Electrical cars EV Straws, stirrers and polystyrene cups face Welsh ban

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electrical cars  EV Plastic straws

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Straws are among the items officials will consider banning

Straws, stirrers, cotton buds and single-use plastic cutlery could be banned in Wales next year.

The Welsh Government is to consult on restricting the sale of a wide range of the most commonly littered plastic.

Deputy minister Hannah Blythyn announced the proposals as AMs across the Welsh Assembly demanded a new law to tackle plastic pollution.

Ministers in England are planning controls on straws, stirrers and cotton buds from April.

The Welsh plans would go further, however, implementing an EU directive banning single-use plastics.

Ms Blythyn, deputy minister for housing and local government, told the Welsh Assembly ministers want to bring forward “a ban or restriction” on the sale of the “most commonly littered single-use plastic items”.

“This includes straws, stirrers, cotton buds, single-use plastic cutlery, and expanded polystyrene food packaging and drinks containers,” she said.

Others include balloon sticks, plates, and polystyrene cups.

Proposals are at an early stage. The Welsh Government intends to ban the items but a consultation would need to be held – it is currently pegged for early next year.

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Hannah Blythyn announced the plans during a debate on single-use plastics

The Welsh Government announced the plans during a debate on single-use plastics, called by Labour AM Huw Irranca-Davies.

Backed by AMs from Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives, the former MP called for the Welsh Government would establish Wales “as a World-leader in reducing plastic waste”.

Calling for a new law, he proposed “appropriate taxes and levies to significantly reduce the production and use of single use plastics in Wales”.

He told AMs the Welsh Government should “consider now phasing out all single-use carrier bags totally” – beyond the charging that currently takes place.

“Wales is in a great position to lead globally on significantly reducing single-use plastic waste, using the best international practice, evidence and research, using our new powers over taxes and levies to drive behavioural change,” he said.

Electrical cars EV FA Cup first round: Bury expulsion means bye to second round for one team

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electrical cars  EV Gates at Gigg Lane

Bury were founded in 1885 and have twice won the FA Cup

One club will receive a bye to round two of the FA Cup when the first-round draw is made on Thursday, following Bury’s removal from the competition.

The Shakers were expelled from the English Football League – and subsequently the cup – in August.

The 47 remaining League One and League Two clubs will join 32 non-league outfits in the first round in November.

The club that receives the bye will also be awarded the £36,000 prize money for a first-round winner.

The final club left in the pot on Thursday will receive the bye.

When then-holders Manchester United did not compete in the 1999-2000 FA Cup campaign because of the FIFA Club World Championship in Brazil, a “lucky losers” system was used rather than awarding a team a bye.

In that year, with an odd number of teams involved in the third-round draw, Darlington were selected at random from the 20 teams who had been knocked out in the second round and lost 2-1 at Aston Villa.

What is Bury’s latest situation?

Bury were beaten 1-0 by Luton Town in the second round of last season’s FA Cup

Bury are the first club to have their league membership withdrawn since Maidstone were liquidated in 1992.

On Wednesday, they were granted a 14-day extension after a winding-up petition brought by HM Revenue & Customs was adjourned in the High Court.

The club have been given the additional time to pay back smaller businesses, reports BBC Radio Manchester.

A prospective buyer for the club ended their interest on Monday, leaving Bury on the brink of liquidation.

A group of Bury supporters have already been working on plans to form a phoenix club and, if successful, would have to apply to the Football Association for entry into the English non-league pyramid next season.

Electrical cars EV Human ‘mini-brain’ develops slowest among primates

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electrical cars  EV Chimp Mini-brains

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Sabina Kanton

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Four lab-grown chimpanzee “mini-brains”. Each one is about the size of a small pea

New research shows that human “mini-brains” develop more slowly than those of other primates.

“Mini-brains” are miniature collections of cells that allow scientists to study how the brain develops.

A Swiss team has grown artificial human, chimp and macaque versions in their lab from stem cells.

