The BBC has been accused of anti-Brexit bias after moving Thursday’s Question Time show from Brexit-voting Bolton to Dulwich, South London, which is a hotbed of Remain voters.
Many on social media said the move to London ensured a pro-EU audience, and the panel was majority Remainer.
Local Labour MPs Rachel Reeves and Lisa Nandy have written to the BBC, and said: “Dulwich and West Norwood voted more than 70 per cent to remain, while the Bolton constituencies voted almost 60 per cent to leave.
“Given that the panellists were largely from London, we think the nation might have benefited from some non-London centric views on the programme.”
Twitter users agreed, with one writing: “BBC propaganda in full flow tonight. Disgraceful. #Questiontime Moved to remain heartlands in London from Bolton. 1 leaver on the panel and 4 remain.”
Another said: “Question Time was going to be in Bolton tonight – it’s been moved to London because of Brexit. Hmmmm a panel of remainers AND an audience of remainers. Well played #bbcqt”.
The panel was made up of four Remain voters – left-wing journalist Ash Sarkar, Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, Mairead McGuinness Vice President of the European Parliament and Conservative culture secretary Jeremy Wright.
The only panellist who supported Brexit in the referendum was Telegraph columnist and former editor Charles Moore.
BBC Question Time panellist Charles Moore interrupted the programme last night to complain of pro-Remain bias on the panel. Is Question Time biased against Brexit? pic.twitter.com/VbdWmJ7rJ5
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) April 5, 2019
He raised this during the show, asking presenter Fiona Bruce: “Can I ask you a question, Fiona? Because here I am and I am delighted and honoured to be here, but there is a panel of five and I am the only Leave supporter.”
Ms Bruce cut in saying: “You’re the only person who voted Leave, you mean?”
He replied: “I believe I am the only Leave supporter as well as a matter of fact, we can argue about that, but I am certainly the only person who voted Leave.
“And again and again on this programme, the balance totally fails to reflect the wider country.”
A BBC spokesperson rejected accusations of bias, and said in a statement: “The decision was taken at the start of the week when it was extremely unclear when and if crucial Brexit votes would be taking place.
“If there had been voting on Thursday, politicians would not have been able to get to Bolton.
“For a range of logistical reasons the decision had to be made early in the week.
“We are working with the venue in Bolton to find another suitable date and look forward to broadcasting there in due course.”