BBC dismisses complaints that Have I Got News For You is biased against the Tories

PUBLISHED: 13:14 18 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:14 18 November 2019

This episode of Have I Got News For You received 140 complaints. Photograph: BBC.

This episode of Have I Got News For You received 140 complaints. Photograph: BBC.

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The BBC has defended itself against complaints that claim comedy programme Have I Got News For You is biased against the Tories and Brexit.

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One episode hosted by Adil Ray on November 8th mocked Boris Johnson's "over-ready" Brexit, Jacob Rees-Mogg's comments about the Grenfell Tower fire, and James Cleverly's failure to turn up on Sky News to be interviewed by Kay Burley.

The episode, which included Ivo Graham and Helen Lewis on the panel, also showed a clip of Nigel Farage being pranked on-air on his radio show by a caller who claimed he had been "kicked in the head by a horse".

The mix of comments attracted 140 complaints with accusations that it was showing anti-Tory and anti-Brexit sentiment.

But the programme also mocked Labour's stance on Brexit and the resignation of deputy leader Tom Watson.

A statement from the BBC said: "The upcoming general election and Brexit are currently dominating the news at what is an extraordinary time in politics. We don't therefore feel the amount of coverage given to these stories, and the people involved in them, in this episode was disproportionate.

"The BBC has a long tradition of satire and it isn't unusual for public figures to have their actions scrutinised. No one in the public eye is exempt. Nonetheless we have noted that some people feel that the focus on the prime minister on this occasion was unfair."

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