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Rivals claim televised debates are unfair'

PUBLISHED: 13:08 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:40 23 August 2010

TELEVISED leaders debates featuring just three parties are fundamentally unfair , according to rival political candidates. Representatives from UKIP, the Green Party and the English Democrats have criticised the three revolutionary debates, due to conc

TELEVISED leaders' debates featuring just three parties are 'fundamentally unfair', according to rival political candidates.

Representatives from UKIP, the Green Party and the English Democrats have criticised the three revolutionary debates, due to conclude tonight, for giving Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats unequal media coverage.

UKIP's Geoffrey Clark, who is standing in Gravesend, said: "The long and short of it is, it is unfair and undemocratic, on the one hand, to exclude other parties while saying you need fairness."

"I would say they shouldn't be held if they cannot include someone from all of the parties," added Green Party candidate Richard Crawford.

Independent candidate Alice Dartnell agreed that the system seemed weighted against smaller parties but was impressed with the interest the debates have created in politics.

She said: "At first I thought it was really unfair on people like UKIP and the Greens. Obviously I am an independent so I know just how difficult it is to get coverage, so if I was a leader of one of those parties I would be pretty angry about it.

"On the other hand these three debates have drawn such a lot of interest. People I speak to on the street and at the pub I work in have been talking about it, which quite surprised me because leading up to the elections there was a real feeling that people had lost their faith in politics."

The interest generated by the debates, the first drawing close to 10million viewers and the second around 5million, was also seen as a positive by English Democrat Steve Uncles who believes a debate for second parties should have been organised.

He said: "If I was planning it from a showbiz point of view I would have held a B-team debate with leaders from UKIP, ourselves, the Greens and the BNP and let viewers phone in to vote for a winner who would be invited to the main debate. That way they would all have been given a chance."

The final debate, focussing on recession and the economy will be screened tonight on BBC 1 from 8.30pm.

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