Scottish TV election shows announced as 'leaders debate' row continues

By staff writers
7 Apr 2010

Four live television election debates are to take place in Scotland involving the largest parties - the SNP, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Tories.

But the announcement has nor dampened the row over whether the Celtic parties should appear alongside Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the corporation's televised leaders' debates.

The Scottish National Party have taken their appeal over the issue to the BBC Trust, backed by Plaid Cymru in Wales, prior to possible legal action.

Meanwhile the Scotland-only TV debates will involve the Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy, the Conservatives' only Scottish MP, David Mundell and the Liberal Democrats' Alistair Carmichael.

The SNP are likely to confirm either First Minister Alex Salmond or the party's Westminster leader Angus Robertson as their representative, though it is possible that the deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, may also stand in.

The BBC's Politics Show has invited representatives of the four parties - the Greens are not being included - to appear on Sunday 11 April 2010 as a warm-up to the main debates.

The first full debate will be on STV on Tuesday 20 April. Then there will be two further encounters on Sunday 25 April. One will be on Sky's Adam Boulton show and the other on the BBC.

The final debate, which will also take place on the BBC, will be held on 2 May, four days before voters go to the polls across the country.

The argument over television coverage and debates represents another significant challenge from the Celtic nations to the dominance of London-based Westminster politics and money in Britain's parliamentary set-ups.

[Ekk/3]

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