ITV’s decision to exclude the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party from an election TV debate tomorrow evening has resulted in the political parties taking legal action this morning.
The parties are accusing the broadcasting giant of failing to adhere to the law that protects due impartiality during general election campaigns.
TV broadcasters have to follow strict OFCOM rules about fairness to each political party in the period of time leading up to the election, then once the votes have been counted on election day, they revert back to normality.
ITV decided to show a debate tomorrow night between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson in the first of the UK-wide discussions between party leaders, then cover extended interviews from the other political parties involved in the election.
Guy Vassall-Adams QC, representing the Lib Dems, said to the High Court this morning that excluding the party would undermine the democratic process of Brexit, by excluding a party who represent the remain argument. He said that because Brexit ultimately resulted in the calling of an early election in the first place, this would give unfair impartiality to the leave voters, and result in a breach of election law.
Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the SNP, said it would be ‘fundamentally unfair’ not to include her party in the debate, which ‘fails to recognise that the UK is no longer a two party state’. Ms Sturgeon described the impending election as maybe ‘the most important of our lifetimes’.