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I have just received a copy of a letter Lord Pearson, the new UKIP leader, has written this evening to ITV, Sky and the BBC in an attempt to muscle in on the three leaders debates. In the letter, Lord Pearson writes...
I accept that UKIP will not win the general election, but neither will the Liberal Democrats.
He goes on to suggest that UKIP is allowed to appear in the parts of the debates relating to Europe, Immigration, direct democracy and the economy. It's a good try but simply won't wash. UKIP doesn't have a single seat in Parliament and doesn't even stand in every seat across the UK. If UKIP is let in, what about the Greens ... or you know who? In the end there has to be some sort of criteria for inclusion in the debates. I'd have thought the first hurdle was having seats in Parliament, the second was standing in every, or virtually every, constituency and the third was that there was some sort of prospect of your party forming a government. The LibDems might fall at that final hurdle, but they are only a few per centage points behind Labour in the polls.
Interestingly, there is no threat of legal action in Pearson's letter. All in all, it seems as if UKIP is going through the motions.
Of course the big question is this: if by some remote chance the broadcasters allowed UKIP to take part, who would represent them - Pearson or Farage?