Belfast Telegraph

Blackout is hard to stomach: Eamonn Holmes

By Rebecca Black

Broadcaster Eamonn Holmes has expressed his disgust after Northern Ireland's political leaders were excluded from last night's key pre-election TV debate.

The Belfast-born journalist took to Twitter yesterday morning ahead of the first leaders debate to vent his frustration.

He tweeted: "It's hard to stomach that the rest of the UK is represented, but NOT Northern Ireland. At least we have MPs.

"Northern Ireland has 18 MPs, five of them representing Sinn Fein [who] do not sit."

The presenter pointed out in another tweet that the DUP has more MPs than the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens or Ukip, yet was not included in the debate.

Mr Holmes signed off: "So what if the Northern Irish MPs eventually hold the balance of power? Say what you want about us, but it's wrong to ignore us."

The ITV debate took place yesterday evening over two hours at Media City in Salford, Manchester, with a studio audience of around 200 people, and chaired by ITV anchor Julie Etchingham

The leaders of seven UK political parties took part in the debate on Sky and ITV. Mr Holmes presents This Morning on ITV and Sunrise on Sky.

After a draw for podium places, the Green Party's Natalie Bennett took the left-hand position followed, from left to right, by Nick Clegg for the Liberal Democrats, Ukip's Nigel Farage, Labour leader Ed Miliband, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The DUP is the fourth largest party at Westminster after the big three, and is bigger than most of the parties in last night's debate.

But Northern Ireland's political parties were completely left out, although the SDLP has three MPs - the same as Plaid.

The Green Party has just one MP, like Alliance in Northern Ireland.

And Sinn Fein has five seats, although it does not take them.

Despite its leader's presence, Ukip has two just MPs.

Belfast Telegraph


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