SNP ends legal challenge over election debate

The Scottish National Party has dropped its legal challenge against the BBC’s decision not to allow its leader Alex Salmond to appear in its televised debate in the run-up to the general election.

A judicial review of the matter was scheduled to be heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

However, both the SNP and the BBC said this had now been “withdrawn with the agreement of both parties”.

The review was set to take place after the SNP failed in a last-ditch legal bid to be included in the final prime ministerial debate on the BBC.

Party leaders went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, in April, to contest the decision not to include them in the third of three live clashes.

The SNP had bid to block broadcast of the debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg in Scotland if the Nationalists were not featured.

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

In a joint statement release this week, the SNP and BBC said: “In light of the fact that the election period is now over, the SNP and the BBC confirm that the legal action brought by the SNP in relation to the Prime Ministerial debates has been withdrawn with the agreement of both parties.

“As the arrangements for coverage of the next general election lie entirely in the future both parties recognise that the SNP’s application is now academic and substantial legal expenses would be incurred on both sides.

“From the BBC’s perspective that would not serve the interests of licence fee payers.”

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