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Green Party is Battling for Fair Coverage as Media Relies on “Shock Factor” of Reform UK, Leaders Say

As Reform UK dominates the media spotlight amid rumoured Conservative defections, the Green Party’s co-leaders call out the UK media for its disproportionate coverage of hard-right figures

Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay spoke to Byline Times near Fleet Street this week. Photo: PA Images/Alamy

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Hard-right figures like those in Reform UK are covered by the UK media far more than the Greens because outlets like the “shock factor” of amplifying deliberately provocative voices, the Greens’ co-leaders have told Byline Times

As the media mania grows over the potential defection of disgraced ex-Conservative Lee Anderson to Reform UK, Green Party of England & Wales co-leader Carla Denyer said: “The media landscape in the UK doesn’t just reflect the news, it shapes it by who [they] invites to TV. 

“Unfortunately, there is a long tradition in this country of inviting hard right or even far right politicians on, because they provide a shock factor.” 

“Negative news sells” whereas Greens offer “sensible practical solutions that voters actually want to see,” she told Byline Times.

The Green Party and Reform UK were pretty much neck and neck in the polls until as recently as November 2023, according to Politico’s Poll of Polls. Back then, both parties hovered at around 6% support. Greens have remained steady around 6% since, while Reform UK have climbed to 10%, amid frenetic talk of Conservative defections to the party and possible by-election upsets.

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Richard Tice’s Reform UK – the ex-Brexit Party previously led by Nigel Farage – appears to receive significantly more media attention than the Greens despite their relatively close polling figures. 

There have been around 43,000 media mentions of the Green Party (in England, Wales, or UK-wide) over the past year, according to Google News analytics. But there have been nearly 88,000 media mentions for Reform UK in that time. While it is not a comprehensive metric, it offers an indication of the different levels of attention. 

Speaking to this outlet, fellow Green Party of England & Wales co-leader Adrian Ramsay also expressed his anger over UK media coverage.

“Look at the Green Party’s real, sustained strength – there are hundreds of councillors we have elected across the country. Our level of strength is higher than UKIP’s was at its peak, and way ahead of where the Reform Party is…

“The media needs to review where it’s putting its attention because the Greens are growing in support,” the Waveney Valley parliamentary candidate added. 

Denyer told Byline Times Greens will become “harder and harder to ignore” the more people they get elected. 

The Association of Green Councillors says there are now over 750 principal authority councillors on councils across England and Wales, along with over 400 councillors on town and parish councils. 

By contrast, there are just eight Reform UK councillors. All of them are men. 

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Ceasefire support

Ramsay also said the party has begun picking up support in areas where there’s “high Muslim populations” and where “people are campaigning hard for an end to this brutal war” in Gaza. 

The party has just launched a Muslim Greens Group. A recent Survation poll showed Green support was growing among Muslims.

Ramsay said: “in areas of the country where there’s strong sentiment against this war, people realise that the Greens are the ones who are willing to speak out and say that we want to see a ceasefire on both sides.” 

He claimed that despite Sir Keir Starmer’s party’s recent shift to backing an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, “it’s hard to tell exactly where Labour’s standing.”

Denyer added that the party is now trying to elect more Muslim councillors to be representative of its voter base.

“It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about diversifying your membership and then from that, diversifying your candidates and your elected representatives. 

“We are partway through selecting our parliamentary candidates all across England and Wales. The last I heard, which was about two weeks ago, we’d selected about three quarters of them…Preliminary diversity data based on the ones we’ve selected are really good for us” – in other words, the Greens expect their candidates to broadly reflect the diversity of the population.  

Denyer is standing in Bristol Central and hopes to become the party’s second MP, after Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion (Sian Berry AM is standing for the Greens there as Lucas steps down). Recent polls suggest the two seats are the most winnable for the party. Ramsay is also hopeful about his chances in Waveney Valley.

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Alternative to Labour

Asked how the party would fund it recent announcement that to double Labour’s now abandoned commitment to spend £28bn a year on green investment, Denyer said: “I can’t get into details but the climate investments [won’t] rely totally on borrowing, because we’re not afraid to reform the tax system, to give us more progressive wealth taxes and equalise capital gains with income tax. 

“Between them, they would raise tens of billions of pounds, which means that you can transition [to net zero] and invest in public services.” 

She expressed her hope for a Conservative defeat in the next election, adding: “I hope that if they get kicked in the ballot box, it will cause the Conservatives to take a look at themselves in the direction they’ve been heading in the last few years.” 

Denyer also revealed that the Green Party’s vetting procedures were under review after the party withdrew support from its own candidate in Rochdale. (There is now no official Labour or Green candidate in this week’s by-election, following suspensions). 

Guy Otten appears to be suspended for “regrettable” social media comments from “a few years ago” apparently criticising Palestinians and Islam. 

She said it was “obviously far from an ideal situation” but that the party has “used this as an opportunity to review our processes to try and make sure that this situation doesn’t happen again.”

Greens are planning to run a full slate of candidates in this year’s General Election, in England and Wales. Despite the party’s relative lack of limelight, Denyer added her hope is that the party can secure 3-4 MPs this year to influence a potential Labour Government. 

“You’ve seen the outsized influence that Caroline Lucas has had, really punching above her weight as the one [Green] MP in the House of Commons…Imagine the impact we could have if we quadrupled that and had four Green MPs?” 

Do you have a story that needs highlighting? Get in touch by emailing josiah@bylinetimes.com

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Josiah Mortimer also writes the On the Ground column, exclusive to the print edition of Byline Times.

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