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BBC under fire

Brown demands inquiry over Question Time audience

Fiona Bruce question time

Fiona Bruce: since taking over Question Time the programme has faced questions about itself


The SNP has demanded media watchdog OfCom asks why the BBC allowed Tory councillors and party officials to attend last week’s edition of its flagship debating programme Question Time.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown, pictured, has accused the programme of having a “credibility problem” and said the audience went completely against the ethos “that politicians answer questions posed by members of the public”.

He now wants the BBC to refer itself to the independent regulator. He said: “The BBC has a duty not to mislead its audience. The fact is the BBC’s flagship debate programme, week after week, has elected politicians and political activists masquerading as ordinary members of the public. It seriously undermines the whole ethos of the programme.

“At any time there would be serious questions to answer about credibility, but just days away from the European elections these matters strike at the very heart of the BBC’s ability to fulfil its statutory and elections obligations.

“The ethos of of Question Time is that politicians answer questions posed by members of the public.

Keith Brown at 2019 SNP conf“Enough is enough. The BBC should refer itself to OfCom and allow them to hold an independent investigation. That’s the only way we’ll get to the heart of whether the individuals identified in the Elgin audience lied on their application forms or whether the BBC knowingly allowed these individuals to masquerade as members of the public.”

The BBC and its Sunday morning political presenter Andrew Marr were subject to loud boos when they were mentioned by Nigel Farage during his address to a Brexit Party rally in Edinburgh on Friday night.

Despite Mr Farage’s party being on course for a historic victory in Thursday’s European elections and showing strong support in Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland made no mention of the rally during its Saturday morning news programme.

Nor was there a Brexit Party spokesman in a line-up of interviewees on today’s Marr programme. It included Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Jeremy Corbyn (Labour), Sir Vince Cable (LibDems), Rory Stewart (Conservative) and Chuka Umunna (Change UK) .

Marr told his audience that the BBC “has to balance over a range of programmes so you get to hear from all parties over the campaign”. However, with only four days left to the election some may argue that all parties should have been represented on today’s edition.

See also:

Scotland divided as voters back SNP and Brexit Party

Farage urges anti-EU SNP voters to back Brexit Party

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