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Green Party protests BBC decision on party political broadcasts

Green Party protests BBC decision on party political broadcasts

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday January 27 2016

The Guardian and Politics Home report on a letter from the Green Party to the BBC appealing a decision by the broadcaster not to allocate it any time to screen party political broadcasts.

The Green Party’s chief executive, Nick Martin, wrote to the BBC director general, Tony Hall, and the BBC’s director of editorial policy and standards, David Jordan, on Tuesday to complain about the ruling.

In December, the BBC awarded the UK Independence Party (UKIP) three party political broadcasts a year and explained its decision was based on the party’s level of support in the country and its role in the coming EU referendum campaign. However, it decided that the Green Party would not receive any party political broadcasts even though both the Green Party and UKIP each have one elected MP.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The allocation of PPB’s is based on criteria set down by the BBC Trust following a public consultation. The criteria are clear and reflect parties current and previous electoral support. The Green party has lodged an appeal against the allocation in England and there is now a formal process to hear their arguments.”

However, writing to the BBC, Mr Martin explained that the pattern and direction of electoral support in England should be recognised, arguing that the Green Party’s support had quadrupled over the past two general elections. He also questioned the decision by the broadcaster to give the Liberal Democrats three party political broadcasts per year outside of election time.

Natalie Bennett, the Green party leader, said the BBC had failed to recognise the direction in which British politics was moving. She said: “The political landscape is fracturing as more and more people demand real change to deliver a safe climate, a public NHS and a fair economy. These proposals fail to recognise that, increasingly, people are rejecting the Westminster status quo and want to hear more about Green values and policies. This is the year that we turn the “green surge” into Green seats. We are a vibrant, united party committed to our values and driven forward by our passionate members and supporters. In 2016, we are looking forward to increasing our number of seats on the London assembly, putting in our best performance in the London mayoral contest, gaining a seat on the Welsh assembly and growing our representation on councils across England and Wales.”

In December, the BBC Trust altered its guidelines to allow political parties with one MP to be considered for party political broadcast slots on BBC1 and BBC2. Previously, a party had to have at least two representatives, as a result neither UKIP nor the Green Party would have qualified to air any broadcasts. In the run-up to last year’s general election, the BBC decided that the Green Party should not be given major party status, which would have allowed it to take part in televised debates.

The news follows on from an announcement last year by Ofcom not to award the Green Party “major party” status during the general elections. On the other hand, the regulatory body recognised UKIP as a “major party” for the first time in its history.

Early last year, another political party, the British National Party, faced the prospect of being denied airtime for party political broadcasts during the May general elections after it was found in breach of BBC rules pertaining to the number of candidates a political party puts up for election.


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