Westminster election broadcast rules

They were striding ahead in the opinion polls, on course for a massive landslide and attracting increased support from every part of Britain - then suddenly it all started to reverse. What has happened to put the Conservative Party under their first bit of serious pressure since the start of thecampaign – perhaps even the first pressure they’ve felt since the aftermath of the EU referendum result?

Certainly, the publication of the Conservative Manifesto with it’s controversial proposals on Dementia Tax have created problems for the Tories but there is also another factor at play here – the General Election broadcast rules. These kicked in shortly after Theresa May officially announced the General Election.

The election broadcast rules mean that when it comes to television and radio, partial reporting or disproportionate time given to one main party over the other is prohibited.

So, if you’ve been wondering why the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn seem to be enjoying more impartial media treatment and broadcast time, now you know why. And now you know why Theresa May seems to be getting it a little tougher from the same media. It’s simple - the broadcast media are bound by the rules to do this.

Newspapers, however, aren’t bound by these rules. That’s why, in previous election campaigns, the support of major newspapers is highly coveted by political parties from as early in the election campaign as possible.

When it comes to election day, it’s all factual for the broadcast media as no political opinions from parties, political analyses or exit polls can be aired until the polls close at 10pm. Instead, what we are treated to on news programmes is an array of images depicting major politicians stepping in to the polling stations to vote and subsequently stepping back out again.

Once the clock strikes ten though, the opinions begin again!

Edward Gray