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Salmond confirms TV election debate

First Minister Alex Salmond has confirmed he will clash with his political rivals in Scotland in a television debate.

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.

The 90-minute long debate, which will take place in Edinburgh on Sunday April 25, will be broadcast live to the whole of the UK.

The move was announced on the same day that Mr Salmond is to visit the Sky call centre in Livingston as part of his party's General Election campaign.

The Nationalists have also confirmed 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. And 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.

Speaking ahead of his visit to the Sky call centre this morning the First Minister said: "Scotland has been largely cut out of the picture when it comes to these election debates, and Scots viewers are being denied a fair reflection of the major issues - but Sky have been the most accommodating of all the broadcasters and have shown themselves willing to engage with the SNP from the start.

"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. Only the election of the SNP's local and national champions will help protect vital Scottish public services from those savage London cuts."

Mr Salmond will visit the call centre in Livingston along with SNP candidate for the area Lis Bardell and local MSP Angela Constance.

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