Yorkshire Party Leader Stewart Arnold has challenged broadcasters to rewrite their rules on party election broadcasts to reflect the growing importance of regional political parties.
“The Yorkshire Party can’t get a party election broadcast because we don’t fight enough seats across ENGLAND. Even if we fought every parliamentary seat in Yorkshire we still wouldn’t be entitled to one – we’d still be 20 seats short.
“This is despite the Party is arguably now the third largest party in much of Yorkshire.
“The rules have to be changed,” said Stewart
Stewart has written to Ric Bailey, the BBC’s chief adviser on politics in editorial policy, who chairs the Broadcasters’ Liaison Group. The Group comprises representatives of the broadcasters who make airtime available to registered political parties and to designated organisations in referendum campaigns. Through the BLG, broadcasters work together with the Electoral Commission to ensure a consistent approach.
Read Stewart’s letter…
I am writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Broadcasters’ Liaison Group on behalf of the Yorkshire Party.
I am not sure how much you now about us but I am attaching a briefing document setting out who we are and our electoral success to date. We are arguably now the third party in much of Yorkshire.
The main point here is that we are a regionally based party and we will never pass the threshold for seats fought either at local level or in a general election across England that will allow us a party election broadcast. We will only be fighting seats within Yorkshire (we are the Yorkshire Party after all!) This is a problem similar to that colleagues in Mebyon Kernow and the North East Party also have.
As we see the further emergence of regionally and territorially based parties in England I strongly believe that the guidelines you work to need a rethink.
This is especially important as the English devolution agenda maintains momentum. BBC News after all has a large regional dimension in its programming so I would think the technology exists for regional party broadcasts in the same way they happen in Scotland and Wales.
If you would like a chat about this … I would be very happy to talk to you.
All the best
Leader, the Yorkshire Party”