Diane Abbott accuses BBC of anti-Corbyn bias and launches stinging attack on ‘unfair’ Fiona Bruce over Question Time treatment – The Independent

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Diane Abbott accuses BBC of anti-Corbyn bias and launches stinging attack on ‘unfair’ Fiona Bruce over Question Time treatment – The Independent

Diane Abbott has accused the BBC of bias against Jeremy Corbyn and his top team following her latest appearance on Question Time, and launched a stinging attack on presenter Fiona Bruce.

The shadow home secretary has claimed she was unfairly treated by Ms Bruce and the BBC during Thursday night’s debate, particularly during discussion of voting intention polls, and that audience members were “whipped up” against her.

On Friday she complained that the broadcaster had legitimised the “mistreatment, bias and abuse” she faces as a black woman in the public eye after social media users and other Labour figures suggested she had been hectored during the programme, and made the butt of jokes beforehand.


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Now, writing exclusively for The IndependentMs Abbott makes the further claim that Ms Bruce made “unpleasant remarks about me” prior to filming, and accuses the new face of Question Time of not knowing her brief.

The programme has become “a political version of the Jeremy Kyle show” following the departure of veteran presenter David Dimbleby, she suggests, and could put off young women from black and ethnic minority groups from entering politics.

She writes: “Over a long political career I have appeared on BBC Question Time innumerable times, but I have never had such a horrible experience as I had in Derby last week.

“Fiona Bruce, who has taken over from Dimbleby as presenter on Question Time, does not appear to be well briefed. She got the polling for Labour vs Tory wrong.

“She (or her researcher) appears to have got their figures from a Conservative central office handout. Above all, it seems she is not afraid to appear unfair as a presenter.

“I was interrupted more than double the number of times that Tory MP Rory Stewart was interrupted, even though he spoke more times than I and for a longer period overall.

“I’m also told that [Ms Bruce] made unpleasant remarks about me to the audience, before the programme was actually recorded.”

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The Hackney MP wrote that she has “always been up for robust debate”, but made clear her distaste for the direction she believed Question Time was taking. She further accused the BBC of “treating Jeremy Corbyn and his ministers as if we are not legitimate political actors”.

She added: “There may be a market for a political version of the Jeremy Kyle show, but that is not exactly what the production company Mentorn was commissioned to make.”

During Thursday’s programme Ms Abbott was involved in a heated debate over whether Labour led the Conservatives in national opinion polls, with Ms Bruce and journalist Isabel Oakeshott both telling her she was wrong to say Labour was at “level pegging”.

Late on Saturday, the BBC tweeted a response. It said: “A YouGov poll published on the day of the programme suggested a lead for the Conservatives. Diane Abbott was also right that some other polls suggested Labour either as ahead or tied, and we should have made that clear.”


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A BBC spokesperson added: ”We are sorry to hear Diane Abbott’s concerns over Thursday’s edition of Question Time and we have contacted her team to reassure them that reports circulating on social media are inaccurate and misleading.

“Diane is a regular and important contributor to the programme. As we said earlier, we firmly reject claims that any of the panel was treated unfairly either before or during the recording.”




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