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Ukip MLA sends letter to BBC over leaders debate show

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 06/04/2015

The Assembly's only Ukip MLA has written to the BBC to demand that his party be included in a local leaders debate programme.

If invited, it means Strangford MLA David McNarry's party will have appeared on local and national TV election debates despite being dwarfed by the DUP.

The former Ulster Unionist said he wrote the letter to ensure that the broadcaster did not repeat the "disgraceful exclusion" of some leaders in the national election debates.

The letter was sent in the wake of a bitter row that erupted when DUP leader Peter Robinson was not included as one of the party leaders involved in the live election debates. In his April 5 letter to BBC Northern Ireland controller Peter Johnston, Mr McNarry said: "I understand that BBC NI are to host a 'Leaders Debate' on May 5.

"Trusting that your local network will not be repeating the disgraceful exclusion of some leaders by the National Broadcasters.

"I take it that Ukip in Northern Ireland will receive an invitation to the May 5 event?"

The BBC NI website has outlined the coverage it will be broadcasting during the run up to the election. It confirmed a local leader debate will be held on May 5 but states more details about the event are to follow.

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