13 November 2014
* Hugely popular petition has over 260,000 signatories (and counting)
* Petition hand-in at BBC planned for 10.30, on Thursday 13th November
Over 260,000 people have signed a Change.org petition (1) calling for the broadcasters to include the Green Party in the TV Leaders' Debates ahead of the 2015 General Election.
Robyn Meadwell, a 20-year-old Young Green activist who started the petition, will be joined by Green Party Deputy Leader Amelia Womack to hand in the petition to BBC Broadcasting House at 10.30 on Thursday 13th November.
The Green Party welcomes the BBC Trust’s recent decision to consult on its draft election guidelines. On Monday, Green Party parliamentarians Caroline Lucas MP and Baroness Jenny Jones, signed a cross-bench letter (2) to the BBC Trust which said “we believe that the (British Broadcasting) Corporation’s public service remit makes a clear case for wider representation (in the Leaders’ Debates) than is currently envisaged.”
The huge popularity of the petition chimes with polling released by YouGov (3), which reveals that if the debates do go ahead as proposed, the debate that includes Ukip Leader Nigel Farage (ITV) should also include Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett. 47% are in favour of including the Green Party.
Womack, who is 29, said:
“The broadcasters’ TV leaders’ debates proposals fly in the face of both fairness and democracy - that’s why there has been such a sustained public outcry. It’s not just Green supporters who believe the Greens should be invited; politicians and political commentators from across the political divide have called on the broadcasters to rethink their proposals.
“Excluding the Green Party – which out-performed the Liberal Democrats comfortably in the May 22 2014 European Elections and is polling at its highest numbers ahead of a General Election since 1989 – utterly fails the electorate and democracy.”
“I have been overwhelmed by the support and signatories to the petition I started last month”, said Meadwell ahead of the hand-in.
"With the traditional Westminster parties all singing from the same hymn sheet, the public has a right to hear an alternative view. Blocking out the voice of the Green Party in these debates will simply guarantee a continuation of business-as-usual politics and do a disservice to the voting public who deserve to hear what each of the parties has to offer them."
The meteoric rise of the Young Greens has been one of the most startling features of the 2014 ‘Green surge’, which has seen total membership of the Green Party of England and Wales rise by 83% since January 1st 2014. The Young Greens have seen a 165% rise in membership, going from 1,700 members to 4,500 in under a year.