STV unveils plans for Scottish party leaders' televised general election debate
But Greens and Brexit Party are not invited
SCOTTISH party leaders will take part in a televised general election debate on December 3, STV has announced.
But the channel has followed the BBC in inviting only the SNP, Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem leaders to face each other, leaving out the Greens and the Brexit Party.
STV said the hour-long debate at 8pm would include direct questions from the chair - STV political editor Colin Mackay - and also rounds of cross examination where the leaders question each other directly.
The channel is also planning a series of extended interviews by Colin Mackay with each of the Scottish party leaders, which would include the Greens and the Brexit Party, the dates yet to be finalised.
BBC Scotland has already announced it will stage a televised debate between the SNP, Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats on December 10.
When the announcement was made, the Greens accused the BBC of ignoring the climate emergency by not including them in the programme.
Co-leader Patrick Harvie said at the time: “We are electing MPs who will sit for up to half of the time climate scientists tell us we have left to tackle this crisis, and the BBC is holding a debate where everyone agrees with each other. All four parties support extracting fossil fuels until 2050 and beyond.
“They all want to expand major roads and aviation. Only the Greens recognise this can’t happen, so this debate is ignoring the biggest crisis facing us.”
The Scottish election debates are in addition to UK-wide TV debates planned by the different channels, starting with a head-to-head between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on ITV on Tuesday.
The SNP said earlier this week it was taking legal action against ITV for excluding it from the debate.
Nicola Sturgeon argued it was “fundamentally unfair” not to include the third largest party in the UK. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has also threatened to go to court over her exclusion.
The BBC plans a similar head-to-head on December 6.
STV also revealed its plans for election night coverage when special correspondent Bernard Ponsonby will anchor an overnight election results programme beginning at 9.55pm on Thursday December 12 and running continuously until 6am the following day.
The channel said its journalists would report from count centres across Scotland and, working with ITN, would bring viewers key developments from across the UK.
“Throughout the night, Bernard will be joined in the studio by expert election analyst Professor Rob Johns and rotating panels of senior politicians.”
An STV spokeswoman said: “Our leaders debate line up is an editorial decision taking account of historical polling data. We will achieve balance across the breadth of coverage planned over the coming month.”