Greens protest to the BBC for failing to cover their six gains in council elections
The Green party has made a formal complaint to the BBC for giving more prominence to Ukip’s collapse than their six gained seats in last week’s council elections.
Co-leader Jonathan Bartley has claimed the broadcaster does not appreciate the “strength of the Green movement” and has instead been sidelined by Ukip’s “blatantly Islamophobic policies”.
The Greens won a total of 40 seats in England, Wales and Scotland on Thursday, including their first councillor on the Isle of Wight.
Much of the coverage focused on the demise of Ukip, which ended up winning just a single ward and saw its projected national vote share drop to 5% from more than 20% the last time the same councils were contested.
In a formal letter of complaint, Mr Bartley said: “It’s time the BBC recognised the strength of the Green movement and the widespread support for our positive vision for Britain as a confident and caring country.
“When people see what we stand for, they vote Green.
“While Ukip makes cheap attempts to win headlines with blatantly Islamophobic policies, Greens are out making a difference to their local communities and this contrast was made clear in Friday’s election results.
“The Green party is making gains across the country – from the Orkney Islands to the Isle of Wight – and it’s only fair we’re given proportionate coverage by our national broadcaster.”
The BBC’s editorial guidelines dictate that the broadcaster would base its coverage of smaller parties based on “current electoral support, such as a robust and consistent trend in opinion polls, as well as relevant political circumstances”.
On the Greens, the BBC said: “The Green party, in demonstrating some electoral support at local elections, will normally receive coverage proportionate to the larger parties and more than those parties with less evidence of past or current electoral support or fewer candidates.”
Ukip was considered one of the four larger parties in England in the BBC’s local election guidelines.