LEGAL action by the SNP over a planned leaders’ debate on ITV will be heard in court in London today amid claims that excluding the party – and others – was a “democratic disgrace”.

Citing the broadcaster’s own research, the SNP said such debates drew in viewers who were otherwise uninterested in politics, had not made up their minds and that a third of viewers in 2015 used them to assess how a hung parliament would work and how parties would co-operate.

READ MORE: Blackford: Move toward independence is 'unstoppable'

They challenged ITV to open up tomorrow’s debate to enable viewers to decide for themselves.

SNP Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, who will be at today’s hearing, said the challenge was about fairness for all voters who had a right to see the real choice facing them on the debate stage.

Labour and the Tories have not been the leading parties in Scotland at an election for around a decade, while the SNP has grown to become the third party in UK wide politics,” he said.

“It is simply false to tell viewers in Scotland that that is their choice when we know Scotland has repeatedly rejected both in recent elections and the SNP could well hold the balance of power on the 13th December.

“For those who want to support our call for fairness, not just for the SNP but for all parties there is still an opportunity to donate to this case and to back a debate that gives the viewer and the voter what they want.”