of seven party leaders, with one further debate featuring Ed Miliband and David Cameron alone.
Labour has accused David Cameron of being frightened of a debate with Ed Miliband, claiming the PM's latest proposal to broadcasters was an attempt to "bully" them.
In a statement following the Conservative leader's "final offer" of a one-off, seven-party debate, the head of Labour's General Election strategy Douglas Alexander said: "We continue to support the broadcasters proposals, including for seven-way debates alongside a two-way debate.
“But this is an outrageous attempt from the Prime Minister to bully the broadcasters into dropping their proposals for a head-to-head debate between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
“That it comes only hours after Ed Miliband called David Cameron's bluff and said he would debate him any time, any place, shows the lengths David Cameron will go to run scared of a debate with Ed Miliband.”
Rejecting a showdown with Ed Miliband, David Cameron's terms sent to broadcasters reveal his deep dissatisfaction with the debate proposals.Read the full story ›
Ed Miliband has said he is willing to take part in a TV debate with David Cameron 'anytime, any place, anywhere'.Read the full story ›
David Cameron said he wants to "get on" with the televised leaders debates - but again refused to confirm whether he will take part.
Mr Miliband challenged the Prime Minister to commit to the proposed April 30 date between the two candidates, just a week before voters head to the polls.
Miliband asked Mr Cameron: "I will be at that debate - will you be at that debate?"
But the Prime Minister avoided the question, refusing to commit to the head-to-head debate.
He told Mr Miliband: "I say let's have these debates, let's get on with them before the election."
Broadcasters have proposed a series of debates, including two seven-way contests and one head-to- head between Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband during the election campaign, but the party leaders are yet to confirm whether the debates will go ahead.
David Cameron has challenged Labour to rule out a "grubby" coalition deal with the Scottish National Party to protect Britain's nuclear deterrent.
Last month, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon told ITV News that Labour would have to agree to scrap the Trident nuclear programme in any potential coalition deal between the two parties after May's election.
Responding to a question from former defence secretary Liam Fox, the Prime Minister said he would never get involved in any coalition deal to remove Trident ahead of its planned renewal in the next parliament.
He said it was "concerning that almost three-quarters of Labour candidates oppose renewal of trident".
"Now is the time for Labour to rule out any agreement with the SNP because no-one wants to see some grubby deal between the people who want to break up the United Kingdom and the people who want to bankrupt the United Kingdom," Mr Cameron told MPs.
London YouTuber Ellen Richardson doesn't believe that either David Cameron or Ed Miliband's housing pledges will be enough to tackle the housing problem for young people.
Speaking to ITV News, she said the promises outlined by the Conservatives and Labour were "good" but are "drops in the ocean compared to what is actually needed to deal with the housing crisis".