SNP loses TV debate challenge

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The SNP failed in a last-ditch legal bid today to be included in the final prime ministerial debate on the BBC.

Party leaders went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to contest the decision not to include them in the live clash tomorrow night.

But judge Lady Smith today rejected their bid to block the broadcast in Scotland of the debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg if it does not feature the Nationalists.



In her ruling, Lady Smith said: "I am not satisfied that it is appropriate to grant the order sought."

She added: "It seems to me that the order sought lacks the requisite precision and clarity and would leave the respondents in real and reasonable doubt as to what they could or could not do if they went ahead with the debate."

Leaders' debates have already been held on ITV and Sky and the final exchange is due to be hosted by the BBC in Birmingham tomorrow.

The legal challenge to the corporation came days after the BBC Trust rejected an appeal by the SNP and Plaid Cymru in Wales against their exclusion from the debate.

The SNP raised a £50,000 fighting fund in less than 48 hours to bring the court action, which got under way yesterday afternoon.

The party argued that its exclusion from the final prime ministerial debate was "inherently unfair" and said such a move ran contrary to the BBC's requirement under its charter to show "due impartiality" in election coverage.

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