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TUV is not a 'major' party, says media regulator Ofcom

By Joe Churcher

Traditional Unionist Voice doesn't have enough support to justify its inclusion on the list of 'major' parties in Northern Ireland for May's general and local election campaign, the media regulator has suggested.

Parties on the list are guaranteed at least two party election broadcasts on each of the TV and radio channels covered by the system - which does not include the BBC.

Nationally, Ukip has been handed a boost after Ofcom proposed including it on the list - guaranteeing it more air time in England and Wales. But the Greens look set to miss out despite having an MP and regularly outscoring the Liberal Democrats in recent opinion polls.

Putting the proposals out for consultation, Ofcom said it believed the Greens and Jim Allister's TUV hadn't enough support to justify inclusion.

"The TUV has not demonstrated significant past electoral support in general elections.

"The party performed better in the 2014 European Parliamentary elections, obtaining 12.1% of the vote in Northern Ireland," Ofcom stated. "However, it has not demonstrated significant support in other forms of election or significant current support in opinion polls."

Last night, the Prime Minister threatened not take part in TV debates ahead of the general election unless the Greens are included. Ukip leader Nigel Farage claimed that Mr Cameron was "running scared".

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