Remainers furious as BBC QT special to have only Brexit voters in auduence
BBC Question Time announces special Brexit show
Remainers are furious over an upcoming special Brexit episode of BBC Question Time which will have an audience made up of Leave voters only.
Host Fiona Bruce last night announced the one-off show in Clacton-on-Sea on June 22 to mark the seventh anniversary of the EU referendum.
Members of the audience will all be Brexit voters, but the programme will have its regular panel of five politicians and commentators from across the political divide.
Ms Bruce said: “I want to tell you about a special Question Time programme we’re making on Thursday June 22.
“That day is the eve of the seventh anniversary of our decision to leave the EU. We’ll be devoting a programme to it.
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“We’ll be having a conservation with a cross-section of people who took that decision, Leave voters. How do they feel about Brexit now seven years on?”
The decision to only include Leave voters in the audience has prompted fierce debate on Twitter.
A pro-EU account with the handle Remain Central, which has 20 thousand followers, tweeted: “More Brexit bias from the BBC.
“They’re excluding anyone who voted Remain from a Question Time special on Brexit. Absolutely outrageous.”
The Best for Britain campaign group, which tried to stop Brexit, said: “To mark the anniversary of the referendum, #BBCQT has an all-Brexiter audience, for a ‘special’.
“I don’t know how special it is to ignore Remain voters, people who didn’t vote, or young people and EU citizens who couldn’t vote. Pretty much what BBC has done for seven years.”
Adam Bienkov, the political editor of the pro-EU Byline Times, added: “So to mark the anniversary of Brexit, BBC Question time is… going to exclude anyone who didn’t vote for it.”
But former BBC journalist Lewis Goodall defended the panel show and said he did not understand the “furore”.
He said: “It’ll have to be researched properly, a lot of work for the producers, but it has the potential to be far more interesting than all of the many other Question Time shows on Brexit over the years.
“To those saying ‘balance!’ – QT has done literally hundreds of shows since Brexit where the panel and audience will have been balanced.
“Assume the panel will be for this one. If they were proposing to do it every week obviously it’d be absurd. This is one show. It’s interesting.
“And to those saying ‘where’s the Remainer show!’, come on. We can safely assume nearly all Remainers are disappointed with Brexit.
“The interesting thing, the thing which matters for our politics in future, is what Leavers think. That’s what the show presumably is trying to test.”
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Ex-BBC head of political programmes Rob Burley added: “I’d say a Question Time audience of Brexit voters is an interesting idea that might be more illuminating than the usual bun fight.
“My only reservation is whether the QT format as is can make that work well, but it’s worth a go. The panel will still be balanced on the issue.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “This is about understanding the views of our audience and public attitudes towards Brexit to explore how people who voted to leave now think Brexit is going – seven years on.
“This is an important part of the debate to explore so we’ll hear from a range of views and opinions to understand how Leave voters feel now, some of whom wouldn’t necessarily vote in the same way now.
“We will announce the panel closer to the time but it will also represent a range of views on the EU and Brexit including from those who voted Remain.”
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