Greens ‘baffled and disappointed’ by exclusion from STV Scottish leaders’ debate ahead of general election
STV announced yesterday it will hold a televised debate between the SNP, Tory, Labour and Lib Dem leaders on 24 May
Patrick Harvie - Image credit: Colin Hattersley Photography
The Scottish Greens have today called on STV to reverse their decision to host a televised debate featuring only four of Scotland’s five parties.
STV announced yesterday it will hold a televised leaders debate on 24 May with the Scottish leaders of the four “main” parties ahead of the general election.
Nicola Sturgeon for the SNP, Scottish labour leader Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Conservative leader and Willie Rennie for the Lib Dems will go head to head over issues ahead of the general election – even though all are MSPs and none of them will be fighting a Westminster seat.
The Scottish Greens do not currently have any MPs at Westminster, but the party has one more MSP than the Lib Dems in the Scottish Parliament, as well as more party members, and is currently polling ahead of the Lib Dems for next week's council elections.
The Greens also point out that the format would result in an imbalance on the constitutions, with one pro-independence party against three anti-independence ones in an election where the issue of independence has been central to some parties’ campaigns.
A spokesperson for the Scottish Greens 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.
“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."
Nicola Sturgeon yesterday also supported Green co-convener Patrick Harvie being included in the debate.
She tweeted: For those asking, and while I recognise that it's STV's decision, I do think @patrickharvie should be included in the debate.
STV's head of news Gordon Macmillan said: "STV's debate will give members of the audience an opportunity to put their questions to the leaders of the four main political parties and the leaders will also cross-examine each other.
“We hope viewers tune in for an engaging debate about the key political issues in Scotland today."
The debate will be broadcast live on STV2, the new STV channel that launched earlier this week.
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