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ITV Election Debate

November 3, 2019 1:18 PM

You may have seen that the ITV have decided to hold a General Election debate solely between Boris and Jeremy, a cosy arrangement that seems to ignore the need for balanced coverage and excluding the Remain side of the Brexit argument. If you are incensed about the decision to exclude Jo Swinson from the ITV leaders' debate due to take place on 19th November, sign our petition https://www.libdems.org.uk/debateher

A formal letter of complaint has been sent to the ITV by Sal Brinton the Liberal Democrat President

Here is her letter in full:

Dame Carolyn McCall
Chief Executive, ITV
2 Waterhouse Square
138 - 142 Holborn
London EC1N 2AE
Dear Dame Carolyn,
I am extremely disappointed that ITV are planning to exclude the Liberal Democrats from your General Election debate on 19th November.
Corbyn and Johnson both are pursuing Brexit and represent the two tired establishment parties. A debate between just them offers no real alternative and stifles the conversation.
The voters of this country deserve to hear from a Remainer on the debate stage, not just from the two men who want to deliver Brexit. They deserve to know that there is another way. That there is a Party they can vote for who will offer a real alternative. That the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and build a brighter future.
There is no reasonable justification for excluding Liberal Democrats from the debate. Liberal Democrats are the strongest national Party of Remain. We secured more votes than both Labour and the Conservatives in the European elections earlier this year and have enjoyed fantastic local and by-election successes across the country. We no longer live in a two-party system, as polling for the last six months demonstrates, and the media should keep up. We have a hung Parliament and the Liberal Democrats are polling very close to, and sometimes ahead of, the Labour Party. Failing to have Liberal Democrats in the debate is misrepresenting the current political reality.
As you will know, section 6.2 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code states that "due weight must be given to the coverage of parties and independent candidates during the election period" and "broadcasters must take into account evidence of past electoral support and/or current support". Crucially, candidates with "significant views and perspectives" should receive appropriate coverage; with Brexit a key issue in this election and our recent electoral successes the Liberal Democrats clearly deserve equal treatment.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are running scared of debating Jo Swinson and broadcasters should not help them stitch up the debates. The importance of representation cannot be underestimated. I want women and girls watching to see Jo Swinson in the debate and know that they too could be a candidate for Prime Minister. That women's voices are vital in politics. That our politics is so much poorer without them. We have seen an exodus of women from politics in the run up to this election. I want to do everything in my power to end this. I'm urging you to do the same.
Please, ensure that there is a plurality of voices in the debate, ensure that the biggest Remain Party is represented, ensure that Jo Swinson is up on the debate stage with Corbyn and Johnson.
Yours sincerely
Baroness Brinton
President of the Liberal Democrats