There has been much debate this week about the televised debates during next year's general election campaign. Who should be allowed to take part? The leaders of the traditional three main parties? Or only those leaders who realistically could become prime minister? Or should the debate be widened to include other ‘minority’ parties? If the number of members of each political party is anything to go by, then it may be time for a complete rethink.

According to a report produced by the House of Commons Library last month, membership of political parties is at an historic low. Less than one per cent of the electorate is a member of the top three parties.

In the 1950s the Conservatives boasted 3 million members and Labour 1 million. There has since been a steep decline, with the Conservatives now having just 134,000 members and Labour 190,000.

In 1988 when the Liberal Democrats were newly created, they had around 80,000 members. Today the figure is around 44,000.

But the same report highlights the rapid growth in the past decade of several smaller parties, notably the Green Party (of England and Wales) and UKIP.

Since 2002, membership of the Greens has steadily risen from around 5,000 to the present 20,000. Similarly in 2002 UKIP had around 10,000 members and today has around 40,000 members.

So, the smaller parties are ever growing in popularity, yet the traditional ones are ever declining. Despite this, we all continue to peddle the same old story that politics is a two horse race. No wonder so many are disillusioned by it all.

The media has a responsibility to give viewers, listeners and readers as broad coverage as possible of all parties and viewpoints. An election should be a level playing field, irrespective of which parties came out on top the last time.

In the build up to next year’s general election, this newspaper pledges to reflect as broad a political spectrum as possible, hopefully allowing you, our readers, the chance to make a more informed voting decision.