Lorna Slater 'anger' over Scottish Greens snub for STV TV debate as she says 'what century are we in?'

STV will hold a televised debate with the leaders of the SNP, Scottish Labour, Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Lib Dems

The Scottish Greens have hit out at STV for having no women at their televised election debate next week, with party co-leader Lorna Slater asking “what century are we actually in?”

SNP leader John Swinney, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton will all take part in the 90-minute debate on Monday evening. The event will also be chaired by STV’s political editor Colin Mackay.

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However, the Scottish Greens have not been invited to take part in the debate, meaning no female politicians will be included. 

Ms Slater said it was “really disappointing” to have an election debate that only includes men. Speaking to The Scotsman, she said: “It’s really frustrating that the Scottish Greens have been excluded from the STV TV debate.

“We are one of the main parties in Scotland and, of course, we’re the only party that still has a female leader. This has left them with all men at this debate, which is really disappointing - what century are we actually in?”

The Scottish Greens were campaigning on Thursday outside Queen Elizabeth House, the UK government’s headquarters in Edinburgh, when Ms Slater made the comments.

At the event, the Greens were calling for an “end to Tory attacks on devolution”, with chants of “Hands of Holyrood”.

Ms Slater said she was “nostalgic” for election debates in previous years where there were an equal number of women and men taking part. At the televised BBC election debate for the 2017 snap election, there were three female party leaders taking part - former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.

Ms Slater said: “I’m actually really nostalgic for the days where we had four leaders of political parties in Scotland that were women and I genuinely think that our politics in those days was more civilised. The discourse was more about debate rather than attack.

“It was a better way to do politics and it is so disappointing that not only have the other parties not elected women as their leaders, but that STV would choose this particular group of political parties to show while excluding the Scottish Greens when we have the only female leader.”

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Ms Slater said it was also “crazy” to exclude the Scottish Greens at such an important time for the climate crisis.

A spokesman for STV said: “STV’s election coverage, including the upcoming leaders’ debate, is consistent with Ofcom’s programme code.”

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