Tue 31 Mar, 2015

The Scottish Greens have today (31 Mar) written to STV asking the broadcaster to invite all five parties represented in the Scottish Parliament to discuss their proposed General Election debate next Tuesday (7 April) to which the Greens have not been invited.

The letter, from Patrick Harvie MSP to STV's Head of News Gordon Macmillan, follows the submission of a 10,000 signature petition, the support of the other party leaders and a motion in parliament signed by a majority of MSPs.

The text of the letter is as follows:

Dear Gordon

You will be aware that STV’s plan for a debate leading up to the May General Election has prompted a huge reaction from the public with a 10,000 signature petition and from across the political spectrum with the leaders of Scotland’s four other established parties supporting our inclusion.

You may also have noticed my recent motion in the Scottish Parliament, calling for STV to host a balanced and fair debate which includes the Greens. This motion has now received the support of a majority of MSPs. As my motion states, we would welcome a meeting hosted by STV involving all five parties to discuss how we can move towards the inclusive and diverse debate voters will be looking for.

We understand your need to consider a range of evidence in deciding which voices are heard, but to exclude the Scottish Greens goes against the range of evidence showing that a debate including the Liberal Democrats but not including the Greens would be unreasonable. It would also be very much out of step with the sensible move by UK broadcasters and BBC Scotland to invite the Greens to proposed debates.

You will be aware that we have 2 MSPs with a further 2 MSPs joining the party during 2014. In the European election we secured 8.1 per cent of the vote, ahead of the Libdems’ 7.1. Since September our membership has surged to over 8,600 – close to the Scottish Conservatives’ published membership of 11,000 and that of Scottish Labour (understood to be between 8,000 and 13,500) and far outstripping the Scottish Libdems whose most recent published figures suggest a membership of 2,831.

During the referendum campaign we played a prominent role, appearing regularly in televised debates and discussions, perhaps most notably at your own debate at the Assembly Rooms. In the context of a post-referendum election, with a politically-engaged electorate and a decline in support for two or three parties, it is clear that a broadcaster not reflecting a broader range of voices will not meet the expectations of its audience.

We would welcome a meeting with representatives from STV in the coming days to discuss the way forward, and would ask you to extend any invite to representatives of the four other parties.

Yours,

Patrick Harvie MSP
Co-convener, Scottish Green Party

 

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