BNP to be allowed on Question Time
By Liz Stephens
The leader of the British National party is to appear on Question Time before the end of the year it was revealed today.
Following the success of the far-right party in the European elections, the BBC is preparing to issue leader Nick Griffin with an invitation to join the panel show.
A party spokesman said: “Obviously it’s good news. Of late, a large proportion of Question Time has been devoted to assaults on the BNP, so it’s rather welcome that we are allowed to defend ourselves.”
The Labour party has previously refused to share a platform with the BNP because of its policies on race, however, today a spokesman said they were reviewing their position following the BBC’s decision.
The far-right part is currently being taken to court by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over it’s membership policy, which states that only “indigenous Caucasian” people are allowed to join.
The BNP today accused the government of using the EHRC to attack the BNP: “If anybody has an excuse for not sharing a platform with a political party, it should be us and the Labour party, but we believe in the democratic process.”
The BBC’s chief political adviser, Ric Bailey, said: “The BBC is obliged to treat all political parties registered with the Electoral Commission and operating within the law with due impartiality.
“Our audiences – and the electorate – will make up their own minds about the different policies offered by elected politicians.”
Other smaller parties such as the Green party and Ukip have already been represented on the show.
The Conservatives said they would treat a BNP appearance on Question Time like “any other programme”.
“We have seen the BNP do well in areas where people haven’t been prepared to tackle them and now they are elected we have got to face up to that reality,” said a Tory spokesman.
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “If they’re being given the opportunity to debate, then we will appear with them and do our best to argue against them vigorously and to shut out their support.”
Anti-fascist groups are already threatening to picket Broadcasting House this week in protest against the decision.