After consulting with their rivals, Ofcom have ruled that the Green Party do not qualify for ‘Major Party Status’ at the election. UKIP do qualify.
Guido understands this is based on a lack of sufficient support in previous elections and polling.
This all but means they’re out of the Leaders’ Debates – it’s up to the broadcasters, but Ofcom’s ruling will be seen as a marker.
UPDATE: Here is the official word:
Ofcom has today published a consultation on the political parties it lists as ‘major parties’ ahead of the General Election in May 2015. The list of major parties is important for Ofcom’s regulation of election coverage, in particular requiring the relevant broadcasters to allocate at least two Party Election Broadcasts to each major party ahead of an election.
These broadcasters are ITV, STV, UTV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Classic FM, Talksport and Absolute Radio. Broadcasters can also choose to allocate additional Party Election Broadcasts. Party Election Broadcasts on the BBC are regulated by the BBC Trust and currently the subject of a consultation. Ofcom keeps its list of major parties under review to ensure it reflects political developments in the UK.
Ofcom’s initial view is that UKIP may qualify for major party status in England and Wales for the General Election and English local elections on 7 May 2015.
Ofcom’s initial view is neither the Green Party (including the Scottish Green Party) nor the TUV have secured sufficient support in previous elections and current opinion polls to be added to Ofcom’s major party list for the purposes of the May 2015 elections.
Evidence for proposed change to major parties list
In deciding which parties are on the list, Ofcom assesses all relevant evidence of support including:
- previous electoral performance, including an analysis of share of vote alongside seats won; and
- current opinion polling data.
In relation to the Green Party (including the Scottish Green Party), the TUV and UKIP the evidence indicates that:
The Green Party (including the Scottish Green Party)
The party has not demonstrated significant past electoral support in General Elections. The Green Party has performed better in some other forms of election, such as the 2014 European Parliamentary elections, obtaining 8.0% and 8.1% of the vote in England and Scotland.
In terms of evidence of current support, the party’s opinion poll rating in Great Britain-wide polls has increased in recent months to 5.9% in December 2014 (4.0% on average during 2014).
Should be said that Ofcom’s ruling is guidance, not regulatory.