A pro-devolution party contesting the European Parliament elections in Yorkshire and the Humber has struck out at BBC rules that mean it isn’t allowed a party election broadcast unless it contests other regions.
According to the BBC’s broadcast allocation criteria, political parties south of the border are only entitled to a European election broadcast if they are standing a full list of candidates in “each and every region in England”.
Yorkshire First is standing a short list of candidates in a single region.
Richard Carter, leader of the party – which was launched in April – said the rules were “a stitch-up by the London-based parties to exclude regional parties from the debate”, slamming the broadcast criteria as “a nonsense”.
He said in a statement: “As the name of the party suggests, Yorkshire First is just fighting in Yorkshire. This is in the same way that the SNP contests seats solely in Scotland or Plaid Cymru only in Wales. Clearly this does not prevent them from having a broadcast in their respective territories so the technology exists for this to be done.
“Clearly we are too late to change the criteria in time for these elections but we will set about changing them for the General Election in a year’s time.”
Meanwhile Mebyon Kernow, a centre-left nationalist party in Cornwall, has announced that it won’t be contesting the European Parliament elections at all, with leader Cllr Dick Cole decrying “aspects of the electoral process” as “unfairly rigged against Mebyon Kernow”.
Cole said that since Cornwall does not have its own European Parliament constituency, a Mebyon Kernow candidate would have to win close to 90% of votes in Cornwall to win a seat in the larger South West constituency and 23% of votes just to save its deposit.
Mebyon Kernow says it hopes the UK’s recent recognition of Cornish people as a national minority would raise “the possibility of forcing a change to the system in the future”.
In the meantime, its withdrawal means Yorkshire First is the only party contesting the European Parliament elections on 22 May which proposes new devolved assemblies but opposes a single English parliament.