Party leaders sign up for Facebook and YouTube debates

Facebook and YouTube usher in a 'new era in digital democracy' according to some political pundits

Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron - the three main political party leaders in the UK - have agreed to take part in digital debates on Facebook and YouTube, causing some commentators to suggest we are seeing the beginning of a new era in digital democracy.

Facebook and YouTube users will be able to suggest question on the sites, which can then be voted on by the public.The leaders will then answer the most popular questions.

Post video questions

Users can post questions in text or video in the categories of economy, health and education, law and order, foreign policy and miscellaneous.

The three leaders have pledged to post video responses 10 days before election day.

Google's Director of Communications Peter Barron said: "Although the televised debates will be a historic first, we feel that that there is an opportunity for a different type of platform that allows voters to be in charge of the questions.

"By collaborating with Facebook to put together one initiative we hope to enable as many voters as possible from across the UK to take part."

Facebook's Director of Policy Richard Allan added that: "The dawn of the digital election this year is a transformative moment for democracy in Britain. By allowing voters to cross-examine their leaders, these digital debates will put the voters firmly in charge.

"This marks a decisive shift away from the constraints of top-down traditional media and will take full advantage of unique scale and reach of Facebook, thus changing the way that politicians campaign for good."