Question Time audience packed with UKIP activists – Pride’s Purge

Thanks to Tom Pride for confirming something we already knew – that the BBC has been inviting members of certain right-wing parties into the audiences of Question Time, the weekly politics panel show chaired by David Dimbleby.

This is an abuse of the programme’s premise, which is to have politicians discuss the issues of the day in front of members of the general public. It enables the Corporation to follow the wishes of its right-leaning masters by ensuring that left-wingers in the audience are outnumbered and may be shouted down by people of opposing political views.

This show requires reform.

Here’s what Tom had to say:

I always thought the BBC Question Time audience was supposed to be made up of members of the public.

If so, why is the BBC openly inviting UKIP activists to be part of it – including UKIP parliamentary candidates:


UKIP councillors:


Branch chairs:


and 6 members of a local UKIP branch.



All of these professional UKIPpers were invited by the BBC onto one show – last night’s.

Perhaps the BBC thinks the UK population is made up of professional UKIP activists?

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  1. bevchat November 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    I have written to the BBC making a complaint about this but I dare say any response will be that they are not impartial they have no control over who applies to attend QT in the audience. But will wait to see what response I do get and will publish this…on my FB page..

    • Mike Sivier November 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      Of course the response is that these UKIP people are saying they were invited by the BBC.

      • bevchat November 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm - Reply

        Well they would say that. Charles Kennedy knew who they were in the audience by his retort to a question he answered that had been put forward to him when he was rudely interrupted by a UKIP member in the audience…

  2. annie November 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    BBC should answer to this. I recently argued on face book that the question time audience is not hand picked. I now have mud on my face and need to apologise publicly on facebook to those concerned

  3. Michelle Thomasson November 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Along with ignoring the Green party in major debate this obviously smacks of an agenda by the BBC, do they really want to entrench discussion so that its limited to those fear mongers in far far away land?

  4. Lovejoy November 7, 2014 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    BBC = British Bourgeoise Corporation.

  5. Dan Evans November 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    You have to apply to be on BBQT, usually the BBC have been hand picking and stopping UKIP being represented. This was obvious in the Clacton BBQT when the result showed 60% of voters voting UKIP but the BBQT audience was obviously anti-UKIP. It is good to see they are now allowing UKIP people to attend the audience. The only issue you have here is that UKIP were allowed on, we are a democracy and blocking freedom of expression is not what we want.

    • Mike Sivier November 7, 2014 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      The problem with what you’re saying is that the Kippers quoted in article make it abundantly clear that they were invited by the BBC – they didn’t apply.
      It’s quite a big problem in that it invalidates what you say about “the only issue you have here”. If the BBC is inviting some people to be in the audience, then it is rigging the audience response to the panel and – to use your words – blocking freedom of expression. If this is what UKIP supporters don’t want, why are they taking part in it?

      • bevchat November 7, 2014 at 6:33 pm - Reply

        Good question and I thought that anyone of the general public or viewers of BBCQT could apply? If they are inviting people then that is rigging the audience as you say and somewhat a tad biased towards any questions brought forward to the panel or others in the audience do you not think? Seems to me why bother asking people to apply if they are going to invite people as well as panel members…that is not Democracy

      • Joan Edington November 8, 2014 at 7:37 pm - Reply

        Same old tactics as they used in some pre-Scottish Independence Referendum debates. They couldn’t find enough No voters to make up a balanced audience so they were found to be bribing undecideds or young Yes voters to pretend to be Nos.

  6. chopale November 7, 2014 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    If the !BBC” host it! you can be sure it’s kosher; like there Tory editors. under the BBC board of Tory decision makers.

