17 November 2019 – the overnight press release

Lib Dems begin legal challenge against BBC for Swinson exclusion

The Liberal Democrats have instructed a legal team to write to the BBC in response to the public service broadcaster excluding Jo Swinson from their election ‘leaders’ debate’.

In the letter, the party’s lawyers warn that the exclusion of one of the leaders of the three main UK-wide national parties is “clearly unlawful”.

President of the Liberal Democrats, Sal Brinton, has said “voters of this country deserve to hear from a Remainer on the debate stage, not just from the two men who want to deliver Brexit.”

The Liberal Democrats have already filed proceedings at the High Court for a judicial review of ITV’s decision to exclude remain from their General Election debate.

The letter follows the Liberal Democrats launching a petition with the hashtag #DebateHer calling for Jo Swinson to be in the debate. The petition states “Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are running scared of debating the woman leader of the strongest party of Remain.”

The petition can be found here.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Could somebody please explain why gender is of any relevance in this matter ?

  • Yes I agree, there seems to be an obsession with it and men are now being demonised. I am wondering if there would be the same hysteria if it was the male leader of a remain party. I am beginning to wonder why the party is flat lining in the polls on 15% and some of the esoteric stuff you get on here and policies could be why.

  • Peter Martin 17th Nov '19 - 10:08am

    @ David Raw,

    “Could somebody please explain why gender is of any relevance in this matter?”

    That’s because Jo Swinson says it is and it’s her big thing!

    I seem to remember the LIberals or Lib Dems having the same problem ‘getting in on the act’ in previous elections. It’s not the first time this has happened. The TV companies and the two main leaders obviously prefer a direct debate between two participants.

  • I agree that too much is being made about gender in all walks of life these days but to say that the BBC and ITV prefer to have a debate between two participants may be true, but in a supposedly democratic country where the choice is between more than the leaders of two parties who both represent the Brexit side of the argument just cannot be right whatever happened in the past.

  • Helen Dudden 17th Nov '19 - 10:52am

    As, a disabled older lady I feel this subject of men dominating women petty. It seems like toys being thrown out of the pram.
    If you are able to speak for yourself, you are able, male or female. Actually, I quite like the idea of being a mother and grandmother, and the BBC or any other TV station have excluded other members of parties too.
    For months and months, all there has been is Brexitt. I asked one of your supporters, is there nothing else? Perhaps, that’s one reason, it’s got boring, and I’m not a certain type of person because I voted out.

  • Pursuing a legal challenge is sensible. Making it the big campaign issue to talk to the public about is not.

    Johnson has “Get Brexit Done”. Corbyn has “Freebies for All”. Lib Dems have “T’Aint Fair, You’re Picking on Us”. Which of these three slogans is totally not going to persuade anyone to vote for the party which issues it?

  • Helen Dudden 17th Nov '19 - 1:10pm

    Freebies for all plus, the disarray of the Party, won’t.
    Brexit Done, well at least it sounds positive, in the fact we can have democracy.
    It ain’t fair, I’m a women, well imagine you have Question Time, life gets tough. You have women doctors, surgeons, Lawyers and Barristers. I met one very petite Lawyer who worked on International Law and Child Access, most certainly could hold her own. How about in the Supreme Court in London, one of the judge’s is a women. Pop into the court in London when she is sitting, a lesson to learn.

  • Sue Sutherland 17th Nov '19 - 1:34pm

    For all the men who feel sensitive about female oppression, it’s OK the party has got your back. 3 men were pushed up the list for Federal Board, Federal Policy Committee and Federal Conference Committee in order to meet equality targets. I think the future may have arrived.

  • I wouldn’t major on gender I would major on we need an alternative view to the fantasy options pushed by Corbyn and Depeffle. However I am aware the media love fantasy more than reality, all I would say is when the media get done over by reality don’t be rushing to their defence they made their bed let them lie in it. I’d offer the same advice about Peter and his missing friends if we continually save them from reality they will never lean.

  • Paul Holmes 17th Nov '19 - 2:47pm

    Sue – It is true that Lib Dem Members (majority male) in a free, secret ballot election, without ‘all anything’ short lists, have just elected a disproportionate number of female candidates to Party Committees. Just as it was also true (but completely ignored) that, back in 2010 for example, a majority male membership selected women for Target Parliamentary Seats in a higher ratio than their % on the approved candidates list.

    Yet still we have kept getting those sexist, racist and ageist jibes about the terrible male, pale and stale men in our Party. I hope you are correct, that the future has indeed arrived and that we can now concentrate on fighting for the Lib Dem policies we want instead of constantly fighting those ‘terrible’ men.

  • Should Sal Brinton have said “the two persons who want to deliver Brexit”, then? Two men is just normal speech, no need to read anything into it.

  • David Allen 17th Nov '19 - 6:37pm

    “The petition states “Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are running scared of debating the woman leader of the strongest party of Remain.””

    No need to read anything into it, move along, nothing to see here…..

    Somehow we’re managing to sound dodgy even when we’re not doing anything dodgy. It’s good to have a woman leader – but it isn’t good to push the “feminist” button when it doesn’t apply. There is no evidence that Vince Cable would have been treated any differently.

  • @ David Allen Do you mean the former man leader of the Liberal Democrats, Sir Vincent Cable, David ?

  • David Allen 17th Nov '19 - 8:04pm

    That’s the person…

  • Part of the problem is that the Lib Dems lack proportionate cover in the national press, too. The broadcast media tend to follow the papers rather than vice versa.

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