Politician calls on BBC chiefs to review Question Time programme

PUBLISHED: 16:04 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:04 25 February 2020

Fiona Bruce introduces Question Time. Photograph: BBC.

Fiona Bruce introduces Question Time. Photograph: BBC.

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An SNP MP has urged BBC chiefs to review the practices of Question Time after a row surrounding an audience member who called for immigrants to be stopped from coming to the UK.

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The rant from the bigoted woman, later identified as a Tommy Robinson supporter, appeared on the programme's social media feeds without any of the challenges from the programme or without any fact checks or further context.

It attracted criticism from those across the political spectrum, with millions viewing the video on Twitter alone.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has now written to BBC bosses expressing concerns about the use of the clip on social media, particularly given its "factually incorrect assertions and an inciting tone on immigration".

He said: "I was deeply disappointed that the audience member was not challenged on these plainly incorrect assertions, but even more surprised that Question Time then clipped this contribution and posted to their Twitter site without any fact-checking or context.

"Question Time used to use their social media outlets to 'live' fact-check contributions from panellists and the audience, as well as giving context to each question asked by the audience. Rather than carelessly clipping these inflammatory contributions on immigration, I suggest that Question Time looks to reinstate the more informative and engaging fact-checking as part of their social media strategy."

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He continued to explain that the BBC's mission is to "inform, educate and entertain".

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But he added: "The 'informing' and 'educating' seemed to be lacking from this flagship current affairs programme".

A senior SNP source added: "This latest incident shows Question Time is out of control - and it's high time the BBC got a grip of it."

At the time the BBC defended its decision to tweet the clip from the programme on social media.

A spokesperson said: "Last night's Question Time included a debate about immigration which featured a broad range of views from the audience members and panellists. We posted five clips of people expressing their different views on the issue, including a panellist responding directly to the views of an audience member".

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