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Debate about debate

Brian Taylor | 11:55 UK time, Monday, 26 April 2010

So what's been happening during my Stornoway sojourn?

Umpteen cross-party debates, but not yet the one which the Scottish National Party wants.

The SNP has now indicated that it intends to mount a legal challenge to the BBC's Prime Ministerial debate, due to be broadcast on Thursday.

However pursued, the impact of this challenge would be to urge the BBC to review and amend its plans.

The sanction, should the plea succeed, would be to impede the broadcast as it stands.

What is the SNP's objection? That Alex Salmond has not been included in the panel which comprises Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

That this is unfair and a "stitch up" with the three "London parties".

Court route

Why not seek to interdict the earlier debates, held by ITV and Sky, which have already gone out?

Because, according to the SNP, there is a greater requirement upon the BBC to be impartial.

Why leave it until now? Because, according to the SNP, the party had to exhaust every other avenue, including an appeal to the BBC Trust, before pursuing a court route.

When might the hearing take place? The party is currently raising funds for its legal action and hopes to lodge papers tomorrow.

The hearing would take place shortly thereafter in order to clarify the position with regard to the scheduled Thursday transmission.

What has been the response from the BBC Trust? It said, in its finding, that the choice of contenders for this UK Prime Ministerial debate was appropriate; that there was "associated and clearly signposted" coverage afforded to the SNP and Plaid Cymru; and that the "approach to coverage of the SNP and Plaid Cymru was reasonable and adequate to maximise the achievement of due impartiality."

Over to you guys. And, possibly, to the Court of Session.


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