Scottish Election Debate Confirmed

Broadcaster STV has confirmed it will screen a TV debate between Scotland's political leaders exactly one month before the general election.

First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will go head to head with the Labour leader north of the border Jim Murphy, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

But with Scottish Greens not due to take part in the clash, co-convener Patrick Harvie has said they could consult lawyers over a possible legal challenge to the debate - which is to take place in the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh on Tuesday April 7.

Mr Harvie said: "During the referendum campaign the Scottish Greens played a prominent role, appearing regularly in televised debates and discussions, perhaps most notably at the STV 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.''

The Greens have seen party membership increase to more than 8,500 after the referendum, with party leaders saying this gives them a bigger membership than the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Mr Harvie said: "I know our many members will be disappointed and our wider support will be calling for STV to rethink their unfair approach. We have the option of consulting lawyers about a challenge.''

STV head of news Gordon Macmillan said: "STV has an established track record of delivering election debates for viewers in Scotland and this debate will give members of the audience the opportunity to put their questions to the leaders of the four main political parties in Scotland.

"Live TV debates played a key part in STV's coverage of last year's referendum on independence and we anticipate a lively and engaging debate for viewers on April 7.''

In response to the Greens, a spokeswoman for STV said: "The debate on April 7 will include all the major parties in Scotland as defined by Ofcom.''

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