Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 14:52 UK

BNP 'may appear on Question Time'

Nick Griffin
BNP leader Nick Griffin was elected to the European parliament in June

The BBC has confirmed it may invite British National Party leader Nick Griffin to appear on a future edition of the Question Time programme.

A spokesman said the BBC was bound by the rules to treat all political parties with "due impartiality".

Talks are being held with other parties, some of whom have previously refused to share a platform with the BNP because of its policies on race.

But the BBC says no parties can dictate who should not be included on the show.

No BNP representatives have yet appeared on the BBC's flagship panel show.

Our audiences - and the electorate - will make up their own minds about the different policies offered by elected politicians
BBC chief political adviser, Ric Bailey

But the corporation has reviewed its position following the far-right party's success in last June's European elections, in which Mr Griffin was one of two BNP candidates to be elected as an MEP.

The BBC's chief political adviser, Ric Bailey, said the BNP had now "demonstrated evidence of electoral support at a national level."

He said this would be "reflected" in the amount of coverage the party received on BBC programmes such as Question Time.

Mr Bailey added: "The BBC is obliged to treat all political parties registered with the Electoral Commission and operating within the law with due impartiality."

Last time I looked, this was a democracy. The BNP won seats, they are a legal and official party.
Maledici, London

The corporation issued its statement after the Observer newspaper claimed the BBC had "forced" the Labour Party to consider its policy of not sharing the same platform with the BNP.

The paper said a number of senior Labour figures, including Home Secretary Alan Johnson, had been approached by Question Time and that the party was now reviewing its position.

Mr Bailey said: "We are in talks with the parties on 'Question Time' which could feature Nick Griffin.

"It's worth noting that we often have discussions with people about who else is on the panel, but no parties can dictate who should or shouldn't be included."

He added: "Due impartiality is achieved both by ensuring appropriate scrutiny for each party and by the appearances of a range of politicians across a series of programmes.

"Our audiences - and the electorate - will make up their own minds about the different policies offered by elected politicians."

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Observer Question Time: Can Labour find a bruiser to take on BNP? - 2 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Question Time's BNP opportunity - 3 hrs ago
New StatesmanNick Griffin may be joined by senior Labour figure in BBC debate - 25 hrs ago
Sky TV BBC Blasted For BNP Invite - 27 hrs ago
Telegraph Confront the BNP - 28 hrs ago
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