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SNP IN THREAT TO BLOCK BLAIR v HAGUE TV BATTLE.

THE SNP yesterday threatened to scupper the chance of live TV debates between William Hague and Tony Blair.

ITV and the BBC have launched a joint challenge to party leaders, including Lib Dem Charles Kennedy, to take part in two three-way debates.

They have also suggested two separate debates in Scotland between the three UK parties plus the SNP.

But yesterday, the SNP put the whole plan in jeopardy by demanding to be allowed to take part in the UK-wide programmes.

The SNP claim they will only be given two bites at the cherry, while the other three parties will get four.

Senior broadcasting insiders made clear what was on offer was non-negotiable.

But an SNP spokesman said: "We would make the strongest possible objections and we would not rule out possible legal action.

"What is non-negotiable is that the SNP should be involved in any debate broadcast in Scotland."

But a Lib Dem spokes-man said: "Under what they are calling for, you would have to have Plaid Cymru, the Greens and all of the Northern Ireland parties.

"It is just sheer arrogance on the part of the SNP."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 24, 2000
Words:189
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