Campaigners for a Yorkshire parliament have announced that their party will stand in London at the general election.
Yorkshire First, the political party campaigning for a Yorkshire parliament, has announced it will stand a general election candidate in London as a protest against a system which it believes discriminates against smaller political parties.
The party, which argues that what's good enough for Scotland and Wales is good enough for Yorkshire, told BuzzFeed News that it will struggle at the forthcoming general election because broadcast rules make it almost impossible for the party to receive coverage on BBC TV and radio stations.
"We are going to ridicule this as much as we can," said party leader Richard Carter, who complained that the state broadcaster's requirement for a political party to stand in one-sixth of a country's seats to receive media coverage means no English regional movement can ever make the cut.
"We have to stand in 89 seats in England [to qualify]," he said. "There are only 59 fucking constituencies in Yorkshire! The BBC views politics through the lens of the four nations, not regions. [If this restriction was not in place] we would get coverage of our manifesto launch on national TV, the News Channel, Radio 4, Radio 5, and BBC Online."
As part of its continued protest against the restriction, Carter said, Yorkshire First intends to stand a candidate in the Cities of London and Westminster constituency, marking one of the first times a regional party has stood outside its region.
"We're taking the fight to London," said Carter, who is crowdfunding the deposit for the seat. "We've got an exile that moved south. This is about taking the fight to Westminster.
"We think the BBC should be ahead of the game. We want to embarrass them. This is the last gasp of an over-centralised system. All we need is a suitable BBC doorstep for [our supporters] to poo on, as that is exactly what they are doing to us and other regional parties in England."
Yorkshire First received 1.5% of the vote in the 2014 European elections, despite having no notable campaign presence. This time around it intends to stand candidates in constituencies across Yorkshire in the hope of capturing voters who are disillusioned with the mainstream parties and want further devolution to the regions.
Mark Field, the current MP for Westminster, did not seem flustered when informed that he would be facing Yorkshire opposition.
"I am a supporter of an English parliament but this is taking localism a little bit too far," the Tory MP said. "Whoever they're standing is in need of an atlas, not just an A–Z."
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Jim Waterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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