The Change UK partly leader Heidi Allen has accused the BBC of inconsistency after the broadcaster pulled an episode of Have I Got News For You at the last minute claiming that it would breach election guidelines.
The Change UK leader was due to appear in a pre-recorded episode of the popular quiz show on Friday night, only to be notified an hour beforehand that it would not be broadcast.
The BBC said it was inappropriate to feature political party leaders on the programme ahead of the European parliament elections on 23 May to ensure equal representation of views.
Allen questioned why former Ukip leader Nigel Farage was allowed to appear on the programme ahead of similar elections in 2014 and said her party was not getting a fair crack of the whip. Change UK has now written to the BBC director general Tony
Hall about the decision.
Of course she did not mention the even more flagrant pre-election censorship where by candidates Carl Benjamin and Tommy Robinson have been totally banned from social media, the major communication platforms of the modern age.
Have I Got News for You,
BBC One, 10 May 2019 BBC Logo
We received complaints from people unhappy with the decision to drop the billed episode. Some people felt this was biased in favour of Brexit.
The BBC has specific editorial guidelines that apply during election periods which mean it would be inappropriate to feature a single party leader on a weekly programme such as Have I Got News for You during the short time available if other
parties are not also represented on the programme during the same period. When the fact of Heidi Allen's appearance on the show was brought to our attention, we took the decision to withdraw the show. We can assure you this would have been the
case whichever party was involved.
A number of our viewers have referred to 2014, when Nigel Farage also appeared on the programme in the period before the European Parliamentary elections. Those episodes of Have I Got News for You were planned in the run-up to the election to
ensure an appropriate range of guests from different political parties were represented. In the circumstances of this year's election, a similar approach was not practical. We refute any suggestions that the BBC has favoured Mr Farage.
In contrast, Question Time is a political debate programme and, in accordance with the guidelines, will feature representatives from a range of political parties throughout the election period. The 9 May edition, for example, featured Anna Soubry
MP (Change UK), Amber Rudd MP (Conservatives), Jonathan Reynolds MP (Labour), and Nigel Farage MEP (Brexit Party). Other parties will have appeared on different editions of Question Time during the course of the election period. Similarly, the
Andrew Marr Show ensures that over the course of the campaign, an appropriate range of party representatives appear on the programme.
Senior editorial staff within BBC News keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained. We consider that the BBC continues to report Brexit impartially and features a wide range of different perspectives
across our news coverage.
The team are sorry for the disappointment to viewers that this episode featuring Ms Allen was pulled at short notice. Have I Got News for You will return to our screens this week, and we will look to broadcast the episode featuring Ms Allen at a
Channel 4 and Crackit Productions are going behind the scenes of an extraordinary family business for a one-off documentary. T he Sex Shop Family will follow the Richardsons, whose stock in trade is sex toys and whose staff meetings focus
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Head of the family is dad and self-made businessman Tim. He's run Brighton sex shops Taboo and Lust for over two decades, and his family life is as unique as his business backdrop. Tim's current wife Calandra works alongside ex-wife Nancy, who's
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