BBC journalist admits being 'haunted' by fear broadcaster 'built up' Nigel Farage and UKIP

Journalist, writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed arrives at the Central London Employment Tribunal, V

BBC journalist, writer and broadcaster Samira Ahmed - Credit: PA

A BBC journalist says she is still "haunted" by complaints the broadcaster received claiming it had "built up" Nigel Farage and UKIP.

According to The Times, Samira Ahmed recalled complaints received by Newswatch in the early 2010s.

Speaking on her podcast How I Found My Voice, Ahmed said: "I’m haunted by that and I remember talking to editors about it."

Guest Ian Hislop disagreed with inviting only people ‘"who are considered absolutely acceptable" onto panel shows, saying: "That’s untenable and slightly dangerous. And also, there is a problem — and this is the same problem as giving people the vote I’m afraid — that if you allow people airtime, which they probably are allowed, people might like them."

As well as being covered on shows like Newswatch, Farage appeared on Question Time on 12 occasions between 2010 and 2015.

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UKIP more than tripled its share of the vote to 12.7% in those five years, and was awarded major party status by Ofcom in 2014, having made breakthroughs in the 2013 local elections, 2014 European Parliamentary elections, and later the 2015 general election.

In a statement shared with, a BBC spokesperson said: "All BBC News and Current Affairs journalists must avoid appearing to express any personal views. 

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"We have discussed the video with Samira, and she is clear that she was referring to being 'haunted' by the number of complaints rather than trying to give a wider commentary."

Ahmed also said that members of the cabinet "won’t resign over obvious issues that you might have expected them to", referencing Robert Jenrick’s role as housing secretary in a £1 billion development proposed by Richard Desmond, a Tory donor.

Ahmed has worked on BBC Radio 3 and 4 and presented the Proms for BBC Radio 4, and previously presented Sunday Morning Live. She took over as Newswatch presenter in 2012, and last year, she reached a settlement with the BBC after winning her equal pay claim in a landmark case.

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