Labour’s shadow Home Secretary described her Question Time appearance as a “horrible experience”. It follows on from a statement issued by her spokesman following Thursday’s show, in which he claimed the BBC was “whipping up” a “hostile atmosphere”. Writing in The i Newspaper, the Labour MP for Hackney South and Stoke Newington, said: “Fiona Bruce who has taken over from Dimbleby on Question Time does not appear to be well briefed.
“She got the polling for Labour versus 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 for a longer period overall.
“I was not allowed to respond to a blatantly abusive remark from the audience.
“I’m also told that she made unpleasant remarks about me to the audience before the programme was actually recorded, although the BBC has denied that ‘any of the panel was treated unfairly either before or during the recording’.”
By contrast, BBC journalist Andrew Neill was “supremely well briefed” and has always read “every poll finding, every blog, every newspaper” before programmes, Ms Abbott added.
She said: “Question Time’s editor seems more interested in entertainment than politics.
“In particular her holy grail seems to be clips of red faced men abusing politicians, that then go viral on Twitter.
“With David Dimbleby gone she is now off the leash and we are faced with the spectacle that you saw in Derby.
“As for Question Time itself, 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.
“And who could blame any young black and ethnic minority woman with an interest in politics and a left-of-centre ideology seeing the way I was treated on Question Time and deciding that politics is not for her?”
In an official statement issued by her office, Ms Abbott’s spokesman said: “We are appalled by the treatment of Diane Abbott on BBC’s Question Time.
“It was clear that a hostile atmosphere was whipped up, propped up by reports of inappropriate and sexist commentary in the audience warm-up session.
“A public broadcaster like the BBC should be expected to be a model of impartiality and equality.”
Labour has confirmed it has lodged a formal complaint with the BBC over Ms Abbott’s treatment.
A BBC spokesman said: ”We are sorry to hear Diane Abbott’s concerns over Thursday 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.”
Source : EXPRESS