In a study published in Nature journal, the team produced an “atlas” of the genes involved in each stage of the three types of brain development.

They say the work will help them to answer the basic question of what makes us human.

Stem cells are the body’s master cells, which can then grow into more specialised tissues.

The recent emergence of the technology to grow brain tissue from stem cells has enabled researchers to directly compare brain development in different primates. The “mini-brains” are grown for four months and are about the size of a pea.

Known formally as “cerebral organoids”, they are simple structures consisting of different types of brain cells and are not capable of any functions.

The researchers noted that the three types of brain developed at the same speed to begin with, but once the cells began to specialise into different types of neurons, the macaque’s developed the fastest, followed by the chimpanzee, with the human brain being the slowest.

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Media captionThe “mini brain” is roughly the size and developmental level of a nine-week foetus

Co-author Prof Barbara Treutlein of Basel University, Switzerland, said the slow development might be required to develop the larger and more complex human brain.

“It seems that we take more time to develop our brains but the end state that we reach is more complex. Maybe it takes this additional time to get the greater number of connections between neurons and reach the higher cognitive functions we have. But we don’t really know yet why this might be the case,” she told BBC News.

All cells develop by following instructions contained in DNA. But the genetic information of humans and chimps has comparatively few differences yet their brains are very different. Prof Treutlein believes that the resolution of this this apparent dichotomy is that the timing and sequence of how brain-building instructions are read from the genes are different. To assess this, her team took thousands of snapshots of what the genes were doing at each stage of brain development of the three types of mini-brains.

Put together the snapshots give what the researchers call an “atlas” of brain development for each primate brain. These atlases give researchers a resource with which to examine the roles of collections of genes in brain development.

According to Dr Grayson Camp, also at Basel University, the differences between the human and chimp brains should give an indication why our brains are more complex.

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Scientists are developing ethical guidelines should it ever become possible to grow functional human brains in the lab

“We want to find out whether the emergent properties of the human brain come from a small number of genetic changes that have a big effect or very many small genetic changes that have a cumulative effect,” he said.

Dr Madeline Lancaster of the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) said that the mini-brain approach was helping researchers, such as herself to answer the “basic question of what makes us human”.

“We have complex language and are capable of abstract reasoning and chimps don’t. Work with (mini-brains) won’t model those differences because they are not functioning brains,” she said.

“But they will help us understand the very important differences early on in development that set the stage for our cognitive abilities.

Electrical cars EV Consciousness question

Dr Lancaster is not connected with the Swiss team’s research, but uses mini-brains for her own research at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. She is working with Prof Treutlein, Dr Camp and others in the field to develop an ethical framework for their research.

The mini-brains are relatively simple cellular structures and nowhere near capable of consciousness. But they will become more advanced as research progresses. The research community is therefore working with ethicists to develop a regulatory framework for the future, according to Dr Lancaster.

“It is always good to think ahead,” she said.

“We don’t want to run into a situation where someone has created something truly unethical and we try and deal with the consequences after the event.”

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Electrical cars EV Birmingham LGBT teaching protester criticises ‘imam’s’ claims

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electrical cars  EV Shakeel Afsar

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Shakeel Afsar is one of three named on an interim injunction which stops protests directly outside school gates

A man leading protests against primary school LGBT teaching in Birmingham has criticised a fellow campaigner for his language during one of the rallies.

A High Court hearing was told the man, referred to as the “imam from Batley”, shouted “there are paedophiles in there”, outside Anderton Park school.

Birmingham City Council wants an injunction which stops rallies outside the school gates to be made permanent.

Protest organiser Shakeel Afsal said he had not invited the man to take part.

The school in Balsall Heath has been at the centre of a campaign in which some parents and activists are trying to stop its LGBT relationship teaching. Many claim it contradicts their Islamic faith and is not “age appropriate”.

In May, the High Court granted a temporary injunction banning demonstrations at the school gates.

The latest hearing will decide whether this ban will be made permanent.

Mr Afsar, his sister Rosina and Amir Ahmed are named on the current injunction.

