From Question Time: Does the panel accept racists? - The Guardian: "...The BBC's case for allowing Griffin to appear on Question Time is challenged by New Statesman political editor, James Macintyre, a former producer on the programme. 'Question Time are being dishonest about having him [Griffin] on. They've always wanted him on and I went to meetings where I had to argue against that position. They lost the battle with management then and now, after two years' lobbying, they have won.'
Question Time's editor, Ed Havard, did not respond to requests for an interview to confirm or deny these charges, but Bailey tells me: 'There was no battle with management. Every year we would ask whether smaller parties such as the BNP or the Green party had enough popular support to warrant appearing on the show. Until they won the seats in June we decided they didn't warrant time on the show according to our guidelines.'
Macintyre disagrees: 'It's not about the election victories, that's an excuse. My worry is that the show is going to give the BNP spurious legitimacy.'
That theory received support last month when two BNP apparatchiks (one of them party publicity director Mark Collett) appeared on Radio 1's Newsbeat and, during a two-minute interview, were able to claim, unchallenged, that black London-born England footballer Ashley Cole was not "ethnically British" [the BBC did not reveal their officers of the BNP, just introduced them as two young people.]