THE SNP and the LibDems have lost their High Court battle with ITV over tonight’s election debate.

Both parties had argued that it was unlawful to exclude them and was in breach of strict impartiality rules.

But the court’s decision means the programme will go ahead as originally planned, with just Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said the decision was discrimination against Scottish voters, treating them as “second-class citizens”.

The two judges hearing the appeal said that the parties could complain to Ofcom but only after the programme had been broadcast.

Lord Justice Davis, sitting with Mr Justice Warby, said even if the court did have jurisdiction to deal with the case, the format of the debates was a matter of “editorial judgment”.

READ MORE: SNP complain to Sky News and Ofcom over election debate exclusion

He added: “The clear conclusion of both members of this court is that, viewed overall, these claims are not realistically arguable.

“It follows that the television debate scheduled for tomorrow evening between the leader of the Conservative Party and the leader of the Labour Party may lawfully go ahead.”

The judges are expected to release their full reasoning later today.

ITV lawyers had told the court that the debate would be pulled from its schedule if the judges had found in favour of the SNP and the LibDems.

Blackford said Nicola Sturgeon had been “ready, willing and able, to take on Johnson and Corbyn” but instead viewers would only get to see two party leaders who shared the same views on Brexit and locking “Scotland into the Union”.

He added: “It was already clear that the Westminster political system is utterly broken and incapable of properly representing Scotland’s interests.

“What is now clear is that the UK broadcasting system is similarly incapable. Indeed the result of the decision to exclude the SNP is to discriminate against Scottish voters and to effectively treat them as second-class citizens.

READ MORE: FM: 'Simply outrageous' to invite LibDems, not SNP, to TV debates

“That is, quite simply, a democratic disgrace, and the fact that election law and broadcasting codes allow such gross unfairness is unacceptable. “

LibDem candidate Layla Moran said it was “outrageous” that a Remain voice is missing from the ITV debate.

She tweeted: “The court ruled against us. But the fight must continue. It’s simply wrong of broadcasters to present a binary choice and preempt the decision of the people in a General Election.”

Sky News has proposed a November 28 debate while the BBC has confirmed it will host two debates, on November 29 and December 6.