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Demonstrators gathered outside the High Court in Birmingham before Monday’s hearing

On Wednesday, at the High Court sitting in Birmingham, Mr Afsar was shown a video of himself standing near the “imam” at a demonstration on 24 May.

Jonathan Manning QC, for Birmingham City Council, said it also showed the man talking about “genderism, homosexuality, sex” in front of small children, adding it was “all the things you [protesters] say children shouldn’t be taught about”.

Mr Afsar said the man was “not part of our campaign” and he had tried to indicate to fellow organiser Mr Ahmed he should be stopped.

Mr Manning asked Mr Afsar, who does not have children at the school, about the book My Princess Boy, about a boy who dresses in girls clothing.

Mr Afsar said: “The name Princess Boy would suggest to parents of our faith that a transgender lifestyle is acceptable.”

Mr Manning replied: “A book about a little boy dressing up in girls clothes is nothing to do with a transgender lifestyle.”

The hearing continues.

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Protests have continued outside the exclusion zone at Anderton Park Primary School

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Electrical cars EV Nightclub rapists ‘high-fived’ after Soho attack

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electrical cars  EV Ferdinando Orlando and Lorenzo Costanzo

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Met Police

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Ferdinando Orlando (left) and Lorenzo Costanzo (right) were filmed ‘bragging’ about ‘attackin

Two men who high-fived each other after raping a woman in a nightclub have been found guilty of the attack.

Ferdinando Orlando, 25, and Lorenzo Costanzo, 26, led the victim into a store room and assaulted her.

After leaving her in the ladies’ toilets the pair appeared to celebrate the attack inside the club, on Argyll Street, Soho, police said.

Italian nationals Orlando and Costanzo will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 1 November.

The Met Police said the 23-year-old woman required surgery after the attack on 25 February 2017.

Electrical cars EV Lewd gestures

CCTV showed both defendants dancing with the woman and attempting to kiss her, officers said.

They were then seen breaking a lock on the maintenance room door before escorting her inside.

The men took turns to rape the woman before carrying her to the toilets after the attack, officers said.

She was found by staff an hour later, struggling to walk and in “extreme pain”.

Further footage showed Orlando and Costanzo run up the stairs to the nightclub exit, where they were seen high-fiving each other and making lewd gestures as they re-enacted the attack on a mobile phone.

Det Sgt Rebecca Woodsford described the rape as a “truly traumatic experience for the victim”.

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Met Police

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Police said the victim was ‘visibly drunk and unsteady on her feet’

Costanzo returned to Italy hours after he had carried out the attack,

On 15 March 2018, Costanzo returned to the UK to watch a football match in London and he was arrested at Heathrow Airport and charged the following day.

Orlando, who was also convicted of one count of GBH, left around a week later than his friend.

After Costanzo’s arrest, Orlando contacted police and flew back to the UK, where he was arrested upon his return.

Electrical cars EV Euro 2020 qualifier: Pitch inspection before Republic’s Geneva game after rain

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electrical cars  EV The Stade de Geneve

The match is scheduled to take place at the Stade de Geneve

Electrical cars EV BBC coverage

How to follow:
Live text commentary and match report on the BBC Sport connection

The Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Geneva will go ahead following a pitch inspection.

With rain falling all day in Geneva and water lying on the pitch, the game appeared under threat but was given the go-ahead by referee Szymon Marciniak.

The Polish referee took the decision at 18: 00 BST.

A win will see the Republic qualifying for Euro 2020 and almost certainly end Switzerland’s hopes with Denmark the other contenders in Group D.

More to follow.

Electrical cars EV Can you name England’s starting XV against Australia in 2015 Cup?

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electrical cars  EV Stuart Lancaster

It was the game that effectively cost Stuart Lancaster his job as England coach
Rugby World Cup quarter-final: England v Australia
Venue: Oita Stadium Date: Saturday, 19 October Kick-off: 08: 15 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and online with text updates on the BBC Sport connection and app.

