BBC bosses have been told broadcasting a TV Brexit debate with just Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn would be a “severe dereliction” of the broadcaster’s public responsibility.

Keith Brown has written to director-general Lord Hall questioning the exclusion of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

READ MORE: May and her Tory Government are acting like a dictatorship

The SNP depute leader also accused the BBC of “giving the impression” of acting for the Prime Minister as the party steps up its criticism of the corporation’s plans for the debate.

Brown hit out after a suspicion May had received information about the programme denied to the SNP.

The BBC wants to stage a head-to-head debate on Sunday December 9 – two days before a crucial Commons vote on the Brexit deal – between May and the Labour leader.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon warns Brexit will put Scotland at a 'disadvantage' to Northern Ireland

Earlier this week the First Minister suggested it would be it would be an “absolute travesty of democracy” if the debate took place without including someone to make the case for remaining in the European Union. The SNP has now been invited to take part in a separate panel alongside the main discussion.

“Under section 7.2 of the Ofcom regulations you are required to be fair in your dealings with potential contributors,” Brown told Hall.

“Having made contact with the BBC ourselves, the SNP has been told that we cannot be told the details of the proposed programme, to which we are apparently to be invited to participate in some fashion, until other potential contributors – to whom the outline of the programme has been “pitched” – have confirmed their position.”

He added: “Such actions on the part of the BBC are clearly not in line with the obligation to act fairly and leave the corporation open to the clear impression that you are acting on behalf of the Prime Minister’s office, a position I am sure the BBC would not wish to be in.

“Under your own editorial guidelines, you are required to be “inclusive, reflecting a breadth and diversity of opinion” and reminded that “the omission of an important perspective, in a particular context, may jeopardise perceptions of the BBC’s impartiality.”

Brown said the current proposed format would not give suitable representation to the devolved governments or parliaments, to the position of Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which voted remain, or to the SNP, which is the third largest party within the House of Commons and the second largest political party by membership in the UK.

“As you will know, up to six options for the UK’s future will be voted on in the House of Commons on December 11,” he said. “To fully debate only the Prime Minister’s view and that of the leader of the opposition – views which have been televised repeatedly in recent weeks, and which are simply different versions of Brexit, whilst positioning other options on the side of the debate – would be to prevent the public benefitting from a full understanding of the options and potential outcomes facing the UK as a whole and as a result would be a severe dereliction of your public duty.”

Brown said the issue was being “discussed with the First Minister’s chief of staff at present”.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “We have received the letter, which we will answer in due course, but we have not set out any debate format at this stage.”

It is not yet clear if Corbyn and May will debate with each other on the same show. May has accepted the BBC’s offer but Labour sources have said the party has not yet agreed to take part in the BBC debate, with Corbyn saying he preferred ITV’s offer.