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Green Party files complaint about BBC's UKIP coverage


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The Green Party has accused the BBC of breaking their own impartiality guidelines by giving ‘disproportionate’ coverage to UKIP.

In last week´s local council elections the Greens won 40 seats, while UKIP lost every seat they were defending and won only one. 

On 7th May the Greens filed a complaint to the BBC because they believe the broadcaster broke its own impartiaility guidelines in its coverage of the May 4th local elections results.

The BBC's guidelines state that the Green Party should be given coverage “proportionate to the larger parties” and “more than those parties with less evidence of past or current electoral support or fewer candidates.” 

In their complaint letter to the broadcaster, the Green Party said:

“With the exception of a few items, most of the BBC’s coverage failed to report the Green Party’s results, while giving disproportionate coverage to UKIP". 

Speaking about the perceived impartiality, co-leader of the Greens, Jonathan Bartley, said:

“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.

“As the local election results, in which 150,000 people voted Green compared with less than 100,000 for UKIP, demonstrated, when people see what we stand for, they support the Green Party. It’s time the BBC recognised the strength of the Green movement.”

In its upcoming General Election specials coverage the BBC has allocated UKIP prime time slots. Paul Nuttall, the leader of UKIP, is set to be interviewed by Andrew Neill on BBC1, and will also take part in an Election Question Time broadcast on June 4th.

In comparison, the Green Party has been scheduled no prime time slots. This is despite the fact the Greens have one MP - Caroline Lucas, who has held the Brighton Pavillions seat since 2010 - while UKIP have none. 

When approcached a BBC spokesman said:

"Our coverage is duly impartial, but in any given day editorial judgements will be made about what the most significant story is.

"Our guidelines, and Ofcom, set a factual basis for the relative coverage of political parties – we must take into account support over at least two electoral cycles and not just the recent local election results.

"The BBC will not allow itself to be used by any party to gain political advantage."

Images by Jwslubbock and Matt Wootton.

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