UK

BBC Question Time: Alan Barrett, Man Behind Jibe At The Sun's Stig Abell, Was Local Council Candidate

13/11/2015 10:54 GMT | Updated 13/11/2015 11:58 GMT

The man behind a blistering intervention on last night's Question Time is a poet and former local election candidate, it has been revealed.

Stoke-on-Trent resident Alan Barrett dealt a stinging blow from the audience to The Sun's managing editor, Stig Abell, on an episode of Thursday night's episode, much to the delight of fellow attendees.

The 59-year-old, who was widely praised on social media for his intervention on tabloid newspapers' treatment of Jeremy Corbyn, stood against Labour in a council election earlier this year for the campaign group 'March on Stoke'.

He claims to have last appeared on the weekly David Dimbleby-fronted panel show 25 years ago, taking to Facebook in advance of last night's event to modestly claim: "I'll likely be a dot at the back of the hall."

Barrett is an impassioned activist, having decided to run an an independent candidate for the council because "the national parties are ruining local government, destroying democracy".


Barrett's rebuke to Abell on Thursday

He came second place in the Boothen and Oakhill ward, achieving 402 votes to party City Independents' Grant Barnes in May.

The actor and storyteller, who is married, has also previously lamented Britain's major political players to be too similar, telling Stoke Sentinel: "In the last couple of decades, the differences across the three main parties is less than a cigarette paper."

He went on to comment in an opinion piece for the paper: "Politics at all levels, across all parties, needs to clean up its act if politicians are ever to be trusted again."

Barrett praised Question Time for its political hustings-like format, calling for those "guilty of spin" to be seen, witnessed and challenged publicly.

alan barrett

Barrett is a fervent critic of the current state-of-play of politics

Thursday night's unlikely famous figure came to prominence in his appearance as an audience member on Thursday night's panel show, wearing a bright yellow shirt and a distinctive feathered hat.

He used a comment to the Sun boss to point out the contrast between his paper's coverage of Corbyn's bow with David Cameron's 'photoshopped' poppy, the latter having received relatively little attention, he mused.

"If we're going back to disrespect during the proceedings, David Cameron had a poppy photoshopped onto him earlier on the day and Boris Johnson was caught talking during the minute's silence, you didn't mention that" the previous local election candidate told Abell.

stig abell

Stig Abell reacts to the man's interjection

"Both of those things were widely reported, I think that's right" the Sun man replied, to which the audience member said: "It wasn't widely reported in the same way that you widely reported 'Jeremy Corbyn - what a nasty person he is'.

It is a horrible way to treat a person, and it's not just 'The Sun', it's a great many of the national newspapers."

But as Abell attempted to interject, the audience member leveled his now famed cutting reprimand.

bbc question time

Barrett embarked on a no-holds-barred attack of The Sun's reporting

"Listen, pal, I'm speaking, shut up."

David Dimbleby interjected to suggest the man shouldn't tell members of the panel shut up, but allowed him to continue to make his argument.

"It's not just 'The Sun', it's the whole of the Murdoch empire who has taken against Corbyn and... if it happened in the street you'd be arrested," the man continued.

"You say that the criticism came from 'The Sun' but it came from people in his own party - it came from people watching the television," Abell retorted.

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