Extra care must be taken to ensure, that undue prominence is not given to any single candidate. So, with the announcement of the dissolution of Parliament (the issuing of a writ in by-elections, or in local government the last date for publication of notice of the election) the following guidelines will come into effect.

  • Be impartial, constituency reports or debates should give due time and weight to candidates of the main parties. The major parties in England are defined as Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats; In Scotland these three plus the SNP, in Wales these three plus Plaid Cymru; in Northern Ireland the Ulster Unionists, the SDLP, the DUP and Sinn Fein. The election periods always end with the close of poll.
  • To be fair to all candidates, it is right to make some distinction in the weight of the contribution between these main candidates and others. Constituency items which involve candidates should also include some participation from candidates representing parties with either previous significant electoral support (for example parties which have gained a few seats in other recent elections or individuals who have been elected before under another label) or parties with evidence of significant current support.
  • Where a party or an individual is mounting a significant campaign in a particular region, this should be reflected appropriately in the coverage.
  • If any candidate actually takes part in an item about a specific constituency, then candidates of each of the main parties should be offered the opportunity to take part.
  • To be comprehensive and fair, full-length constituency reports or debates should include a list of all candidates standing. If a constituency is being reported on several times on a recording, then it may be enough to read the full list once after the first article.
  • TN/TM editors may decide to use either candidates or party representatives. But if the candidate from one of the parties is invited to take part, the other participants should, where at all possible, also be invited. In exceptional circumstances if a candidate is genuinely unavailable the opportunity may be offered instead to a suitable party representative from within the constituency (e.g. party official, agent or Councillor) but it should be made clear to the listeners that the missing candidate(s) was invited and why they were unable to take part or declined to put forward any spokesperson. If a party declines to put forward any representative the item/programme can go ahead without them.


The above is a guideline and it should ensure fair play.