UKIP to get dedicated BBC election programme – while Greens scramble for scraps

Photo: UKIP leader Paul Nuttall have a one-on-one interview with Andrew Neil, while the Greens will not. 

The Greens have slammed the BBC for denying the party coverage during the general election – despite UKIP getting a dedicated programme.

The BBC’s programming plan, announced yesterday, shows UKIP – which received far fewer votes in last week’s local elections – will be given an individual election programme, while the Greens are excluded.

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall will also be interviewed by BBC presenter Andrew Neil in one of a series of programmes throughout the week beginning May 22, despite Green Party leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley not being offered the same treatment.

However, Left Foot Forward has analysed the grounds for the decision – which appears to stem from the claims that:

“Parties with substantial levels of electoral support at local government level in England are: Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP.”

150,000 people voted Green at last week’s local elections, compared with fewer than 100,000 for UKIP.

Social media users accused the BBC of being ‘biased’ towards UKIP, with the hashtag #InviteTheGreens trending on social media networks. The hashtag was last popular when the Greens were initially excluded from the 2015 televised election debates – a decision which was later reversed.

The guidelines also state that:

“The Green Party, in demonstrating some electoral support at local elections, will normally receive more [coverage] than those parties with less evidence of past or current electoral support or fewer candidates.”

The BBC’s new programming schedule for the General Election arguably appear to contradict the corporation’s own guidelines.

Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader, said:

“This is getting beyond a joke. The BBC’s love affair with UKIP is getting embarrassing and it is time it recognised that the Green Party is entitled to a fair hearing in its election programming.”

UKIP’s individual election programme will be recorded in Bristol – where the Greens’ Molly Scott Cato is the main challenger to Labour. She said:

“UKIP was wiped out in the local elections. They were left with just one seat and look to be heading to win one fewer than that in the general election yet the BBC, once again, confirms the Party will always have a safe seat in the corporation’s news studios.”

She added:

“That the BBC have chosen to broadcast the UKIP programme from Bristol just adds insult to injury. The Greens can win in Bristol. UKIP can’t.”

The BBC did not immediately comment on the exclusion of the Greens, but in a statement announcing the programme plan said:

“We have an exciting line up of special programmes over the General Election period…and [have] the right mix of people on air so they will reach out to all audiences who trust our impartial approach to news.”

The Greens will be taking part in a seven-way BBC election debate on 31 May in Cambridge, and a Newsbeat Youth debate in Manchester on 6 June – but will get no dedicated programme.

Josiah Mortimer is a reporter and Contributing Editor for Left Foot Forward. He also works for the Electoral Reform Society and tweets at @josiahmortimer.

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4 Responses to “UKIP to get dedicated BBC election programme – while Greens scramble for scraps”

  1. Will

    I love the way the BBC use the word “impartial” every time they try to defend their obvious bias towards the right. If the public in general would start watching the news on channel 4 instead then they would be a tad more educated politically——quite a big ask though I fear.
    UKIP came from the extreme right of a right wing party and because of the way the Conservative party has moved en mass further to the right, the re-absorption of UKIP voters will hardly make a difference. I fail to understand why the general public keep being taken in by the biggest bunch of liars these islands have ever seen.

  2. Chester Draws

    UKIP – which received far more votes in the general election is the relevant statistic.

    This is pathetic from LFF. The BBC can’t decide coverage based on local body elections any more than they could based on European elections — which would give UKIP more coverage than anyone else (because they have easily the most seats).

    If the Greens do well in the election coming up, and if UKIP do badly, then the BBC coverage will move to more Green representation. That’s the only fair way to do it. Not based on whichever result the Greens happen to prefer the most.

    The idea that the BBC is pro-UKIP is quite peculiar. The BBC is almost entirely Remain, and UKIP exists to Leave.

  3. jon parker

    Strictly speaking the Greens are, and always have been, pretty much on a par with UKIP as far as the number of MP’s they have is concerned. It is one of the greatest scandals of modern political times that UKIP has routinely been presented by the media, and in particular the BBC, as a major political force when the reality is that they are nothing more than a minor political interest equivalent in stature to the Greens and countless other minor parties. Their success in recent years, although now waning, has been largely manufactured by the astonishing degree of media bias shown towards them at the expense of all other political parties. At its height a stranger to these shores could easily have mistaken Nigel Farage for the UK’s Prime Minister, such was the extraordinary coverage of him given over by the British media, a fact which is nothing short of scandalous when you consider that UKIP is a party which has only ever managed to get 1 MP into Parliament (who has since resigned), putting it firmly on the bottom of the pile as far as media coverage normally goes. And yet now, with the party’s influence waning, it appears that the BBC’s bias continues unabated.

  4. Tony

    To a considerable extent UKIP has achieved its electoral success thanks to the coverage provided by the BBC. This is then used as an excuse to give them more coverage.

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