ELECTION: BBC leaves Greens out of Berwick TV debate

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The Green Party candidate has spoken out after she was not invited by BBC Look North to take part in its TV debate on the streets of Berwick yesterday.

Rachael Roberts told the Gazette that ‘being excluded from debates and discussions is undemocratic’.

“It was due to public pressure that we experienced a seven-leader debate that gave people the opportunity to hear from party leaders across the spectrum,” she said. “We are operating in a very different political landscape from five years ago,”.

A spokesperson for BBC North East and Cumbria said: “Based on BBC guidelines, we only invited the four main candidates to our Look North hot seats in Berwick. We will be filming a separate hot seat with Green Party candidate Rachael Roberts.”

Ms Roberts said: “It is not good enough for respected broadcasters to cite Ofcom and state that they say they don’t need to include the Greens so they won’t. Surely they have to take responsibility for making this decision for themselves and they should be recognising that the public are interested in the Greens and actively choosing to vote for them too.”

“Even my fellow candidates have expressed concern at the exclusion I have experienced from programmes made by both the BBC and ITV so far in this campaign.”

Tim Roake, the Berwick Green Party’s press officer, described the explanation given to him by BBC Look North as ‘not good enough’ after only four of the six candidates vying for the Berwick seat were invited to take part in the question-and-answer session on Marygate. The English Democrat candidate was also missing.

Mr Roake said: “The Green Party is the third biggest in the Berwick constituency, if not the second biggest. When I asked why Rachael was not invited, I was told they had looked at the previous election results and the European elections. But we did not stand in those elections. They used old information and it is not good enough.”