BBC Statement after meeting with the DUP over proposed televised debates…

The DUP requested a meeting with the Director-General of the BBC to raise its concerns about not being included in the leaders’ TV debates to be broadcast across the UK and about wider coverage ahead of the General Election.

The DUP has also raised its concerns with the BBC Trust and, separately, instructed lawyers to prepare to take legal action against the BBC.

The BBC, alongside ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News, has announced plans to host a series of television debates in the run-up to the General Election. These include a head-to-head debate between the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties, as well as two debates additionally involving the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

In Northern Ireland, the BBC will host a separate primetime TV debate to ensure fair and impartial treatment of all the main Northern Ireland parties: the DUP, Sinn Fein, the SDLP, the UUP and the Alliance.

James Harding, BBC Director of News, went to Belfast on behalf of the Director-General to hear directly from the leader of the DUP about the party’s concerns. The position of the broadcasters on the TV debates remains unchanged.

James Harding said: “This meeting provided an important and useful opportunity for us to hear about the DUP’s concerns. The BBC is required to cover the upcoming election impartially and independent of any political pressure. Our job is to serve the public, ensuring that all voters get full and fair coverage of the choice at the General Election.”

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.