Nicola Sturgeon challenged Boris Johnson to a head-to-head debate after ITV ruled the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and the Liberal Democrat leaders were not required to appear on the first general election debate on Tuesday. The Scottish First Minister suggested Boris Johnson is a “scaredy-cat” for refusing to confront her but her statement sparked uproarious mockery toward her on social media. One user openly branded the SNP leader as “irrelevant” to the debate, writing on Twitter: “It’s not that he is scared to debate you, it’s just you are of no consequence and irrelevant.”
Another user quoted the small share the SNP secured at the general election in 2017 to justify the decision to exclude Ms Sturgeon from the televised debate: “The SNP got, what, 3% of the UK vote. Why on earth would Boris Johnson want to debate her? She has nothing to say.”
Other users compared the First Minister’s role to that of a local councillor with no influence on overall UK policy: “It’s the equivalent of her debating a Local Community Council Leader. She’s not a Member of Parliament, if she wants to debate the PM it’s easily.
“1. Become an MP, 2. Stand candidates in UK constituencies, 3. Win enough to be the second biggest party. She is the scaredy old moggie.”
Another Twitter user added: “ITV decided who to invite based on who has a realistic chance of being the next PM, no?
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“Three-quarters of the UK cannot back Nicola despite 3rd most seats. If she is invited then there’s an argument for Jo, and if she is there could be one for Nigel. Other debates are being held for this reason”
And another user wrote: “She still doesn’t understand there is no need for the UK PM to debate anything with the FM. She’s not going to be PM, she’s in charge of a small council and making a mess of that.
“Now, as usual, she’s ignoring the democratic ruling from the court.”
ITV decided who to invite based on who has a realistic chance of being the next PM, no? 3/4 of UK cannot back Nicola despite 3rd most seats. If she is invited then there’s an argument for Jo, and if she is there could be one for Nigel. Other debates are being held for this reason
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Two judges on Monday ruled there was “no arguable breach of the Broadcasting Code” when ITV choose to only feature Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn in their general election debate.
Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Warby concluded: “ “The clear conclusion of both members of this court is that, viewed overall, these claims are not realistically arguable.
“It follows that the television debate scheduled for Tuesday evening between the leader of the Conservative Party and the leader of the Labour Party may lawfully go ahead.”
ITV however agreed to feature the leaders of smaller parties, including the SNP, Lib Dems, and the Brexit Party in shorter individual interviews after the debate.
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Speaking to LBC, the Scottish First Minister said: “He seems to be a bit scaredy cat that he’s decided he doesn’t want to debate me. You’d have to ask him why that’s the case. I remember when he came to Bute House in the Summer and he was getting into a debate on independence with me.
“Privately, I suggested to him then we should take it to the public sphere and have a debate.”
She continued: “If you want to be prime minister as he is standing in this election to be, he shouldn’t be running scared of debate.
“I think it speaks volumes that he is so frightened of debating anyone other than Jeremy Corbyn. I’ll put down a challenge to him right now, I’ll debate him any time, any place.”
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