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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Greens urge BBC to reverse decision to exclude them

The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) has written to the BBC to urge the public broadcaster to urgently re-consider its ruling not to grant the Green Party a Party Political Broadcast (PPB) in England in 2016 after almost 25,000 have signed a petition calling for the BBC to include the Greens. The Green Party has responded to the BBC Chief Advisors’ comments to the BBC Trust Editorial Standards Committee. The Committee will meet this month to review the Greens’ appeal against the decision by the BBC Executive not to allocate a PPB to GPEW in England.

In a letter to the BBC Trust, Nick Martin, CEO of the Green Party of England and Wales, urged the Committee to re-consider chiefly on the grounds that the Party has, in the course of extensive correspondence, demonstrated substantial levels of past and current electoral support across election types.

Amelia Womack, Green Party Deputy Leader, who, alongside Deputy Leader Shahrar Ali, handed in an appeal letter to the BBC Trust last week said: "The BBC simply must reverse this decision that means over a million people will not be given the opportunity to hear from the party they voted for at the General Election. We are calling on our public broadcaster to aknowledge that the Green Party is a defining feature on what they recognise to be a ‘changed political landscape’. Without this decision being reversed we are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy about who represents us in politics."

Shahrar Ali said: "It is increasingly unacceptable for our public broadcaster to freeze the Greens out of the political debate. To honour its duty of impartiality, the BBC must re-consider its decision to exclude the Greens’ unique voice."

Underlining the growing support for the Party over the past two electoral cycles, Nick Martin noted that, in the 2015 General Election, the Party increased its overall share of the vote in England by four times and retained deposits in more than 120 seats compared to 6 in 2010.

Mr Martin added: "The GPEW contends that the huge discrepancy between votes and seats won should be reflected more fully to produce a fair allocation of the PPB’s and that fairness should be reflected in an allocation of PPB’s to the GPEW. The scale of the discrepancy is indeed remarkable – at the General Election of 2015 it took 34 times more GPEW votes than Conservative votes to elect an MP, and 29 times more GPEW votes than Labour votes to elect an MP."

In the letter, Nick Martin expressed Greens’ concerns that too much weighting has been assigned to parliamentary by-elections which "should have a very low weight because the seats that are contested between Parliaments are unrepresentative of the country as a whole."