After all the controversy sparked by an audience member on the most recent edition of BBC Question Time, where a number of totally untrue claims were made about migration, population, the education system, languages used in the NHS, and whether the country was “sinking” under people “flooding in” from elsewhere, we have the serious claim that someone connected with the programme has let through one of the far right.
One enterprising Tweeter made the connection between the angry but ignorant and dishonest audience member and someone who had demonstrated in support of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson. Was it the same person? It appears it was, and John O’Connell of Far Right Watch had more.
“If the woman on the left is the woman on the right, FRW can assist. Left is Sherri Peach, nee Bothwell, mostly connected with Britain First, married to former National Front Election Candidate, Roy Peach”. He added “And before you attack us for 'doxxing', at the demo where she was photographed she was quite happy to give her name and be interviewed. Thus, perfectly in order”. Further confirmation came soon afterwards.
One Tweeter found a video of Ms Peach on YouTube, where she confirmed her name and sounded, well, like the Question Time ranter. O’Connell had another sighting to add: “And here she appears again, front and centre, in one of our own pieces from last year - the 'Britain First Fake Flag Burning' post”. You can see that post on Facebook HERE.
Another Tweeter noted “Looks like she was also a National Front candidate”. Indeed she was. Twice, back in 1974. O’Connell claimed “Further confirmation from multiple sources that this London National Front woman was invited on to the #bbcqt (in Dorset) by #bbcqt staffer Alison Fuller-Pedley and placed front row. She stayed in a local hotel. Bill paid by a third party, as yet unknown”. Ms Fuller Pedley works on the show, but not for the BBC.
If true, that puts Mentorn Media (the company that produces Question Time, and also The Big Questions) in one of those Very Difficult Positions. It puts the BBC in a yet more difficult position. Worse, the way the rant was clipped up and distributed using the Question Time Twitter feed has run into further criticism.
As Sam Bright of Scram News has told, “So I used to run the social media accounts of a BBC political debate programme. This post blatantly violates BBC editorial guidelines”. Do go on. “If run properly, