POLITICS

Ukip Appeared On A Quarter Of All Question Time Shows Since May 2010, Huff Post UK Reveals

The Greens only got a look in 7% of the time

27/03/2017 20:09 | Updated 28 March 2017
BBC

Ukip appeared on almost one in four of the BBC’s flagship Question Time programmes in the past seven years - despite never having more than two MPs.

Huff Post UK analysis of the the 258 regular Question Time shows since May 6 2010 shows the anti-EU party had a representative on 24% of the programmes.

The Greens, who unlike Ukip have had an MP consistently in the last seven years, only appeared on 7% of the shows.

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley today called on all broadcasters to give Ukip less coverage, especially now its only MP has quit.

Bartley said: “Now that Ukip have no representation in the House of Commons they should certainly expect less television coverage.

“For too long now they’ve been given a disproportionate amount of airtime and I fully expect the broadcasters to review the amount of time they give what is essentially an extra-parliamentary pressure group.

“With representation in both houses of Parliament, the London Assembly, the European Parliament and the Scottish Parliament, Greens should now be put on at least an equal footing as UKIP.

“Indeed Ukip’s record of losing representatives to defections, criminal investigations and tantrums shows that they just can’t be taken seriously as elected politicians.”

BBC
The Greens' only MP, Caroline Lucas

Since May 2015, only three Green representatives have taken part in Question Time: Caroline Lucas (12 times); Natalie Bennett (4) and peer Jenny Jones (2).

This was despite the party having an MP since 2010 – four years before Ukip won a seat in Parliament – and now has three MEPs, two London Assembly members and around 160 councillors.

Conversely, Ukip has had 15 spokespeople on the show, with former leader Nigel Farage topping the appearances table.

SINCE 2010 GENERAL ELECTION:

Nigel Farage: 17

Paul Nuttall: 10

Douglas Carswell: 6

Suzanne Evans: 5 (including tonight’s debate on Brexit)

Louise Bours: 4

Neil Hamilton: 4

Roger Helmer: 3

Diane James: 3

Steven Woolfe: 2

Patrick O’Flynn: 2

Mark Reckless: 2

Janice Atkinson: 2

Peter Whittle: 1

Arron Banks: 1

Lisa Duffy: 1

TOTAL: 63

Ukip was also awarded “major party” status by Ofcom ahead of the 2015 General Election, as it had shown “past electoral support” and demonstrated “current support”.

Ofcom said the party’s Clacton and Rochester by-election wins, success in the 2014 European parliament vote, local election support and an average opinion poll rating of 15.5% warranted the designation.

Ukip picked up 3,881,099 votes compared to the Greens 1,157,613, but both parties won just one seat each.

Following Carswell’s resignation, unless Ukip win a by-election before 2020 or secures a defection, it will go into the next national vote without an MP.

It is also set to lose its 20 MEPs as the UK withdraws from the EU by March 2019, leaving it with six Welsh Assembly members and two London Assembly members.

The party currently has around 430 councillors, but with local elections in May this year, and again in 2018 and 2019, Ukip could find its support in town halls diminish.

That could allow TV networks to restrict the amount of airtime it gives the party in the run up to the 2020 vote under new powers handed over by the broadcast regulator Ofcom.

Last week, the regulator confirmed it has scrapped the “major party” list, leaving it down to television networks to allocate election broadcasts and other coverage based on opinion polls and past successes at the ballot box.

Ofcom said: “Broadcasters will have greater editorial freedom to take decisions in the area of elections by reference to evidence of past electoral support and/or current support, whilst candidates and parties will retain the ability to appeal to Ofcom about broadcasters’ decisions.”

While Ukip could find itself afforded less coverage, it does not necessarily mean the Greens will get more attention.

The party is currently has been consistently polling around 4%, and would need to see an increase to its 160-odd councillors in order to demonstrate a rise in support at the ballot box.

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