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Salmond happy with Sky TV debate appearance

First Minister Alex Salmond said today he was “delighted” to be taking part in a live television clash with other top Scottish politicians.

The SNP leader will go head to head with senior figures from Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats in Sky TV’s Scottish election debate.

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He said that as the debate was being broadcast across the UK, it would allow viewers everywhere to “hear a real alternative to the phoney war of the London parties”.

The 90-minute long debate is to take place in Edinburgh on Sunday April 25.

Mr Salmond confirmed he would take part in the political clash as he visited Sky`s call centre in Livingston, West Lothian, as part of the General Election campaign.

The Nationalists also announced that Westminster leader Angus Robertson will represent them in the Scottish election debates hosted by the BBC and STV.

Details of who the SNP is putting forward for the clashes comes in the wake of Nationalist fury over the decision not to include them in the three main UK leaders’ debates being broadcast in the run-up to the May 6 polling day.

Mr Salmond last month blasted the BBC’s failure to feature the SNP in its main UK debate, saying it was “totally and utterly extraordinary” that a public service broadcaster would exclude the party of government in Scotland.

Earlier this month Mr Salmond and Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones wrote to the BBC Trust requesting face-to-face talks to appeal against the decision to exclude them.

Today, the First Minister said that Sky had been “the most accommodating of all the broadcasters”, adding that they had “shown themselves willing to engage with the SNP from the start”.

But he added: “That is in stark contrast to the attitude of the other main broadcasters, who have colluded in a carve-up with the London parties to shut Scotland and Wales out of the leaders’ debates.”

Mr Salmond went on: “Sky’s Scottish debate - unlike those of the other networks - is being broadcast across the whole of the UK and, as such, has been given a proper billing, allowing viewers everywhere to hear a real alternative to the phoney war of the London parties.

“I’m delighted to be taking part in Sky’s Scottish election debate, where I will be taking the SNP’s message offering voters an alternative to the cuts agenda of the Tories and Labour.”

Mr Salmond visited the call centre with Livingston candidate Lis Bardell and local SNP MSP Angela Constance.

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