Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Sunday, 4 April 2010 13:48 UK

SNP and Plaid Cymru appeal against BBC debate decision

Ieuan Wyn Jones and Alex Salmond
The leaders of Plaid and the SNP question the BBC's impartiality

The SNP and Plaid Cymru are appealing against a decision by the BBC not to include their leaders in a televised UK general election debate.

Alex Salmond and Ieuan Wyn Jones have written to the BBC Trust to request an oral hearing to appeal against the BBC executive's decision.

The pair are angry their parties will not be represented in three debates to be televised on the BBC, ITV and Sky.

The BBC argues it has clearly set out how impartiality will be achieved.

The BBC Trust said it could not comment in advance of receiving the letter.

Three debates are due to be staged by the BBC and other broadcasters in the run-up to the election, which is widely expected to take place on 6 May.

Appeals of this nature are rare and we urge the trust to acknowledge and act immediately on the important democratic principles at stake here
Plaid Cymru

Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will take part in the debates.

The Scottish and Welsh party leaders have written to the BBC Trust to request face-to-face talks to appeal against its decision to exclude them.

Both have strongly argued they should be included in the debate hosted by the public service broadcaster.

They also proposed a fourth television debate involving both them and the main UK parties, in order to restore "political balance".

An SNP spokeswoman said: "Mr Salmond and Mr Jones are seeking a face-to-face meeting with the trust within a timeframe that will allow for adjudication prior to the planned broadcast on 29 April."

A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman said: "As the scheduled date of broadcast nears, the exclusion of Scotland and Wales from these debates has become all the more pressing.

"Both Plaid and the SNP are ready and willing to present our case in person at the earliest opportunity.

"Appeals of this nature are rare and we urge the trust to acknowledge and act immediately on the important democratic principles at stake here."

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