ALEX Salmond will not be included in the STV leaders' debate next week, despite his demands for "fair coverage".

The broadcaster said its election debate will feature the five leaders of Scotland's "main political parties" – the SNP, the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens. 

It will be hosted by STV’s political editor, Colin Mackay.

Mr Salmond recently renewed his call for "fair coverage in the election campaign". 

He insisted: "Alba meets the requirements for inclusion in election debates and reporting in terms of membership, elected representatives and candidates across the country."

He previously refused to rule out legal action. 

George Galloway’s pro-union All for Unity group has already threatened legal action against the BBC and STV over its exclusion from the leaders' debates.

Mr Salmond did not take part in last Tuesday’s BBC leaders’ debate.

He later said Alba would write to Ofcom over the issue.

Speaking last week, he said: “It is less than a week since launch and already Alba has a comparable number of members to the Liberal Democrats and the Greens and are contesting seats across Scotland

"We also have double the Westminster parliamentary representation of the Labour Party in Scotland.

"There is however a further important reason favouring Alba inclusion in the leadership debates.

"The dominating issue of the election is independence. If the TV companies stick to their present position, every debate will be imbalanced 3 to 2 against independence. 

"With Alba’s representation, at a stroke, the independence argument will be balanced three apiece.

"Watching the [BBC] debate on Tuesday night my name was mentioned a number of times with no recourse. 

"In addition, the moderator, Sarah Smith, sought to elicit information from audience members about support for Alba.

"We have waited until the declaration of candidates before writing. Now given our strength the case for Alba participation in debates and fair coverage is unanswerable. We expect a positive reply.”

Elsewhere, STV announced Election Special results programmes and dedicated one-to-one leader interviews on Scotland Tonight.

Linda Grimes Douglas, head of news and current affairs at STV, said: “It’s a hugely exciting time for Scottish politics and our team is primed and ready to bring viewers the most comprehensive coverage of Election 2021.  

"From our leaders’ debate and one-to-ones on Scotland Tonight, to analysis and on-the-night updates as part of special programming – alongside fully comprehensive ongoing updates from across the country on STV News at Six – we’ve got it covered.”