Labour's Sadiq Khan Demands 2015 TV Election Debates Have A Non-White Moderator

Should the TV debates have a non-white moderator, such as the BBC's Mishal Husein
Should the TV debates have a non-white moderator, such as the BBC's Mishal Husein

It would be "disgraceful" if all the hosts of the 2015 general election TV leaders' debates were white, Labour's shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan has said.

In 2010 the three clashes between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg were refereed by the BBC's David Dimbleby, ITV's Alastair Stewart and Sky News' Adam Boulton. An all white male line-up, of both journalists and politicians.

On Tuesday the House of Lords communications committee said the BBC, ITV News and Sky News should "consider the balance of gender and ethnic diversity among the moderators" when it comes to the next election.

The report said: "We recognise that the choice of moderator for each debate is a matter of each broadcaster’s own editorial judgement. Should broadcast election debates take place in 2015 and beyond, we recommend that the broadcasters ensure they exercise that judgement, reflecting our concern, and mindful of the disappointingly uniform outcome of their decisions in 2010."

On Thursday Labour has added to the pressure on broadcasters to diversify their pool of presenters. Khan, who is outlining Labour’s plan to tackle race inequality this evening, told the Huffington Post he agreed with the Lords recommendations.

"There has been a lot of discussion about the Leaders TV debates recently," he said. "About who should be involved, what the format should be and how many debates we should have."

"Not a single debate host was black or minority ethnic in 2010. It would be disgraceful if this was the same in 2015.

"How great would it be to see the debates hosted by an ethnic minority presenter in 2015? To see [BBC presenter] Mishal Husein, [Ch4 News presenter] Krishnan Guru- Murphy, [Independent editor] Amol Rajan or even [Operation Black Vote co-founder] Simon Woolley lead the questioning of our leaders."

The political parties are still shadowboxing over the precise time and format of any election debates. Last week Cameron indicated he may even be prepared to debate Nigel Farage - something that had long been seen as highly unlikely.

The prime minister hinted he would like to go head-to-head in one debate with Ed Miliband, and then take part in a separate separate debate also involving Farage, Clegg and the Green party leader, Natalie Bennett.

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