Lib Dems and SNP lose fight to join TV leaders’ debate

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The Liberal Democrats and the SNP have lost an appeal to be included in a leaders’ debate on ITV tomorrow.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn will now go head-to-head without Jo Swinson and Nicola Sturgeon, as planned.

The judges concluded: “No arguable breach of the broadcast code is shown.”

They said the format of the debates was a matter of “editorial judgment”.

They also refused permission for the two parties to appeal the decision.

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

The two parties took ITV to the High Court, saying their exclusion deprived voters of the chance to make their own decisions.

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As the High Court appeal got underway on Monday morning, the Lib Dems launched a large poster outside the court with a picture of Ms Swinson, Mr Corbyn and Mr Johnson, with the words: “Debate her.”

SNP’s legal team was asked by a judge in the opening exchange: “Why have you left it so late?”

Speaking ahead of the case, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said people in Scotland voted Remain in 2016 and “overwhelmingly backed the SNP as their party of choice in the European elections”.

He claimed polls show about half of voters support Scottish independence and if the SNP was not represented in TV debates “these key positions won’t be heard”.

Ahead of the High Court hearing the Lib Dems sent a legal letter to the BBC about Jo Swinson being left out of a debate on the channel.

The letter to the BBC’s director-general Tony Hall, it said Ms Swinson’s exclusion is “clearly unlawful” as there are three main UK-wide national parties taking part in the December election.

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General election TV leaders’ debate: Lib Dems and SNP lose battle to join ITV programme

The Liberal Democrats and the SNP have lost an appeal to be included in a leaders’ debate on ITV tomorrow. The parties took ITV to the High Court, saying their exclusion deprived voters of the chance to make their own decisions.

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