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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May, 2005, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
BBC stands by Galloway interview
BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman
Mr Paxman's adversarial style has often attracted complaints
The BBC is standing by Jeremy Paxman's election night interview with George Galloway despite receiving over 100 complaints that it was too aggressive.

The presenter asked the Respect MP, who won Bethnal Green and Bow from Oona King, if he was proud of ousting one of the few black women from Parliament.

Mr Galloway said the question was "preposterous" and soon walked out.

The BBC said Mr Paxman was justified in asking the question because a studio guest had just raised the issue.

'Pertinent'

The guest was former Labour MP Tony Banks.

BBC Head of Political Programmes Sue Inglish said: "Some people found Jeremy Paxman's line of questioning insensitive but, having reviewed the interview in the cold light of day, I do not agree.

"It was Mr Banks who brought up questions of ethnicity and gender.

"When Jeremy Paxman very shortly afterwards had a chance to interview George Galloway, the question he asked was one that many in the audience must at that point have had at the front of their minds: did Mr Galloway feel uncomfortable about unseating one of the few black women MPs?"

Ms Inglish said it was a "pertinent" question to ask and added that the Newsnight presenter was renowned for his "vigorous questioning" and so his directness would not have come as a surprise.

It was Mr Galloway who chose not to take the opportunity to respond, she said.

The former Labour MP instead challenged the Newsnight presenter to congratulate him on his victory.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch the interview with George Galloway



SEE ALSO:
Oona King denounces intimidation
11 May 05 |  UK Politics
Galloway to confront US accusers
16 May 05 |  UK Politics
Profile: George Galloway
12 May 05 |  UK Politics
Paxman v Galloway
06 May 05 |  Weblog


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