BBC: BNP has a right to appear on Question Time

By Jessica Elgot, September 7, 2009
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Nick Griffin, BNP leader, may appear on Question Time

Nick Griffin, BNP leader, may appear on Question Time

British National Party leader and MEP Nick Griffin has a right to appear on Question Time, the BBC has said.

Although no BNP representatives have ever appeared on Question Time before, the BBC is bound to treat all elected representatives impartially, a spokesman said.

Mr Griffin and Andrew Brons were elected as BNP representatives to the European Parliament in June this year.
Minority parties such as the Green Party and UKIP, were allowed slots on the show once elected to the European Parliament.

Mark Gardner, director of communications for the Community Security Trust, said: “We don’t believe any public money should be used to give a platform to racists, and that includes the BNP.

We don’t believe any public money should be used to give a platform to racists, and that includes the BNP.

Mark Gardner, CST

“Yes, the arguments need to be defeated and shown to be nonsense, but there is no need to spend public money, or to share a platform with them in order to do that.”

The Labour Party has a policy that senior politicians do not debate with the BNP and Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who was approached to join the programme alongside Mr Griffin, has refused, according to the Guardian.

But the Conservatives have said they would consider sending a senior minister on to the programme to confront Mr Griffin’s views.

A spokesman for the BBC said: "The BBC is obliged to treat all political parties registered with the Electoral Commission and operating within the law with due impartiality."

"Due impartiality is achieved both by ensuring appropriate scrutiny for each party and by the appearances of a range of politicians across a series of programmes.

"Our audiences - and the electorate - will make up their own minds about the different policies offered by elected politicians.”

Last updated: 11:04am, September 8 2009