POLITICS

BBC Election Debate 2017: Boris Johnson Accuses BBC Of Having 'Left-Wing' Audience

BBC dismisses allegation.

01/06/2017 10:50 BST

Boris Johnson has said the audience for the BBC election debate last night was “the most left-wing” he has ever seen.

The BBC has dismissed accusations the audience in Cambridge was biased against Conservative home secretary Amber Rudd and Ukip leader Paul Nuttall.

Jeremy Corbyn was loudly cheered by some in the crowd during the 90-minute debate. Whereas the two right-wing politicians received a more lukewarm reception.

The audience was chosen by polling firm ComRes who were asked to fill the room with a mix of people people that was representative of the country demographically and politically.

PA Wire/PA Images
Sky News editor at large Adam Boulton (left) interviews Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (centre)

But Johnson told Sky News this morning he believed the audience was weighted against the Tories.

“What that debate showed very clearly is the wisdom of the prime minister in not coming. It was a chaotic cacophony of different voices, and elucidated absolutely nothing, I thought, except for a couple of good points that Amber Rudd was able to get over to Jeremy Corbyn,” he said.

“You had the most left-wing audience I’ve ever seen, you had Tim Farron and the Scottish Nationalists supporting Corbyn, and they would effectively be going into the negotiations in Brussels backing him up, but with a very different view of what they want the outcome of the Brexit talks to be.”

Nuttall and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage also both complained the audience was biased against their party.

And the Daily Mail ran a front page story suggesting there was “fury” at the audience selection.

However the BBC strongly denied the allegation. “The BBC commissioned polling company ComRes to recruit an audience that is representative of the country demographically and politically. They have lots of experience doing this,” a spokesman said.

“This covered age; gender; ethnicity; socio-economic; party politics; how they voted in EU referendum; and some undecided.”

Theresa May was roundly mocked by Corbyn, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and Green leader Caroline Lucas for not turning up. The prime minister decided to send Rudd in her place.