• STV
  • MySTV

SNP and Lib Dems lose legal fight to join ITV debate

Both parties launched legal challenges against Nicola Sturgeon and Jo Swinson's exclusion.

Debate: SNP and Lib Dems excluded.
Debate: SNP and Lib Dems excluded. Getty Images

The SNP and the Liberal Democrats have lost a legal challenge against ITV over the broadcaster's exclusion of their party leaders from a TV election debate.

Both parties launched separate actions in the High Court in London over the decision not to include Nicola Sturgeon and Jo Swinson in the debate on Tuesday night.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will go head-to-head in the first televised showpiece of the general election, broadcast live on STV at 8pm.

The SNP said the court decision meant voters in Scotland were being treated as "second-class citizens".

Two leading judges ruled there was "no arguable breach of the broadcasting code" in ITV's decision to exclude the SNP and Lib Dem leaders.

Lord Justice Davis, sitting with Mr Justice Warby, said: "The clear conclusion of both members of this court is that, viewed overall, these claims are not realistically arguable.

"It follows that the television debate scheduled for tomorrow evening between the leader of the Conservative party and the leader of the Labour party may lawfully go ahead."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1442488-ponsonby-a-political-point-made-in-unsurprising-legal-defeat/ | default

Responding to the decision, the SNP's Ian Blackford said: "The result of the decision to exclude the SNP is to discriminate against Scottish voters and to effectively treat them as second-class citizens.

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

"The SNP has long supported calls for decisions on TV debates to be made independently of politicians and broadcasters - and today's decision makes that even more important.

"There is not a single seat in Scotland, where the contest is between the Tories and Labour - it is only the SNP that can stop the Tories in Scotland.

"But both the Tories and Labour will be given a leg-up by a system that fails to recognise the multi-party, multi-national nature of the UK."

In a statement, ITV said: "We welcome the court's decision and will continue with our comprehensive election coverage as planned."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1442443-stv-to-host-general-election-debate-with-scottish-leaders/ | default

ITV lawyers had told the court that the debate - and an interview with Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson due to follow it - would have been pulled from its schedule altogether if the judges had found ITV breached its duties.

Lawyers for the Lib Dems had argued that Brexit is the "dominant" issue of the election and that "the voice of Remain has been excluded" by ITV's failure to include Swinson in the leaders' debate. 

The SNP's legal team said the party represents a range of views which would not be given voice in a debate between Labour and the Conservatives, including on Brexit and Scottish independence. 

ITV lawyers contended its decision was not capable of challenge in the courts and that, in any event, there is no basis for alleging any unlawful conduct on its part.

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.