Labour MP backs SNP role in leadership debate

The Labour MP for Edinburgh North & Leith, Mark Lazarowicz, has admitted on his blog that there is “no excuse” for excluding the SNP from a general elections leaders’ debate and any attempts to block the SNP would lead to a “lead to a successful legal challenge”.

  Commenting on his blog Mr Lazarowicz said:

  To me, the issue is pretty clear cut. Like it or not (and I don’t!), the SNP is a major party in Scotland and there really is no sustainable excuse for leaving their leader out of any leadership ‘head-to-head’. I think that to try and do so might indeed lead to a successful legal challenge.”

  Commenting on the remarks on Mr Lazarowicz’s blog the SNP MSP for the Lothians, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:

  “Clearly Mark Lazarowicz has exposed how the opposition’s lack of respect for the voters is based on pure party advantage and nothing to do with giving voters a clear idea of each party’s agenda and policies.

  “He is also reflecting the fact that the General Election in Scotland is a clear two-horse race between the SNP and Labour. It would be entirely unacceptable, and unfair to a Scottish audience, to exclude the party that forms the Government of Scotland and leads in the Westminster polls in Scotland.

  “In Scotland we have long had election debates for some time now and it is high time we had UK-wide debates for the Westminster elections.

  “If we are to have them they should reflect the democratic and political reality of Scotland and the UK.

  “Broadcasters must meet their obligations to audiences across the UK – and that means that any debates broadcast in Scotland must include Alex Salmond, and any other relevant spokespeople should there be subject debates.

  “We will be approaching the broadcasters to ensure such guarantees, given their clear public service obligations to ensure fairness and impartiality in election-related coverage in Scotland.”