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Greens launch petition to demand inclusion in leaders’ debate

14 Apr 2021 4 minute read
Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales Amelia Womack

The Wales Green Party has launched a petition that demands that it be included in the upcoming leaders’ election debate.

The BBC has faced criticism for excluding the Greens after it invited Abolish the Welsh Assembly to take part in the programme on April 29.

The petition states that Abolish has “never won an election for Senedd, or even a council election” and that an “important voice” was “missing” from the debate.

The BBC has responded to the calls to invite the Greens by insisting that it is “confident” that its editorial process has been “fair and impartial”.

Deputy leader of the Greens, Amelia Womack, who is standing for the party in South Wales East at the Senedd election, has said she is “disappointed” by the decision, while Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies, called it “odd, if not somewhat absurd”.

The petition states: “The Leaders of Labour, the Conservatives, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and Abolish the Welsh Assembly have all been invited, but there is an important voice missing. Wales Green Party have been excluded.

“The Green Party is now acknowledged as one of the four main parties in the United Kingdom, and were invited to the Senedd TV debate in 2016.

“Not only that, in Wales we have a fairer voting system for the Senedd… precisely designed to enable the election of representatives from smaller parties.

“Meanwhile, the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party has been given a TV platform at this debate, yet they were de-registered as a political party as recently as November 2020, and have never won an election for Senedd, or even a council election.

“They advocate for a politics which aims to divide our nation, at a time when we need to be coming together as one. It is undemocratic for their voice to be included in this important debate, and a Green voice to be excluded.

‘Devastating impact’ 

It adds: “Recovering from the devastating impact of Covid-19 will be key in this election, and only the Greens represent policies that aim to rebuild a more equal, secure Wales, putting people and planet first, to tackle the climate, health and economic emergencies as one.

“Wales Green Party can win seats in the election this May. Our voice must be present in these debates.

“Sign the petition, and demand the BBC #InviteTheGreens.”

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 BBC One Wales on 29 April.

“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.

“BBC Cymru Wales will continue to provide full coverage of the election campaign, and key issues including the environment, across all its news platforms.”

The BBC have also faced calls to uninvite Abolish from the debate by Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price.

He 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.

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