People are reacting with disbelief, after BBC Question Time admitted that it consciously selected a pro-Tory audience.
Introducing the programme yesterday evening, presenter Fiona Bruce said:
“Our audience has been selected to reflect the current political picture, depending on where we are, so here in England that means there are more Conservative than Labour supporters, plus a smaller number from other parties.”
The thing is, this policy builds-in pro-Tory bias to the vast majority of Question Time programmes, often without good reason.
Last night’s show was hosted in Liverpool, which is famously a Labour stronghold. Whereas many seats in Yorkshire and the North East fell to the Tories in last month’s election, Liverpool stayed staunchly red.
As a result, if Question Time hopes to reflect the “current political picture,” depending on “where they are,” the audience should have been skewed towards Labour, not the Tories.
By having a pro-Tory audience in every single programme in England, you’re implying Boris Johnson has 100% support in the country, which is obviously not the case. In fact the majority of the country – roughly 56% of those who voted – did not pick a Conservative Party candidate at the 2019 election.
As anti-Brexit campaigner Femi Oluwole said on Twitter last night: “What the f*ck, BBC Question Time. Just say you’re a Tory propaganda machine. It’s simpler.”
We’re afraid, with these audience rules, that’s exactly what they are.