Scottish Parliament Election 2021: STV Leaders’ Debate snubs Alba Party’s Alex Salmond and All for Unity’s George Galloway

Alex Salmond and George Galloway will not be part of STV's first leaders debate next week, the company has confirmed, despite threats of legal action.

The STV Leaders’ Debate will instead feature only the leaders of Scotland’s five main political parties.

The broadcaster’s political editor, Colin Mackay is set to host Nicola Sturgeon alongside Patrick Harvie, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party, Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, Douglas Ross of the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour’s new leader Anas Sarwar, on April 13.

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The announcement comes after All For Unity leader Mr Galloway said the party had instructed a legal team to launch “urgent legal action” over the matter earlier this week.

Reacting to the news that he would not be included in STV’s debate, Mr Galloway tweeted: "Well we will see them in court.”

He later announced that Alliance For Unity had begun legal action against STV, calling their decision “blatantly unlawful.”

Last week Alba Party leader Alex Salmond also said he would not rule out legal action against broadcasters to force his way onto leaders debates.

The former First Minister said he had written to Ofcom demanding intervention and a directive to allow him to appear as part of the debate to enable “fairness and parity of coverage”.

Alex Salmond and George Galloway will not be part of STV's first leaders debate next week, the company has confirmed, despite threats of legal action.

The Scotsman has contacted the Alba Party for comment.

Later this afternoon STV confirmed to The Scotsman that it had offered Alex Salmond a one-to-one interview with Colin Mackay as part of a series leaders interviews on its flagship Scotland Tonight programme.

It added that it had not offered George Galloway a one-to-one interview, insisting that these editorial decisions have been made in line with Ofcom guidance.

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The broadcaster also said an STV News Election Special will air between 4-7pm and 8pm-8.30pm on Friday May 7.

The programme will be presented by John MacKay outside Holyrood, with STV special correspondent Bernard Ponsonby and Rona Dougall analysing the numbers at STV’s results studio in Glasgow.

Linda Grimes Douglas, Head of News and Current Affairs at STV, said: “It’s a hugely exciting time for Scottish politics and our team is primed and ready to bring viewers the most comprehensive coverage of Election 2021.

“From our Leaders’ Debate and one-to-ones on Scotland Tonight, to analysis and on-the-night updates as part of special programming – alongside fully comprehensive ongoing updates from across the country on STV News at Six – we’ve got it covered.”

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