SNP pushes for TV election debate in Scotland

Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown debate on television in the run-up to the 2010 election. Picture: Ken McKay/Getty

Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown debate on television in the run-up to the 2010 election. Picture: Ken McKay/Getty

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THE SNP last night called for one of the three network general election televised leaders’ debates to be held in Scotland.

Tomorrow Nicola Sturgeon’s party will meet with ITV and BBC representatives, who are in Edinburgh to fine tune details of the debates.

The broadcasters are said to be keen that they are not all held in London, making SNP politicians hopeful that one can be held north of the Border.

Yesterday Stewart Maxwell MSP, who is convener of Holyrood’s education and culture committee, said: “It is good that in their new debates proposals, the BBC and ITV have recognised the real choice that voters will have at the general election – not an outdated binary choice, when neither Labour not the Tories are capable of winning a parliamentary majority anymore.

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“The SNP is taking nothing for granted, but we believe that the election campaign in Scotland, and hopefully the outcome, will be significant on a UK-wide basis – therefore it would be appropriate for the broadcasters to consider holding one of the seven-way debates in Scotland. The network broadcast media are rightly doing more than at the last election to reflect political diversity across the UK, and so the debates themselves should not all take place in London. I hope that BBC and ITV are able to respond positively to the idea of basing one of their debates in Scotland.”

In addition to the seven-way debates, both Sky and Channel 4 are said to be hopeful of hosting a David Cameron/Ed Miliband contest.

The seven-way debates will involve the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, Greens, Ukip, the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

Political parties in Northern Ireland are unhappy with the plan, saying they face being excluded.

The seven-way format was come up with by the broadcasters after a political row over the original plan. The initial proposals only included the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Ukip.

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