‘Question Time isn’t a single-issue programme’ – BBC defends lack of pro-EU MEPs

Nigel Farage appears on BBC Question Time. (Photograph: BBC)

Nigel Farage appears on BBC Question Time. (Photograph: BBC) - Credit: Archant

The BBC has defended the political balance of Question Time panels after it was revealed that all MEPs to appear on the show in the past 5 years have been anti-EU.

According to a social media post from JP Cherrington, a majority of the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to appear on the programme have been from UKIP.

Nigel Farage has been the most frequent MEP to appear on the programme, but his appearances were supported by other UKIP MEPs including Paul Nuttall, Steven Woolfe, and Roger Helmer.

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The remaining MEP representation came from Dan Hannan – a Brexiteer MEP and Conservative on the right of the party.

Cherrington claimed that the last pro-EU MEP to appear on the weekly current affairs programme was Labour's Glenys Kinnock – way back in 2002.

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In a series of tweets the BBC has responded to Cherrington to outline how it balances up guests.

It said: 'Since 2000 there have been more than 2100 political panellist appearances, guided by the national level of electoral support for their parties. The parties are there because people vote for them in elections – not just Westminster ones. So sometimes parties will be represented by MEPs, MSPs, AMs. It's not just about how many MPs they have but about broader electoral support.'

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The BBC added: 'Question Time isn't a single-issue programme. During the formal referendum period QT ensured a balance between Brexit Remainers & Leavers. Since then the arguments are less binary so we don't categorise panellists like that but we do aim to reflect a range of views over time.'

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Beader also responded to the thread saying that 'the EU isn't just about Brexit.'

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She said: 'MEPs work on legislation impacting everything from the environment, agriculture, science. Perhaps if we had more informed debate about what the EU actually does over last 20 years we wouldn't be dealing with it via Remain vs Leave.'

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