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BBC defends decision to include Abolish in leaders’ debate after call to uninvite

31 Mar 2021 3 minutes Read
The logo of the Abolish the Assembly party

The BBC has defended the decision to include Abolish the Welsh Assembly in its leaders’ debate following a call to uninvite the party.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price called on the leaders of Wales’ other political parties to back a move to uninvite the party, but a spokesperson for BBC Cymru Wales said they are “confident” that the “editorial processes have been fair and impartial”.

Adam Price made his comments after Lee Canning from Abolish the posted an online image of Plaid Cymru MS Leanne Wood with the caption: “The ugly face of nationalism”, which has now been deleted.

Writing to the other party leaders, Price called on them to “join me in condemning the party’s behaviour and sending a clear message that it has no place in the Senedd Election campaign”.

“I would also ask that you support us in calling on the BBC to uninvite the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party from the televised debate so as not to allow them to further toxify the public discourse in Wales,” he said.

Abolish had argued that they could not be left out of the debate while the Liberal Democrats, who are currently polling at 4% to their 7% on the regional vote in the most recent YouGov poll, were included.

A spokesperson for BBC Cymru Wales said: “BBC Cymru Wales will be providing a range of content and debating opportunities on television, radio and online in both English and Welsh during the forthcoming election campaign.

“As part of our commitment to provide news, analysis and scrutiny, there will be one Welsh leaders’ debate programme on BBC1 Wales on 29 April.”

‘Appropriate’

The spokesperson added: “In determining the composition of the panel for this programme, we were required to make an editorial judgement with regard to what is an appropriate level of coverage.

“That careful judgement has taken account of past levels of electoral support, as well as any robust trends in current support and confirmed levels of candidacy.

“We are confident that our editorial processes have been fair and impartial whilst reflecting the reality of the Welsh political landscape.”

Carrie Harper, who is standing for Plaid Cymru in Wrexham, said: “This speaks for itself in terms of where the focus of Abolish is. It’s vile low level, bully boy behaviour, and there is no place for it in Wales. This is sadly their idea of what politics is all about, outside of this nonsense, they have nothing positive to offer anybody.

Whilst Plaid Cymru are prioritising a positive vision for the future, Abolish want to attack female politicians online. It’s sad, odd and quite frankly a bit pathetic.

“I hope the people of Wales will resoundly tell them where to go at the ballot box. Wales needs professionalism, leadership and grown up debate, not childish nastyness like this. Sadly, from what I’ve seen, there is nothing else to them.”

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