Greens say they’re not put on ‘equal footing’ to Abolish in leaders’ debate
The Greens have criticised the BBC for not putting them on an “equal footing” to the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party in the upcoming leaders’ debate.
The BBC had come under fire for excluding the Wales Green Party from the programme entirely but including Abolish.
Anthony Slaughter, the leader of the Greens in Wales has welcomed the news that they have now been invited but says the two-part structure of the programme means they’re not being treated fairly.
The BBC had originally responded to the calls to invite the Greens by insisting that it was “confident” that its editorial process had been “fair and impartial”.
But it was recently revealed that the BBC Wales Leaders Debate, which is to be broadcast on BBC One Wales at 8.30pm on Thursday, April 29, in advance of polling day on May 6, will be a two-part debate, with some of the parties that weren’t thought to be invited, taking part in the second.
Bethan Rhys Roberts and Nick Servini will present the debate over ninety minutes and they’ll be joined by a virtual audience armed with topical questions.
In the first hour, Bethan will host leaders invited from the Labour, Conservative, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrats and Abolish the Assembly parties.
Nick Servini will host leaders invited from Reform, UKIP, and the Green Party for the second part of the programme.
Anthony Slaughter said: “We are pleased the BBC have recognised their decision to exclude parties able to win Senedd seats from their debates was the wrong one.
“The press coverage and public outcry clearly had an effect – Welsh people don’t want to see the Greens unfairly side-lined.
“However, the two section debate structure the BBC have proposed does not give the people of Wales a chance to see their potential representatives fully debate each other on equal footing.
“A single debate would present the opportunity for parties including the Greens to hold the current administration to account, and give a clear picture for voters of their options stepping in to polling stations next month.
“We are in a climate emergency, and Wales faces huge economic and social challenges. Only the Green Party have a plan to transform Wales and secure our future, by investing locally in communities.
“So, despite our reservations we will be at the debate, because Wales needs to hear the Green Party’s unique message more than ever.”
BBC Wales’ Head of News, Garmon Rhys said: “BBC Wales Leaders Debate is part of our package of comprehensive coverage of this year’s Senedd election on the BBC, ensuring audiences in every part of Wales get all the facts and information they need to make their choice on polling day.
“It’s an opportunity for the party leaders to answer questions and debate some of the election’s key issues chaired by two expert presenters. It promises to be a fascinating discussion.”