Vote Leave blunder: BBC finally issues full correction of Fiona Bruce’s Question Time mistake

The BBC has finally issued a full correction for the mistake that Question Time host Fiona Bruce made on the show last week, about the Vote Leave electoral offences.

During last week’s programme, Bruce objected to an audience member who said that Vote Leave had been accused of breaking electoral law.


Bruce quickly shut down the audience member, saying that, “No criminal charges were brought in the end. No criminal charges were against the Leave EU campaign.”

However, the audience was referring to Vote Leave – the official campaign run by Dominic Cummings – rather than Leave.EU.

Vote Leave was found by the Electoral Commission to have committed a number of offences during the EU referendum. This included exceeding the regulated spending limit. The group was fined £61,000 by the Electoral Commission for its breaches of electoral law, which it paid earlier this year.

Initially, the BBC said that Bruce misheard the audience member, and thought he was referring to the unofficial Leave.EU campaign run by Arron Banks and Richard Tice.

However, as Full Fact has pointed out, Question Time is not broadcast live. The production team should have caught the error, as it could have misled viewers.

What’s more, the BBC has now been forced to issue a second, full correction. Their first correction attempted to excuse Bruce for thinking that the audience member was referring to Leave.EU.

But the reality is that Leave.EU broke electoral law as well. The group committed a number of offences during the referendum campaign, including exceeded its spending limit, incorrectly recording transactions, not submitting invoices and receipts, and failing to properly report spending.

This new BBC correction therefore admits that both Leave campaigns were fined for electoral offences.

As BBC insiders will know, Question Time is actually run by an independent production company. However, it’s worrying that it took the BBC a week to figure out that it was wrong about the referendum offences of the Leave campaigns.

They should examine the facts, rather than swallowing the smear tactics of Banks and Cummings.

37 responses to “Vote Leave blunder: BBC finally issues full correction of Fiona Bruce’s Question Time mistake

  1. It’s about time the bbc became impartial to all these smears and did their research. They are purposely helping to divide this country. Permanently siding with the tories and planting right wing members in the audience is not impartial

  2. LOL, if they were a real news and opinion channel they would point out that, had the referendum been binding in law, the offenses found by the electoral commission would have required it be annulled

    1. Please provide proof. The BBC has been a good obedient defender of Remain, packing programmes with the biased London Remoaner and ignoring the provincial leavers in the shires who are thick, ignorant racists who don’t know any better. Watch any episode of HIGNFY, Mock The Week, etc etc. Stuffed with London centric guests, Remainers one and all, promoting Remain and rubbishing Leave.

        1. But, they do have influence…have you never seen “Wag the Dog”? Give your head a bang will you. Or, have you been duped by the THEATRE OF POLITICS so much that you can’t even see the wood, never mind the trees?

      1. Watching the programme through beer goggles and with the volume muted again? – utter rubbish, the audience is selected by a Bwrecksit fascist and is populated by Bwrecksit party plc., UKIP and Conservative Party members.

  3. Question Time has been totally biased since June 2016 towards leavers!!
    It is disgraceful that BBC continues this as it should remain neutral in politics!!!!!!!

    1. From day 1 BBC has been totally biased, scaremongering, and dwelling on the negatives and belittling the leavers… the whole world is mocking the BBC now and we have to pay for something we hardly watch now

  4. This is a politically motivated targeted campaign against the Leave side. Cameron and the Remain campaign broke all kinds of laws but the puppet Quango obediently ruled No Investigation Neccessary. Woof woof, please throw us a bone (or a nice sinecure in the EU or a peerage or something please, we did as we were told).

    1. List the “all kinds of rules” broken by Remain and Cameron in particular. The answer to the very serious wrong doing by Leave is so often unsubstantiated claims that “Remain did stuff too”. Leavers could be told that the leave campaign raised money by funding dog fights and selling children to slavery and they’d still say “yeah, but…”

    2. Please explain which laws have been broken by David Cameron ( apart from his broken promise to remain as Prime minister) and the Remainers.

  5. And another very Essential point remainders forget is DEMOCRACY!!! Whatever happened there? I know who and what I vote for and why… if the outcome was not in my favour I would have accepted and moved on but the remainders have thrown their tantrums and toys.. disgrace!!!

    1. The Conservative( PRESERVATIVE) government is NO democracy,it is a DICTATORSHIP,put together to preserve their DIVISIVE plans to save their offshore accounts.The public have been fooled,with such nonsense as ” Take our country back” Britain is not a country,never has been, patriotic piss to get the peoples votes!

  6. The BBC’s motto and duty is: “To speak truth to power”. That of course means when necessary challenging the establishment narrative. But perhaps more importantly to speak truth to the people who are a “power” particularly at election time. That is easier said than done, truth has to be investigated, and sifted out from interpretation which also has its place.

    Having watched BBC news for many years, I recognize that it has a very creditable history of investigative journalism. But as far as news and programs like Question Time go, it relies very heavily on getting a range of opinions, and arguments to do the work and leaves it to the viewer/listener to draw their own conclusions. There is a lot to be said for this approach but it is not enough for, I believe, two main reasons:

    Firstly, it doesn’t do enough to challenge political narratives from any quarter, which rely on plain untruths, or at least are highly questionable. I credit Fiona Bruce with challenging what she thought was untrue. Actually she got it wrong. The big mistake, as the article points out, was with the BBC’s lack of proper editorial oversight.

