DUP dwarfs UKIP and Greens but no mention in TV row

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The notion of including the DUP - the fourth largest party at Westminster - or other Irish, Scottish and Welsh parties, in a TV debate prior to the forthcoming general election, hasn’t crossed the Prime Minister David Cameron or TV stations’ minds apparently.

The DUP (8 MPs), Scottish National Party (6 MPs), Sinn Féin (5 MPs), Plaid Cymru (3 MPs) and SDLP (3 MPs) have a greater number of seats than both the Greens and UKIP but there’s no mention of including any of them in a live TV debate.

Speaking at Westminster on Wednesday (January 14), Mr Cameron claimed “you cannot have two minor parties without the third minor party. So I put the question to the right hon. Gentleman: why is he so frightened of debating with the Green party?”

Labour leader Ed Miliband responded: “I will debate with anyone whom the broadcasters invite, but the man who said that it would be feeble to back out of the debates was the Prime Minister. Now, we all understand that as long ago as last Thursday his abiding passion was to give the Green party a platform, but it is frankly a pathetic excuse. [Interruption.] It is not for him, it is not for me, it is not for any party leader to decide who is in the debate. It is up to the broadcasters. That is the country that we live in. Is the Prime Minister really telling the people of Britain that he will seek to deny them the television debates if he does not get to choose who is in them?

The Prime Minister responded: “We had a set of European elections last year, and UKIP and the Greens both beat the Liberal Democrats, I am afraid to say. It is very simple. You either have both of them, or you have none of them. So let me ask the right hon. Gentleman again: why is he so chicken when it comes to the Greens?”