Protest over UKIP leader Nigel Farage's BBC Question Time appearance

Nigel Farage UKIP leader getting escorted out of Edinburgh pub after angry protest.
Nigel Farage: Another protest is planned over the UKIP leader's Question Time appearance.SWNS

Campaigners are planning to protest over UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s appearance on BBC Question Time in Edinburgh.

The politician is on a panel for the show alongside current Bradford West MP George Galloway, as well as representatives from the SNP, Labour and Conservative party.

During a previous visit to Edinburgh, Mr Farage was met with a crowd of angry protesters, arranged by the Radical Independence Campaign, and was barricaded inside a pub on the Royal Mile during an impromptu media conference.

On Thursday, he is due to appear on the BBC One programme alongside the SNP’s Angus Robertson, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and Labour MP Anas Sarwar.

Scottish Green Party co-convener Patrick Harvie had lodged a complaint with the BBC about Mr Farage’s inclusion on the panel when UKIP has a smaller share of the vote in Scotland than his party.

Liam O'Hare, a spokesman for the Radical Independence Campaign, said: "Neither Farage nor Galloway represent Scottish constituencies, and neither UKIP nor Respect have any elected representatives in Scotland. Their invitation to participate in Edinburgh Question Time ahead of other elected figures is tantamount to media bias. Nigel Farage is a bigot and a racist, and his views are not welcome in Scotland; a fact that has been consistently stated by the Scottish electorate.

"Why has the BBC invited Farage and Galloway to participate in the question time debate and not Patrick Harvie? It is clear that the BBC is prioritizing shock jock punditry ahead of facilitating a meaningful debate on the future of Scotland. This is being billed as an 'independence special' and should therefore reflect the debate properly.

"Now more than ever we need a real debate on what independence will mean for ordinary people - instead we are given cheap TV lacking in substance. It is shameful and RIC will be lobbying the BBC tonight to say as much."

Green co-convener Mr Harvie said: "Tonight's Question Time line up is particularly bizarre, and following a telephone discussion with the editor it is clear to me that this programme has been contrived to deliver sensationalist confrontation, rather than serious debate. The lack of balance is staggering and I know from comments we've received it's not just Green supporters who are alarmed.

"This situation is particularly unacceptable a week before the Scottish Parliamentary by-election in Aberdeen Donside, which should require particular attention to political balance. The BBC has shown serious misjudgement in allowing tonight's programme to go ahead and we look forward to meeting senior managers to discuss how they intend to rectify a situation that will have harmed the broadcaster's reputation for fairness."

The Question Time programme is being billed as a Scottish independence special and will include an audience made up of 16 and 17 year olds.

After being met with angry scenes during his last visit to Edinburgh, Mr Farage accused the protesters of being "absolutely vicious, racist and nasty about England, especially about me. Their behaviour was intimidatory, it was nasty."

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: "Tonight's programme aims to provide its unique audience of 16 and 17 year olds with as broad a range of political opinion as possible, while offering a UK wide audience at home a varied and interesting political and current affairs debate.

"Nigel Farage represents a party with growing UK support and their recent electoral gains since the 2010 general election makes them of interest to our audience. The Question Time panel is chosen carefully across the series and the Green party has appeared on the programme twice in the last four months. The Scottish Greens will be invited to appear on the programme in a future edition recorded in Scotland."

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