STV defends exclusion of Greens despite it meaning unionists will dominate debate
STV’S PLANS FOR A TELEVISED leaders debate for the snap General Election have become mired in controversy over the exclusion of the Scottish Green Party from the debate line-up.
The TV channel announced a debate for 24 May with what it called the four “main” parties – the SNP, Labour, Conservatives, and Liberal Democrat leaders in Scotland.
However, the decision has been challenged by the Scottish Greens – who became Scotland’s fourth largest party in the 2016 elections, overtaking the LibDems.
Calling for a change in the line-up, a Green party spokesperson said: “STV froze us out of their general election debate in 2015 but doing so two years later after so much has changed in Scottish politics is simply bizarre. Patrick Harvie was on the stage in their Holyrood election debate just last year. Viewers will be baffled and disappointed by our exclusion and we would encourage them to make their feelings known.
“The lack of balance given the ongoing constitutional question is extraordinary.” Scottish Greens spokesperson
“The lack of balance given the ongoing constitutional question is extraordinary. The Green MSPs’ prominent role in Scottish politics is certain to feature in the debate, so it’s completely unacceptable that we won’t be there to address references to us.
“We hope STV see sense and put on a fair debate, which we’d be delighted to take part in. We will announce our candidates for the general election after the results of the important council elections at the end of next week.”
The party also pointed out that the line-up would mean three anti-independence voices lined up against First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, despite opposition parties focusing their campaigns on the issue of a fresh independence referendum.
STV has defended the decision, claiming it is “required to consider evidence of past electoral support when covering General Elections.
“As a result, our editorial decision is to include the leaders of the four largest parties in Scotland in our live TV debate on 24th May. That said we will be interviewing representatives of the Green party throughout the campaign in news coverage on STV and STV2 and on our weeknight, current affairs programme Scotland Tonight.”
Recent polls for the council election have placed the Scottish Green party in fourth place – ahead of the Liberal Democrats. However, at the 2015 General Election Labour, Conservative and LibDem parties won one seat each in Scotland. At that election, the Scottish Greens won 1.3 per cent of the total vote.
Picture courtesy of STV Live
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