    The second problem,(which feeds into the first problem), is that the BBC follows very heavily on the largely right-wing press in deciding what items are news worthy. News 24 is a bit more wide ranging , but this does not get translated into the main news on BBC1 or Radio 4 main news broadcasts. Even if the reporting on these items aims at balance and accuracy, the selection of stories is open to bias by reporting on those stories that “the powers that be” want to focus on. That is mainly on the right wing press narratives.

    There may be no entirely satisfactory answer to these problem but the BBC’s news editors need to up their game considerably if they want to live up to the BBC’s motto.

    1. “the BBC follows very heavily on the largely right-wing press”? WHAT? I’m sorry, but I spat my coffee at this outrageous statement.
      The only press the BBC follows is the Guardian. It is a well known fact commented on by several now-ex BBC employees that the BBC newsroom obeys the Guardian op ed column as if it were holy writ!
      I’m sorry, but I couldn’t let such absolute tosh go without objecting.

  7. Fiona Bruce made ANOTHER error this week on BBC QT. She interrupted SNP panel member when he said that a judge in summing up at a rape trial stated, Tory candidate Ross England had ‘deliberately sabotaged the rape trial.’ Bruce falsely suggested it was alleged, when in fact it was deliberate. Perhaps she’s spending too much time on Tory party campaign! Another apology this week?

  8. The BBC are TOTAL LIARS!
    I complained about Bruce’s ignorance and Oakshott’s right-wing propoganda and was told it was ” audience noise” that caused Bruce to “mis-hear”.
    Absoloute “cachu-tarw”!

  9. Check out the make up of the BBC’S news editorial team. Mostly from Tory party advisors, would be Tory candidates and close Tory associates.

  10. Give the BBC a break. She/It is getting on. If you could see, as the parent, your preferred acronym and raison d’être,”BBC”, was at risk of being eventually fragmented into SBC WBC NIBC EBC or even ?BC, a bias against movements that give sucker to disassembly is only natural. As with caring for traditions, the past, elderly and the misinformed it requires lots of tolerance, patience. Even forgiveness.

  11. The Government choose the Directors of the BBC. Their political editor for the 2016 Advisory referendum Joined May as her advisor, Banks bragged about him having a very good relationship and acquiring favours from the BBC. Farage all time appearance record for an MEP slating EU procedure, 0 Remain MEPs invited = no balance. Not professional, not impartial as far as this program goes which is sad because of its profile. It has done its bit to divide this nation without a doubt in my mind.

  12. I no longer trust the BBC to be impartial and fair. They have become the voice piece of the Tory party.
    Unfair coverage and unprofessional.
    Shame on them!

  13. I am not a labour supporter, but the way that Fiona Bruce favours, the Tory on one side, and runs down the Labour spokesperson on the other is so obvious its rediculous. Find someone like Dimbelby. There was a real referee.

  14. The BBC is totally biased and the news section should be privatised- nick Robinson’s negative Brexit approach is treason

  15. For years Tories & the right wing leavers have jumped on the BBC for the slightest perceived negative comment or bias in any program
    They have constantly claimed negative bias against them & demanded more air time
    The ludicrous narrative that the always establishment BBC was left wing guardianista has been constantly promoted in columns & comments anywhere possible.
    This started with the Tories but became a general trope that forced the BBC to the right because of fear of complaints.
    By the people who decided on their grant, whether to raise it or stop it altogether.
    When the Tory ex governor of Hong Kong was appointed governor of the BBC the slide to the right became a rush.
    He appointed Tories to all the top jobs, they appointed Tories to the rank below & so on.
    Any impartial, let alone left wing, people were forced out years ago.
    The leave campaign led by hard core Tories, including Cameron who claimed the Remain Campaign only to wreck it, took control through their made men at the BBC.
    Who before the referendum and since, have by a variety of means, of which Fiona Bruce is only the latest manifestation, pushed an extreme right hard exit agenda.
    To the point that glaringly obvious deliberate “mistakes” like this require repeated complaints to wring a begrudging correction from them.
    I used to believe in public funding for the BBC because of it’s impartiality, despite its heavy establishment Monarchy weighting.
    No more, it is nothing more than a Tory mouthpiece now, extreme right wing hard core exit mouthpiece at that.
    It needs top down reorganization to prevent it becoming just a mouthpiece of the ruling party, especially a minority regime as we now have.
    The number of WW2 & rehabilitate Royals programs has also become ludicrous while not a mention of the serious paedophile allegations against the Prince have been allowed.

  16. The whole Referendum thing should be revoked by article 50 and get some sense and stability back into everyday life.Do it NOW

    1. We all voted in the referendum. The outcome of the referendum was to leave the EU. Now we have political parties IE the libdems have made their main policy to remain whilst Labor sits on the fence not knowing which way to fall! If we don’t like the outcome of the election will that too be subject to a re-vote untill the moaners get the outcome they want? Brexit means that we leave the EU, we (the government) has jumped through every hoop that was put its way only for it to be subject to the opposition stoping any movement for us to leave..No wonder we are the laughing stock of Europe

      1. The claim that “we all voted in the referendum” is incorrect. Among the million or more expats who left the country more than 15 years ago (and I’m one of them) were huge numbers of British citizens automatically removed from the electoral roll. If Brexit goes through we will be stripped of our European citizenship and risk putting in jeopardy our access to a number of basic necessities such as full health care and a right to vote at any level in the country in which we reside. So we are among the section of the population which has most to lose. We are indeed the “laughing stock of Europe”, but not because of opposition in our parliament to stop “any movement for us to leave” but because our government launched a referendum in the first place for internal party political reasons and accepted a result based on the bare faced lies of Boris’s bus and an almost total ignorance of what our country would thereby lose.

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