Greens throw down debate gauntlet to SNP and Lib Dems

For immediate release 29 March 2011

The SNP and the Lib Dems were today challenged to support the Scottish Greens' inclusion in the TV election debates, which start tonight. In reply to a letter from the Greens to all party leaders, the Scottish Tories wrote that "Annabel is relaxed about who she debates against", while Labour said "we are broadly supportive of your position". A YouGov poll conducted over the weekend for the Scottish Greens showed 63% support for inclusion of a Green voice in the TV debates, with just 22% opposed.

Patrick Harvie said:

"The SNP made a massive fuss about being excluded from the Westminster TV debates, so presumably they agree that all the Holyrood parties should be included in the TV debates. We supported their position in 2010: it's time to find out if they support ours in 2011. And the Lib Dems: it would surely be both liberal and democratic to let the people decide. Over to you, Tavish.

"Only the Greens go into this campaign with a distinctive voice, setting out a clear alternative to the cuts agenda, an alternative built on fairer taxation and investment in public services. Not everyone will agree with that position, but it should surely be heard and tested in these debates. Labour and the Tories have done the right thing here, and I welcome their comments. Annabel Goldie's relaxed about who she debates with, she says, and Labour are broadly supportive of Green voices being heard. The polls show the Scottish people agree. It's time for the broadcasters to listen."

Full correspondence is available here.

YouGov polled 1025 Scottish adults about this decision between the 25th and the 28th of March 2011. The question asked was as follows:

The leaders of four out of the five parties in the Scottish Parliament are due to take part in TV debates in the run up to the election, but the broadcasters have not offered a place to the fifth party, the Scottish Greens. Which of these statements comes closest to your views?

The Scottish Greens should be included in the TV debates: 63%
The Scottish Greens should not be included in the TV debates: 22%
Don't know: 15%