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January 21, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:23am

Labour file complaint with BBC over Diane Abbott’s Question Time appearance and request show’s warm-up footage

By James Walker

The Labour Party has filed an official complaint with the BBC after Diane Abbott claimed a “hostile atmosphere” had been “whipped up” against her ahead of her Question Time appearance last week .

The party has requested footage from the show’s warm up, when some audience members allege remarks were made at the Shadow Home Secretary’s expense before the programme went live from Derby.

Abbott’s office released a statement on Friday saying “analysis of the programme shows that the only black woman on the panel was jeered at and interrupted more times than any other panellist”.

The BBC rejected claims that Abbott had been treated unfairly before or during Question Time, and labelled allegations from Twitter users who claimed to be in the show’s audience “inaccurate and misleading”.

A spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear Diane Abbott’s concerns over last night’s edition of Question Time and we have contacted her team today 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.”

Labour also took issue was also taken with new host Fiona Bruce’s claim that Labour was “definitely” behind in the polls – despite some showing the Opposition ahead of, or level with, the Government.

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Addressing the polling issue, the BBC News press team tweeted: “We’ve reviewed what was said re polling on BBC Question Time.

“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.”

A Labour Party source told the Guardian: “We want to see the warm-up footage because of these claims from audience members and we want an on-air apology over the polling.”

Press Gazette has also confirmed with a Labour Party source that it has complained to the broadcaster and requested warm-up footage from last week’s show.

The Jeremy Corbyn-supporting Momentum campaign launched a petition on Friday last week demanding that the BBC apologise to Abbott. 

It has collected more than 23,000 signatures at the time of writing with a 30,000 signature target.

Picture: Phil Noble/Reuters

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