UK

BBC Election Debate 2017: BBC Dismisses Tory And Ukip Claims Of Audience 'Bias'

Splashed on the Mail's front page.

31/05/2017 23:51 BST | Updated 01/06/2017 00:05 BST

The BBC has brushed off claims of bias during its high-profile leaders’ debate, with Conservative and Ukip supporters leading a chorus of disapproval.

The suggestion criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was jeered by the Cambridge audience while Conservative Amber Rudd and Ukip’s Paul Nuttall were given a frostier reception prompted complaints on social media.

From a former senior adviser to Conservative Cabinet ministers ...

 ... to Ukip leaders past and present.

The idea of BBC bias even landed on the Daily Mail splash.

Many journalists on Twitter seemed to suggest the story was based on this tweet by a journalist on a left-leaning magazine.

But that isn’t true, as the Mail’s report includes a quotation from former Tory Party leader, Iain Duncan Smith.

The ex-Cabinet minister said: “’Obviously there are questions for the BBC to answer … It’s quite clear there was an anti-Tory bias in the audience, which wasn’t there in the Channel 4 programme on Monday.”

The Mail also quoted ITV’s Political Editor. 

In any case, the BBC offered a robust denial.

A BBC spokesman said:

“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.

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