Northern Ireland

TV election debates: DUP's Peter Robinson confident on challenge

Peter Robinson Image copyright AP
Image caption Peter Robinson has said his party's lawyers will be in touch with the broadcasters next week

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Peter Robinson says his party has consulted with senior lawyers over its exclusion from the UK TV election debates by London broadcasters.

He says he is confident the party can show the BBC was wrong to exclude it.

Last month, BBC director general Tony Hall rejected the DUP's request to be included in the TV debates.

Mr Robinson says his party's lawyers will be in touch with the broadcasters next week.

He said if a legal action goes ahead it will be in London.

Although the DUP is the fourth biggest party at Westminster, the BBC argues it would not be fair to invite only one of the Northern Ireland parties to take part in a UK debate.

The broadcasters plans feature two debates with seven parties, including UKIP, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.

The DUP had written to the BBC and ITV asking for an explanation as to why the party had not been invited to take part in the live televised election debates.

In his written reply to the DUP, Lord Hall is understood to have said the decision not to include them complied with the BBC's obligations of impartiality.

The BBC and ITV are currently planning to hold two debates involving the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Greens.

A third debate - hosted by Sky and Channel 4 - would feature a head-to-head between Mr Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

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