Party officials mull revamp of election broadcast protocol

A review of the system of party election broadcasts is to be carried out in the wake of last week’s general election.

A review of the system of party election broadcasts is to be

carried out in the wake of last week’s general election.



Broadcasters and party officials believe the 70-year-old system is out

of date and must be overhauled. The options for change include allowing

political parties to buy airtime up to limits laid down by law and

scrapping the rule which grants one five-minute broadcast to any party

contesting at least 50 seats.



Broadcasters are worried that the 50-seat rule encourages fringe parties

to contest elections just to get the exposure of a broadcast. In the

1997 campaign, slots were given to the Referendum Party, the Natural Law

Party, the Greens, Authur Scargill’s Socialist Labour Party, the UK

Independence Party, the British National Party, the Pro-Life Alliance

and the Liberal Party (which is separate from the Liberal

Democrats).



The BBC will oppose any switch to party political commercials.



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