BBC attacked over 'provocative' George Galloway Question Time appearance

By Marcus Dysch, January 27, 2015
Respect MP George Galloway (Photo: David Martyn Hunt)

Respect MP George Galloway (Photo: David Martyn Hunt)

The BBC has been attacked for its decision to invite anti-Israel MP George Galloway to appear on a Question Time panel in Finchley, north-west London.

Mr Galloway, who refuses to debate with Israelis, will be part of the programme filmed in the parliamentary constituency with the country’s largest Jewish population next week.

Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer said the BBC’s invitation to the Respect MP was “deliberately provocative”.

“The BBC can’t have done it by accident. Given what’s going on in the world it is a slap in the face for the local community. It lacks sensitivity,” the Conservative MP said.

Mr Galloway has not commented on the invitation, or Mr Freer’s comments.

Two years ago he walked out of a debate at Oxford University after discovering his opponent was Israeli, saying “I don’t debate with Israelis”.

Earlier this month Mr Galloway interviewed Israeli antisemite Gilad Atzmon on his Russia Today television show.

Other panellists announced so far for the February 5 edition of Question Time are Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt and journalist Janet Street-Porter.

A BBC spokesperson said: "Question Time invites panellists who reflect a significant range of opinions on a number of different topics. Whilst Mr Galloway’s views are entirely his own, as an MP he has a right to appear on the programme and has done so previously.

"Subjects for discussion are chosen by our audience ahead of each show and this edition of Question Time will be no different.”

Last updated: 2:44pm, January 27 2015