ALEX Salmond has hit out at the BBC for not including his party in the TV leaders' debate earlier this week and said Alba must be allowed to take part in such programmes in future.

The former first minister has said he will be writing to all broadcasters to ensure the party can participate in forthcoming televised election debates and other shows.

Speaking at a campaign briefing, Salmond revealed his party would be writing to the regulator Ofcom the broadcasters to ensure fairness and parity of coverage. 

Alba's participation would ensure a 50/50 balance of parties supporting independence and those that did not, he added.

The BBC did not include Salmond as Alba leader on Tuesday's night debate.

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"It is less than a week since launch and already Alba has a comparable number of members to the Liberal Democrats and the Greens and are contesting seats across Scotland. We also have double the Westminster parliamentary representation of the Labour Party in Scotland!" he said.

"There is however a further important reason favouring Alba inclusion in the leadership debates. 

"The dominating issue of the election is independence. If the TV companies stick to their present position, every debate will be imbalanced 3 to 2 against independence. With Alba's representation, at a stroke, the independence argument will be balanced three apiece." 

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He added: "Watching the debate on Tuesday night my name was mentioned a number of times with no recourse. In addition, the moderator, Sarah Smith, sought to elicit information from audience members about support for Alba.

"We have waited until the declaration of candidates before writing. Now given our strength the case for Alba participation in debates and fair coverage is unanswerable. We expect a positive reply.” 

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Tory chief Douglas Ross, newly elected Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Scottish LibDem boss Willie Rennie and Scottish Green co-leader Lorna Slater took part in the BBC leader's debate o on Tuesday. 

STV is to hold a live debate between the leaders on April 13.

It is not known if Alba has been invited to take part.

On Sunday the BBC told the National that its debate was only for the largest parties.

STV said it would be releasing details of its election programmes shortly.