England and Australia are set to renew their rivalry for a place in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

The old foes have met six times in the history of competition, with both sides winning three matches each.

The Wallabies went some way to avenging their 2003 final defeat on home soil when they knocked England out of their own tournament at Twickenham in 2015.

But can you remember the England XV who started that match four years ago? You’ve only got three minutes, so be quick!

Can you name the England XV the last time they played Australia at the Rugby World Cup?

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Electrical cars EV Brexit: Pound and shares jump on optimism over talks

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electrical cars  EV Pounds and euros

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The pound has jumped to its highest level in five months on reports the two sides in the Brexit talks are inching towards a draft deal.

Shares in banks and housebuilders also soared as optimism about a breakthrough buoyed companies with a UK focus.

It was hoped that a preliminary deal might be reached on Tuesday, ready to go before a summit on Thursday.

Sterling rose 1.5% on the dollar to $1.28, and by a similar amount against the euro to 86.3 pence.

On the FTSE 100, shares with a big exposure to the health of the UK economy rose sharply. Builders Barratt Developments and British Land were up about 6%, and Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland rose more than 5%. Next, ITV and Ocado were also big risers.

“A deal between the UK and EU was 60% in the price [of sterling] and now we stand to see if the remaining 40% come into play,” said Stephen Gallo, European head of foreign exchange at BMO.

Morten Lund, a senior forex strategist at Nordea, added: “The reaction from the markets shows they want to get this deal over and they are ready to push the button at the slightest sign of a deal.”

But he said he was “a bit more sceptical about the outcome” given how little time remained to negotiate and the difficulties of getting a deal through the British Parliament. The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October.

Shares and the pound jumped last week on growing optimism of a deal, only to slip amid signals from Brussels that the negotiations still had a long way to go.

Electrical cars EV ‘Right direction’

But on Tuesday, Brussels’ chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier sparked another rise on the markets when he said it was “high time to turn good intentions [into] a legal text”.

Irish PM Leo Varadkar said talks were “moving in the right direction”. Boris Johnson has spoken to France’s Emmanuel Macron and the BBC understands the two men agreed there was “positive momentum”, although “many hurdles” must still be overcome.

The FTSE 250 of UK mid-cap stocks rose and European equity benchmarks extended their gains on the news.

“The more uncertainty you remove, the better for investors. If the [UK] prime minister and the EU were now to agree a deal, then the market would take that positively,” said Edmund Shing, global head of equity derivatives strategy at BNP Paribas.

Electrical cars EV Curbing MP abuse ‘not high priority’ for leaders, says watchdog

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electrical cars  EV Commons

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UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

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MPs are facing calls to moderate their language

Tackling the growing abuse and intimidation of MPs does not appear to be a “high priority” for party leaders, the UK’s standards watchdog has said.

Lord Evans, chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said leaders must set a better example to their supporters on social media.

Kim Leadbeater, the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox, said she was very concerned about politicians’ physical safety.

Both were giving evidence to the Home Affairs committee.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for all sides to “calm down” after a row over the use of inflammatory language in the Commons, in which he was accused of using “dangerous” words.

But the PM insisted he had been a “model of restraint” and the government plans to create a new criminal offence of intimidating candidates and campaigners in the run up to an election.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has singled Mr Johnson’s language out for criticism, while arguing that all MPs need to do more to moderate their behaviour.

However, neither he nor Mr Johnson have signed up to a draft code of conduct drawn up by the standards committee aimed at improving the “intimidatory, bullying and abusive culture” in public life.

Electrical cars EV ‘Nostalgic’

Speaking to the committee, Lord Evans said parties had not been “beating a path to our door [which] would suggest this is not top of people‘s priorities at the moment, which worries me”.

He warned against being too “nostalgic” about the standard of political debate in the UK, which he said had always featured personal attacks.

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Lord Evans retired from the security services in 2009

But Lord Evans said the “abuse and intimidation” had got out of hand in the past five years – driven, in part, by social media, and it was threatening democracy by deterring people from standing for election.

