Are we ready for a five and a half week long campaign?
We’ve all known for four years that the Fixed Term Parliament Act lays down that the next general election will be held on May 7th 2015.
One thing a lot of people have missed is that the formal campaign period will be far longer than we’ve seen in the past. The 2013 Electoral Registration & Administration Act 2013 extends the length of the statutory timetable for from 17 to 25 working days. Add on all the public holidays and weekend days and you get to five and a half weeks.
- That is a lot longer than we are used to and adds a new unknown into this election
My guess is that the parties will defer things like manifesto launches until after Easter Monday which takes place on April 6th.
A key factor during the campaign period is that the broadcasters are under strict rules and those parties designated as being “major” will get guaranteed air-time. Those that aren’t won’t.
This could make a huge difference to UKIP which enjoyed “major party” status in the run up to the Euros on May 22nd. Although it topped the national vote share on that day there is no guarantee that a party which failed to win a single seat in 2010 will be officially designated a major party for the general election.
Winning a by-election between now and then could make a big difference to its case.