SNP leader demands BBC 'rectify gross imbalance' towards Jo Swinson's Liberal Democrats

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One of the SNP's most senior leaders has warned the BBC must "rectify a gross imbalance" towards Jo Swinson's Liberal Democrats party.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown has made the declaration ahead of his party's three-day conference in Aberdeen starting from Sunday.

The BBC has been accused of bias towards Jo Swinson's Liberal Democrats

The BBC has been accused of bias towards Jo Swinson's Liberal Democrats

Figures collated by The National show the LibDems had more than double the number of SNP appearances across five of the BBC's main political shows throughout September.

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The LibDems received 22 guest slots compared to the SNP's 10 during a month where the former held its main party conference.

Mr Brown has called on the BBC to now match that coverage to coincide with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's party holding its own conference from this weekend.

He said: "The BBC's great excitement with the LibDems is an odd thing.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown

SNP depute leader Keith Brown

"The perennial general election losers of UK politics being on the BBC over twice as much as the SNP - who have twice as many MPs than the LibDems - is a curious situation.

"This selective storytelling, which benefited the LibDems on these programmes, was mirrored at times by BBC network news coverage in September too.

"Last month the LibDems had their conference. Now, this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the SNP's conference is on in Aberdeen and we will be looking to the BBC to begin to recitfy this gross imbalance."

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The SNP has previously claimed a disparity in party appearances on BBC's Newsnight programme.

The party had only 13 slots on the programme from February to July this year - just 3 per cent of all appearances - compared to 266 slots for the Conservatives and 124 for Labour.

Mr Brown said: "At first glance it looks like the BBC's key political programmes have woken up to the fact that being dominated by Tory politicians is totally disproportionate, but the inclusion of an army of former Tory SPADs on Newsnight is a notable if rather dull development which masks the figures."

The BBC declined to make a comment to The National in response to Mr Brown's comments.

Ms Swinson, who is the MP for East Dunbartonshire, was voted in as Liberal Democrats leader in July following the resignation of predecessor Sir Vince Cable.