His own committee had heard some MPs had even been scared into changing their votes on Brexit – something that would have concerned him in his previous role as the head of MI5.

“We would have seen that as a really serious national security issue, if it had been another state doing it,” he said.

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Jo Cox Foundation / PA

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The Jo Cox Foundation was set up in memory of the MP who was murdered in 2016

Lord Evans argued social media companies had to do more to stamp out abuse, but the tone set by political leaders was “critical” as it gave “permission” to their supporters to behave in certain ways.

“It’s not evident that ensuring the tone of debate is appropriate is a high priority at the moment for a number of people in leadership roles,” he added.

Electrical cars EV ‘Safety concerns’

The standards committee has joined forces with the Jo Cox Foundation – set up after Ms Cox was was shot and stabbed in June 2016 while on her way to meet constituents.

The foundation is holding meetings with senior party representatives to persuade them to sign up to the draft code, but so far, only SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has signed.

Catherine Anderson, chief executive of the foundation, said: “We are particularly worried for people’s safety, that’s the immediate concern.

“With a potentially very imminent general election, we are very concerned about increased incidences of direct physical attacks.

“We know in the MEP and the local elections earlier this year we saw an increase in actual physical attacks, often against women candidates.

“We are also very worried about the importance of language, and the offline consequences of the language we are seeing online.”

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Jo Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, gave evidence to the committee

Electrical cars EV ‘Toxic cocktail’

Ms Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, also gave evidence to the committee.

With her voice cracking with emotion, she said: “It’s very difficult for me to be objective in terms of how great a threat there is to anybody else.

“But one of the things that drives me and that drives my parents, and many of my friends and family to keep going, is that we don’t want any other family to experience what we have had to experience and, indeed, continue to experience every single day.”

She said a “huge societal change” was needed to stem the rise in anger and hate – including addressing the “frustration” felt by marginalised communities – and it was too easy to blame all problems on the divisions caused by Brexit.

“Brexit didn’t create those problems but it certainly hasn’t helped,” she added.

“It’s exacerbated some of the issues we are facing in our communities up and down the country.

“And you put in the mix of that the anonymity of social media… and I think you have got a toxic cocktail.”

Police, schools and public figures all had a role to play in restoring civility, she argued, but politicians also had a “responsibility” to improve their behaviour.

“That’s why I find it very upsetting when we see some of the scenes we have seen recently in Parliament of bad behaviour across the political spectrum,” she added.

Electrical cars EV Do party election broadcasts matter any more?

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Media captionThe UK’s first political election broadcast on TV

From sombre money box lectures to cheesy boy band spoofs, the party election broadcast has become a stalwart of our TV listings.

It was on this day – 15 October – in 1951 that former Liberal leader Lord Herbert Samuel took to our screens for the first ever televised version and changed political campaigning forever.

His appearance was a 15-minute slot, sat at a desk and staring down the camera lens, and reports at the time called it a fiasco as he read from a prepared radio script.

But despite that stilted start, within a decade, prime-time broadcasts had become an essential part of electioneering.

Technology – and the imaginations of communications directors – has, of course, moved on, and the rather formal broadcasts of old have morphed into more elaborate, faster-paced affairs.

But what is their impact? And will that continue in the future?

Electrical cars EV The history

The first party election broadcasts took place on BBC Radio during the 1924 election, with leader of the Liberal Party Herbert Asquith, Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin and Labour leader Ramsey MacDonald, each giving a 20-minute speech to the public.

It was another 23 years before they began to be regulated by the Committee on Party Political Broadcasts, deciding how long each party would get on the airwaves.

But come the launch of BBC Television, the slots made their way to screen.

And in 1955, with the emergence of commercial television, the broadcasts spread to more channels, and by 1959 they were part and parcel of an election campaign.

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Media captionHarold Wilson makes Labour’s pitch for 1964 election

Lord Peter Mandelson – a key player in Tony Blair’s Labour government – said the broadcasts went through a “transformative” process in the 1980s, when his party’s then-leader, Neil Kinnock, brought in a famous face to make one.