  7. Endracism TowardstheEnglish November 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    The BBC recieve money from Brussels & always seem left wing pro EU biased. The QT panel always seem to comprise 4 pro EU & one skeptic. That’s hardly EUroskeptic bias.
    Consider Panorama.
    As a UKIP member I found out some inside info about the Panorama hatchet job on Nigel Farage. He did speak to the interviewer for about 3 mins. But they didn’t show it. They preferred instead to make out he refused to speak to them!
    The chairperson of the Southampton Branch spoke to Nigel on the MEP ellection night at Southampton guildhall. She explained to the BBC fim makers how UKIP are not racist & that our concern is about loss of democracy & overpopulation. She is very intelligent & has a degree in politics.
    She herself is an Asian lady from Jamacia. None of this was shown.
    Instead they chose to show a very inarticulate UKIP supporter interviewed some other time.
    To add to this German military marching music in the background to try to associate UKIP with Nazism!
    It’s disgusting.
    The EU stands for creeping insidious totalitariansim. Not UKIP
    EU grants to the BBC >

    • Mike Sivier November 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm - Reply

      The BBC? Left-wing? That myth was busted – on this very blog, among other places – a long time ago.
      Your Panorama story is hearsay.
      The EU funding story is interesting, although at 0.8 per cent of total funding, you really can’t say it makes much of a difference one way or another.

  8. Steve Cooke (@Steve_Cooke) November 8, 2014 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    Slightly puzzled that the author seems to think it’s a revelation that the BBC invites political parties to put forward members to join the audience of Question Time. That has been the practice for decades. There seemed to be more than a few UKIPers on the Middlesbrough programme recently but, hate to break it to you, that political party scored 29% of the vote in the North East European Parliament constituency back in May and is probably even stronger now. Like it or not – and I don’t like it at all – you will find UKIP supporters where you work, where you drink, probably in your own family. We need to challenge their politics and the errors upon which their views are based rather than coming up with these ridiculous conspiracy theories.

    • Mike Sivier November 9, 2014 at 2:05 am - Reply

      29 per cent of a 34.19 per cent turnout is only 9.9 per cent of the electorate. “Even stronger now”? UKIP wins a minority of votes – albeit a healthy minority.
      I wasn’t aware that the BBC invites political parties to put forward members to join the audience, as I was relying on the information provided by the BBC, as follows:
      “How does Question Time select its audiences?
      “The short answer is: with great care.
      People apply through a phone number given on the programme or via the website.
      “They are then questioned about their views, voting intentions, background etc, in much the same way as an opinion poll.
      “From that, the producers select a broad and balanced cross-section.
      “If, from those applying in a particular area, they feel any group or view is under-represented, they will – occasionally – contact local groups to encourage their members to apply to be in the audience.”
      As the UKIP members make clear in their tweets that they did not contact the BBC but were instead contacted by the corporation and asked to attend, am I to assume that UKIP was under-represented in the audience of that show?
      My opinion is in agreement with Tom Pride’s – that this was not the case.

  9. Mary November 9, 2014 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Really? 4 UKIP people in the audience & it’s ‘packed’ with them? You are beginning to believe your own publicity. You are now pronouncing that your own ‘facts’ – which do not support your argument – point to a conspiracy (formulated in your own mind) that the BBC is right wing. Get over yourself.

    • Mike Sivier November 9, 2014 at 2:11 am - Reply

      It has been well-established that there are strong right-wing influences within the BBC – your denial of this, coupled with the way you try to tell us all what I am doing when it’s perfectly clear that I’m just reblogging an article with which I agree, tells us more about you than it does about me.
      As for the use of the term “packed”, it can be taken two ways. We have established that the BBC unilaterally invited UKIP to send some of its members to the recording – so the BBC was packing Kippers into the audience, simply in terms of putting them there. The other way – the way you have interpreted it – is open to query but there seemed to be more people voicing their support of what the Kippers said than just three.

  10. bridgetmck November 9, 2014 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    BBC Question Time contact representatives of local political parties, wherever they’re heading. After inviting the parties, they open it out to other community organisations such as local church, charities, the host organisation and so on. You have to apply, explaining your political allegiance and the issues that interest you. The question is, what proportions do they let through from different parties? There was a pretty big phalanx from UKIP when I went, and I only recognised myself from local Greens. Other key questions are to do with the choice of panellists and the way they massage the questions that are posed by the audience.

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