Anger at ‘left-wing bias’ of BBC General Election debate audience
The BBC has been accused of bias in last night’s General Election debate after the audience appeared to reserve its loudest cheers for left-wing policies.
Issues such as disability benefits and scrapping nuclear weapons, a policy strongly supported by much of the panel including Green co-leader Caroline Lucas and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, proved extremely popular with the Cambridge crowd.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage tweeted: “This is Deja Vu. In 2015 I called out the BBC audience for being hard left wing. It’s even worse this time.
“The BBC audience was full of left wingers tonight and BBC executives should be sacked because of it.”
Despite the BBC’s insistence that the audience was selected to be representative, many commentators – including those writing for left-leaning publications – believed the audience was skewed.
This feels like most left-wing audience in any election debate. #BBCDebate
— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) May 31, 2017
What is going on with the #BBCDebate audience? Know how meticulously these things are chosen but it sounds like Momentum filled up the seats
— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) May 31, 2017
Let’s be honest though. I’m a leftie, but that was the most left-wing audience in the history of anything #BBCDebate
— James (@JamesFl) May 31, 2017
There’s no way this is a balanced audience. #BBCDebate
— Kevin Schofield (@PolhomeEditor) May 31, 2017
The BBC audience was full of left wingers tonight and BBC executives should be sacked because of it. pic.twitter.com/1Txa7PiDw5
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 31, 2017
A spokesman for the BBC hit back at the accusations, saying: “The BBC asked polling company ComRes to pick an audience that is representative of the country demographically and politically.”
Politicians on the panel faced tough questions from the studio audience on immigration, Brexit and their own leadership style.
It was Neil Plucknett who arguably saved the best question until last when he asked the candidates how their personal leadership and character could drive the country forward.
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Nicola Collins had kicked the evening off by asking about living standards and how the parties would help working people, which she dubbed “the backbone” of Britain.
There was another question on how the UK would recruit the workers and skills it needs after Brexit, while Rhiannon Buckley asked about where the funding would come from for public services.
David Mansfield quizzed the candidates on how they would make Britain safe, while Rebecca Greene also asked the panel about Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a landmark agreement on climate change.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd – whose father died on Monday – was picked to replace Theresa May on the panel.
Top pic: PA