Great Britain

Scottish election debate LIVE: Fury as Galloway and Salmond snubbed – 'They’d wipe floor!'

Nicola Sturgeon quizzed on coronavirus focus by BBC audience

The STV leaders' debate will see SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon take on Douglas Ross of the Scottish Conservatives, Labour's Anas Sarwar, Willie Rennie of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Green Party co-leader Patrick Harvie. But in a rally in Stirling this afternoon, former First Minister Alex Salmond claimed the broadcaster was making Scots feel that his Alba party did not exist.

He said: “We are clearly the story of the election and yet the doleful duo of Scottish broadcasting pretends we don't exist.

"It is long past time for BBC Scotland and STV to mend their ways and to stop distorting the democratic process in Scotland."

Mr Salmond, who launched Alba's Lothian regional campaign today, said: “The BBC and STV operate as if they were in a self-isolated political bubble in which the initiative that everyone else is talking about doesn't even appear on their radar.

"Not only does that involve excluding Alba from election debates but also dictates the daily mentions on all the main news bulletins."

Nicola Sturgeon

Scotland's five political leaders will fight it out tonight (Image: Getty)

STV

STV leaders debate in 2017 (Image: Getty)

Mr Galloway also said he was legal action after his All for Unity party was excluded from the latest TV debate of the Scottish election campaign.

The former MP hit out at broadcaster STV for what he branded a "blatantly unlawful decision".

Announcing the move on Twitter, Mr Galloway said that the broadcaster, which he dubbed "SNPTV", would now "face us in court".

But ahead of the debate, which commences at 7:30pm, some Scots claimed Mr Galloway and Mr Salmond should appear in the claiming “a variety of voices” needed to be heard.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon 'causing costernation' among nationalists

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon will go head to head with four other leaders (Image: Getty)

Harry Mitchell, a 23-year-old student from Edinburgh, said: “A variety of voices need to be heard from across the political spectrum, it makes it balanced and fair."

Denise Roberts, a council administration assistant from Dundee, added: “Alex Salmond and George Galloway are credible politicians, they would certainly wipe the floor with Nicola Sturgeon and the other party leaders.”

An STV spokesman said: "STV's election coverage has been, and will continue to be, balanced and fully in accordance with strict Ofcom guidelines.

"Alex Salmond has not been invited to participate in the STV leaders' debate.

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Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond, leader of Alba Party (Image: Getty)

"We have offered the Alba Party the opportunity for Alex Salmond to take part in a one-to-one interview with Colin Mackay as part of our series of Scotland Tonight specials."

Linda Grimes Douglas, Head of News and Current Affairs at STV, said: “It’s a hugely exciting time for Scottish politics and our team is primed and ready to bring viewers the most comprehensive coverage of Election 2021.”

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