Despite the recent announcement of a new plan for TV Debates before the 2015 General Election, there are still protests from some political parties. Respect Party MP George Galloway has demanded that both his party is included in the debates and has threatened legal action to make sure that this happens.
Mr Galloway, formerly from Labour, who is MP for Bradford West and has been elected to Westminster six times, said it would be unfair to invite other ‘minor parties’ such as the Green Party and Plaid Cymru while excluding Respect. The currently agreed format includes two debates with seven parties (Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru) followed by a final head to head debate between Ed Miliband and David Cameron.
Mr Galloway said:
“We don’t want the seven dwarfs, we want the real deal – so let’s make it eight parties.
My lawyers are on this now and we will be writing to the broadcasters, the watchdog Ofcom and the Prime Minister, if necessary, so these debates don’t go ahead without me.
I look forward to the other leaders on the platform, saying ‘I agree with George’.”
He added that he expected 25 candidates to stand for the respect party at the next General Election in London, Birmingham and Sheffield as well as in Bradford.
With regard to the inclusion of Plaid Cymru in the debates, Galloway commented:
Plaid Cymru have only three MPs. If we are getting down to that level, then I think we have a shout – and we’re quite good at shouting.
However, it is still unclear whether the debates will go ahead. After the broadcasters organising the debates presented a revised format due to the protests of David Cameron at the exclusion of the Green Party, the Prime Minister then said that Northern Irish parties should be included as well.
I do want to say yes, and the point I made was that you couldn’t have one minor party, UKIP without having another minor party, the Greens. It was the broadcasters that decided not only to include the Greens but they also then decided to include Plaid Cymru from Wales and the Scottish National Party from Scotland. I think the Labour Party and myself both made the point you can’t have one part of the United Kingdom – Scotland or Wales – without having another part – Northern Ireland.
Labour Leader Ed Miliband responded by accusing the Prime Minister of ‘wriggling and wriggling’ over the debates, while Cameron responded by saying that a deal was possible if the Northern Irish parties were included.