BBC dismisses SNP MSP’s claims over Question Time representation

Nigel Farage (right) has been a regular guest on Question Time over the years, including this 2013 episode in Edinburgh. Picture: Joey Kelly
Nigel Farage (right) has been a regular guest on Question Time over the years, including this 2013 episode in Edinburgh. Picture: Joey Kelly
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The BBC has defended its decision to invite a former UKIP leader on its flagship current affairs programme after a senior SNP MSP described it as “ridiculous”.

Nigel Farage is reportedly among the guests for this week’s edition of Question Time, which would be the 32nd time he has appeared on the BBC1 show since 2000.

Critics of the UKIP MEP claim his party is over-represented on the programme, given they presently have no MPs and are currently polling at just two per cent nationally.

Michael Russell, the Scottish Government’s Brexit spokesman, said in a tweet: “It is the BBC and its management that is now looking ridiculous, especially in Scotland where UKIP has a single elected representative yet gets more air time (via UK originated broadcasts shown in Scotland) than Scotland’s governing party (which is also UK’s third largest).”

Question Time regularly attracts criticism from supporters of all political parties, with invited guests and even its studio audience scrutinised for suggestions of bias.

In 2016, SNP supporters asked whether one episode was actually filmed in Dundee as advertised after John Swinney was given a rough ride by some audience members.

A BBC spokesman told The Scotsman: “The Question Time panel varies from week to week to ensure a broad range of views are represented. Party appearances on the programme are in line with past electoral support. Since the last general election SNP members have featured significantly more often than UKIP.”

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