Does the BBC really have a 'pro-Ukip bias'?

The BBC has given Ukip three party political broadcasts a year outside of elections, following a rule change introduced by the corporation’s governing body.

The broadcaster said that it had done so by considering Ukip’s national levels of support and that a Eurosceptic party should receive more time on British television in the runup to the EU referendum.

The rule requiring that a party must have more than one MP has been revoked, meaning that Ukip are now eligible to broadcast under the new guidelines.

Some have argued that the BBC has a "Ukip bias" because the Green party will not receive any broadcasts even though it shares the same number of MPs.

A petition has since been launched, addressed to the BBC, which implores the corporation to include the party's "distinctive view on the EU".

The petition, created by William Quick and signed by 1,707 as of Tuesday afternoon, reads:

We demand that in recognition of the same criteria you used to give Ukip access to all three of these Party Political Broadcasts you also give at least some access to the Green Party and its 1.2 million supporters.

The Green party received only 3.8 per cent of the voteshare in the 2015 General Election, compared to Ukip’s 12.6 per cent:

The BBC Trust’s consultation showed that Ukip was one of the primary reasons for the re-evaluation of the criteria.

The consultation read:

Ukip could not qualify under the current criteria whereas other parties (for example the Liberal Democrats) with a lower share of the vote potentially could qualify.

The document also said that "if a party which was unambiguously in favour of leaving the EU was unfairly denied political party broadcasters", attitudes with regards to the EU referendum would be unfairly represented.

The eligibility of parties for broadcasts is decided by representations (seats in the Commons, EU parliament or devolved legislatures) and a broader assessment of electoral support of a variety elections.

Essentially, because more people nationwide voted for Ukip, and because Ukip are an anti-EU party, the BBC have ruled that Ukip will gain three broadcasts, as opposed to the Greens' none.

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