Published: Mon, November 18, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

ITV leaders’ debate will exclude views of Remain voters, High Court hears

ITV leaders’ debate will exclude views of Remain voters, High Court hears

The SNP said it expected the High Court to decide on Monday whether the two legal challenges should be heard together and a ruling was expected later in the day.

ITV will exclude the views of voters who want to remain in the European Union by leaving the Liberal Democrat and SNP leaders out of its televised election debate, the High Court has heard.

The judges concluded that "no arguable breach of the broadcast code" had occurred and the format of the debate was a matter of "editorial judgement".

He added: "The clear conclusion of both members of this court is that, viewed overall, these claims are not realistically arguable".

A court battle to ensure the leaders of the SNP and the Liberal Democrats are included in an ITV televised election debate will get underway today, as Jo Swinson condemned the BBC for "excluding the voice of Remain" from its debate.

Speaking ahead of the hearing, the SNP's leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford, said: "This challenge is not just about the SNP, it's about fairness for every voter and viewer across the country who have a right to see the real choice at this election on that debate stage".

ITV's lawyers told the High Court if it had lost the debate would not have gone ahead on Tuesday.

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An Iraqi man brought along an unusual companion to an anti-government protest - a lion wrapped in the country's flag. An Iraqi demonstrator burns tires during ongoing anti-government protests, in Najaf, Iraq, on November 18, 2019.

Prior to these two events, the first episode of a series of Question Time specials will be shown on BBC One.

"But more than that, our democracy should not be in the hands of invisible corporate structures, and arrangements for such debates should always be accessible and transparent".

Will to any extent additional total election TV debates be introduced?

He added: "What is now clear is that the United Kingdom broadcasting system is similarly incapable".

The SNP said its exclusion from the ITV General Election debate is depriving voters of the chance to make their own decisions.

"That is, quite simply, a democratic disgrace, and the fact that election law and broadcasting codes allow such gross unfairness is unacceptable".

It said in a statement after the decision was announced: "We welcome the court's decision and will continue with our comprehensive election coverage as planned".

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