Second blow for SNP over TV election debates

A FAILEDcattempt by the SNP to have its leader appear in a UK-wide TV debate – involving the leaders of the three main UK political parties, taking place tomorrow on BBC ahead of the General Election next week – has been underlined by a decision by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

Earlier today – and reported widely – the SNP went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to have the BBC debate, involving Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg either scrapped or repeated but extended to include the SNP.

But at lunchtime – again reported, widely – it failed to convince Lady Smith, adjudicating. The BBC debate is the third of three, the first having taken place, on ITV, a fortnight ago, the second last week on Sky.

And broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, have ‘added salt to the wound’ by declaring that it has not upheld complaints received from the SNP and Welsh nationalists, Plaid Cymru, about the ITV debate.

Says Ofcom, the political parties complained that the programme was not impartial and was also misleading.

In a statement, it said: “The [Ofcom Election Committee] considered all the submissions and evidence before it, in light of the devolved political systems in Scotland and Wales, and under the relevant provisions of the Broadcasting Code. It decided that neither complaint should be upheld; that the broadcast of the debate complied with sections five and six of the Broadcasting Code (concerning impartiality and election coverage); and that no remedial action was therefore required on the part of ITV licensees.”