Chariots of Fire director Hugh Hudson made what is known as “Kinnock: The Movie” – a move Lord Mandelson said was “trailblazing”.

But the Labour Party was not alone as political outfits from across the spectrum ramped up their game.

Kevin Pringle, the director of communications for the SNP until after the 2015 general election, said his party made big changes in the same decade, creating a soap opera series for one campaign and even a quiz show format for another.

“Perhaps when you look at them now, they are not so impressive,” he admitted. “But back then, they were considered cutting edge.”

The new formats – and use of celebrities – have continued since, as parties still compete over their showing on the main channels.

It is still down to those channels – which now form the Broadcasters Liaison Group – to decide what length of airtime they want to give each.

But Ofcom sets the rules for the broadcasts, which include the fact a party must be contesting at least a sixth of the seats in the election to qualify for a slot. They must also have a running time of either two minutes 40 seconds, three minutes 40 seconds, or four minutes 40 seconds.

Electrical cars EV Do they have an impact?

The short political slots on television may have more to compete with now, and viewing figures for all strands of television have taken a hit.

But research from Neuro-Insight said these particular broadcasts still had an “considerable influence” over viewers’ perceptions of political brands.

And Mr Pringle said having those few minutes on prime time TV can make a big difference to a party’s reach.

“TV is such an important medium – and the biggest – and if you are not on it, you are not at the races,” he said.

The former communications director said the broadcasts had their challenges, as they needed to be good television viewing, as well as holding a strong political message.

But they provide a “guaranteed mass audience… which every party wants”, he added.

Alastair Campbell, the director of Mr Blair’s campaigns – who worked with him in No 10 – said the broadcasts were also good for the party machines.

“It can boost the moral of the campaign when done well,” he said. “And if they are done properly, they can get extra coverage in the media for the party.”

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Media captionDavid Cameron sells himself for 2010 election

For Sir Bernard Ingham – Margaret Thatcher’s longest serving press secretary – broadcasts are a good platform to set out policies, but you need the plans to back them up.

“It’s an opportunity that no party would turn down,” he said. “But I think [their success] depend on the content of those policies.”

Baroness Olly Grender, who was the deputy director of communications for the government during the coalition – working for Lib Dem leader and deputy PM Nick Clegg – also said the broadcasts had a “real value” for voters.

“The alternative is to have attack adverts like the do in the US, which is not a route we want to go down,” she said.

“Having been in the US during an election, [UK] broadcasts add to political knowledge, which those adverts don’t.”

Electrical cars EV What about the future?

Westminster is in agreement that an election is looming – perhaps even by the end of the year – so expect more broadcasts to hit your screens in the coming months.

These traditional post-teatime news slots make up for the ban the parties face on buying other TV and radio advertising.

However, as the Electoral Commission has pointed out, “electoral law was written long before campaigning went digital“, so rather than one channel with one guaranteed audience, you are looking at internet advertising with spending on the rise across multiple platforms – especially social media.

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Media captionGreen Party use humour for 2015 election appeal

Mr Campbell said TV broadcasts were still important, “even if they are less so now”.

“If the broadcasting rules allow for parties to get a few minutes of prime time… you would be foolish not to take them, as there are potentially millions of people watching,” he said.

And when it comes to social media, he believes the broadcasts are “part of the same thing”.

“Look at Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. They are relentlessly pumping out something on social media, but these [broadcasts] give you four or five minutes more and form part of the strategy.”

Sir Bernard believes the scope of influence for the TV broadcasts has diminished as a result.

“I am sure some people suffered if they went wrong, but there are so many voices now that people are switching off,” he said. “I don’t watch much television myself.

“They are a means, but only one, and God knows, there are so many now.”

Mr Pringle agreed there were other outlets to spread policies, but that did not take away from the party election broadcast.

“Of course there are many other things now, like social media, but many parties use those tools to spread their political election broadcast further,” he said.

“I think the political election broadcast will be here for many years to come.”