BBC phone-in incites race hate says law lecturer

BBC Scotland is expected to be reported to the police today after staging an hour-long phone-in on the British National Party.

Dr Nick McKerrell, a lecturer in human rights law at Glasgow Caledonian University and SSP European elections candidate, believes last Thursday's phone-in gave the BNP a platform for its racist views.

Dr McKerrell said yesterday he would report the Morning Extra programme to the police on grounds of a possible incitement to racial hatred.

He said he was concerned at the content of many the calls aired on the programme and accused the BBC of providing the BNP with "an open goal for their racist views".

Scottish Socialist Party leaders Colin Fox and Frances Curran said that the BBC had been "suckered" into providing the BNP with a platform.

They said: "On the back of a stunt story about the BNP going to Buckingham Palace, BBC Scotland have been suckered into providing them with an hour-long publicity slot on Radio Scotland."

The SSP has already lodged a formal complaint about the programme with the BBC and has written to Alex Salmond, the First Minister, asking him to condemn the broadcaster.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "No candidates from the BNP appeared on the programme but members of the public did phone in to express a whole range of views. The BBC has a duty to debate issues with a whole range of opinion on controversial subjects. The programme did that whilst steering a careful line on a difficult issue."

Meanwhile, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have urged voters not to let the expenses scandal lead to increased backing for the British National Party at the European Parliamentary and local elections on 4 June.

In a joint statement, issued on behalf of the Church of England House of Bishops, Rowan Williams and John Sentamu said it would be "tragic" if people chose not to vote, or to register a protest vote, as a result of the scandal.

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