X Factor’s Simon Cowell has told the BBC he would like to run a series of shows where the public could vote on political issues before the general election.

A live studio audience would be split in two, with those for and against arguments on subjects such as immigration, fox hunting and the war in Afghanistan. Viewers could ring in and vote.

There would also be a red telephone which politicians could ring and give their views in the primetime show which he claimed would be a ‘bear pit’.

But the music boss revealed that he sometimes feels ‘trapped’ with his work, calling it a ‘tidal wave’.

He said: “You have a responsibility to the people who work with you that the decisions you make have got to be good decisions.

“It can get too much and then they’ll realise I’m making bad decisions, so I have to sort my head out.”

Simon also explained that he wouldn’t have signed Susan Boyle if he felt it wasn’t what she or her family wanted.

He said: “I said to them at the time, the truth is, if this is too much for her or if she doesn’t want to do it, we’ll rip the contract up. No-one is going to be forced into doing anything.

“We were going to make a lot of money and we have, but I would have walked away from that, I would.”

The Newsnight interview with Simon can be seen on Monday on BBC2 at 10.30pm.