'BBC in SNP's pocket!' Galloway erupts at 'state monopoly of broadcasting' after snub

The SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, Douglas Ross of the Scottish Conservatives, Anas Sarwar of Scottish Labour, Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie and Green co-leader Lorna Slater took part in the first live televised debate on the BBC on March 30. This was followed by the second live debate aired by Scottish television channel STV on Tuesday evening, which featured the same party leaders except for the Greens, with co-leader Patrick Harvie stepping in.

Both events would have been seen as crucial debates with just weeks to go before the Scottish election, with the SNP pushing for a majority to press ahead with plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

All For Unity, which is standing on the regional list at next month’s Holyrood election, scored four percent in a Sunday Times/Panelbase poll of the list vote share that was published on April 4, which is projected to give them a single MSP.

Mr Galloway, a fierce critic of the SNP and Ms Sturgeon, told Express.co.uk: “The BBC at least had the excuse that we hadn’t been in the polls at that time, but there is now no excuse from dismissing us from any further televised debates.

“I’m angry at the BBC but more angry at the ‘SNP TV’, which is otherwise known as STV, and I am taking them to court.

“They are not only excluding us from their debate, despite our standing in the polls, they are pretending we don’t exist in their news coverage.”

He accused the BBC and STV of impartiality and siding with Ms Sturgeon’s pro-independence SNP.

Mr Galloway raged: “Both the BBC and STV are in the hands, if not the pockets, of the SNP.

“It is the closest thing to a state monopoly of broadcasting that has ever existed anywhere in the western world.”

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“Their counterparts elsewhere in the corporation ooze euromania and identity-politics liberalism.

“Together they are quite a Festival against Britain.”

That attack against the BBC came a day after he vowed to take legal action after All For Unity was excluded from the latest TV debate of the Scottish election campaign.

The former MP hit out at STV for what he branded a “blatantly unlawful decision”.

Mr Galloway also complained the Scottish channel was doing a one-to-one interview with former First Minister Alex Salmond whose new Alba Party is also running only on the regional list.

Announcing the move on Twitter, the former MP said that the broadcaster, which he dubbed “SNPTV”, would now “face us in court”.

An STV spokeswoman said: “STV’s election coverage has been, and will continue to be, balanced and fully in accordance with the strict Ofcom guidelines upon which we make our editorial decisions.”

STV head of news and current affairs Linda Grimes Douglas said: “It’s a hugely exciting time for Scottish politics and our team is primed and ready to bring viewers the most comprehensive coverage of Election 2021.

“From our leaders’ debate and one-to-ones on Scotland Tonight, to analysis and on-the-night updates as part of special programming – alongside fully comprehensive ongoing updates from across the country on STV News At Six – we’ve got it covered.”

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