31 October 2019
Petition to
Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs, Channel 4
Signatures: 261Next Goal: 500
Support now

Why this petition matters

Started by Ros Chappell

1. UK is about to have its third general election in 5 years. It has been precipitated by paralysis and division on Brexit. Because Labour and Conservatives rejected a single-issue referendum to resolve the impasse, this election has become the de facto referendum.

2. The Guardian has reported a source at Channel 4 claiming C4 has already proposed a simple head-to-head leadership format for its election debate, involving only Conservative and Labour leaders, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, thus excluding the Liberal Democrats leader, Jo Swinson.

3. This would be a travesty of fairness and democracy.

4. While a case can be made for other political parties, this petition is specifically to demand that the Lib Dems fully participate in the debates.

5. In a country split by Remain and Leave, with Remain leading almost exclusively in the opinion polls over the past 28 months, Liberal Democrats are the dominant Remain Party. Both Labour and Conservatives have supported Brexit.

6. The Liberal Democrats will campaign for UK to remain in the EU, with the pledge that a majority win in the election will be a mandate to revoke Article 50. They must have the opportunity to present their policy in the debates.

7. In the 2019 EU elections, Liberal Democrats outperformed both Conservatives and Labour. The Lib Dems also made vast strides in the 2019 local elections.

8. While the First Past the Post electoral system makes it very unlikely the Liberal Democrats will win the election with a majority, it is not impossible. And it is possible that they end up leading a minority or coalition government, with Jo Swinson becoming Prime Minister.

9. Therefore it is unconscionable that Channel 4 should exclude Liberal Democrats from a debate of potential Prime Ministers.

10. Both Johnson and Corbyn want to present the election as a choice between them alone, but they must not be allowed to misrepresent it as a 2-horse race, any more than autocracy or election-rigging can be allowed.

Channel 4 News claims it is valued for its independence and key role in democratic discussion in Britain. Please live up to this.

Support now
Signatures: 261Next Goal: 500
Support now


  • Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs, Channel 4