BBC under fire for choosing George Galloway and Nigel Farage as Question Time panelists

Scottish politicians unite in condemning selection of UKIP and Respect leaders in debate focusing on Scottish independence

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Think you’ve seen too much of UKIP leader Nigel Farage and George Galloway on BBC political shows?

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Well the Scottish National party, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party will agree with you. They have just written to the BBC to complain about the inclusion of the politicians on last night’s Question Time.

The BBC has confirmed that the parties have all sent letters of complaint to BBC director general Tony Hall about Farage and Galloway’s appearances in the latest edition of the current affairs show, which was filmed in Edinburgh and was meant to be dedicated to the issue of Scottish independence.

The parties all argue that since neither UKIP nor Galloway’s Respect party have any seats in Scotland, they should not have been on last night’s show.

Scottish Greens Co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP said that he had spoken to the programme’s editor about the “bizarre” choice of panelists: “It is clear to me that this programme has been contrived to deliver sensationalist confrontation, rather than serious debate. The lack of balance is staggering and I know from comments we’ve received it’s not just Green supporters who are alarmed.

“The BBC has shown serious misjudgement in allowing tonight’s programme to go ahead and we look forward to meeting senior managers to discuss how they intend to rectify a situation that will have harmed the broadcaster’s reputation for fairness.”

The programme was recorded in Edinburgh in front of an audience of 16- and 17-year-olds, an age group being given a vote for the first time in next year’s independence referendum.

The BBC defended its panel selection, issuing a statement which said: “The programme aimed to provide its unique audience of 16 and 17 year olds with as broad a range of political opinion as possible, while offering a UK-wide audience at home a varied and interesting political and current affairs debate.

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“Nigel Farage represents a party with growing UK support and their recent electoral gains since the 2010 general election makes them of interest to our audience. The Question Time panel is chosen carefully across the series and the Green party has appeared on the programme twice in the last four months. The Scottish Greens will be invited to appear on the programme in a future edition recorded in Scotland.”