UKIP supports DUP as parties bid for a place in TV election debates

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson

The DUP has received firm support in its battle to take part in UK-wide TV election debates – from Northern Ireland UKIP leader David McNarry.

The biggest unionist party in Northern Ireland has hinted that it could launch legal action over its exclusion by broadcasters from upcoming televised debates ahead of the General Election.

Ukip MEP Amjad Bashir

Ukip MEP Amjad Bashir

On Saturday the News Letter reported that the DUP has written a letter to the broadcasters in which it complained about moves to include Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, SNP and UKIP – but not the DUP, which holds more seats than any of them.

The party stated that “the broadcasters’ decision cannot logically or legally be defended”.

Last night Northern Ireland UKIP leader David McNarry claimed that the BBC and UTV are also acting against his party.

“I support the DUP’s case for inclusion in the forthcoming national televised election leaders debates,” Mr McNarry said.

“By the same token, would they support UKIP’s inclusion in the regional TV debates on UTV and BBC Northern Ireland?

“After all, if the DUP’s case has merit for national television then so should UKIP’s case for regional television.

“To add insult to injury, I understand that the Northern Ireland public will be denied the right to view UKIP’s election broadcasts on UTV and BBC Northern Ireland, even though UKIP overall are fielding more candidates than any of the five Northern Ireland Executive parties.”

He added that on both counts this is “grossly unfair” to UKIP.

“The veto in one aspect and the ban in another is a denial of equal rights. It seems that both the BBC and UTV are controlling the electoral process in a prejudicial manner against UKIP.”

The BBC last night declined to offer any comment, while nobody from UTV was available to comment.