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Tories tell BBC to ‘rethink’ decision to ‘exclude’ Greens from leaders’ debate

05 Apr 2021 3 minute read
Andrew RT Davies outside the Pierhead in Cardiff Bay.

The Tories have told the BBC to “rethink” its decision not to invite the Welsh Green Party to the leaders’ Senedd election debate.

Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies, has called the decision not to invite the Greens “odd, if not somewhat absurd”.

The leader of the Welsh Green Party, Anthony Slaughter, has demanded they be allowed to take part in the programme after it was revealed that Abolish the Welsh Assembly had been invited to participate.

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”.

Andrew RT Davies said: “Some of the decisions taken by the BBC with regards to the lineup of the Leaders’ debate have been peculiar to say the least.

“In a national election with an element of proportionality it seems odd, if not somewhat absurd, that the Greens have not been invited.

“Only in January, the Green Party were polling higher than the Lib Dems, yet they find themselves excluded with the Lib Dems on the stage.

“The BBC should rethink this decision and invite the Green Party to the Leaders’ debate.”

Anthony Slaughter said: “‘Abolish don’t deserve to be there, while the Greens could contribute a lot and should be included and given a chance.’ @WalesGreenParty must be included in Senedd Election Debates. #InviteTheGreens #Senedd21”

Deputy leader of the Greens, Amelia Womack, who is standing for the party in South Wales East at the Senedd election, said: “Hey @BBCWales, I am incredibly disappointed to see that the Greens have not been invited to these debates, yet the far-right Abolish the Welsh Assembly have.

“Can you please get in touch to discuss this. Thanks.”

‘Debating opportunities’

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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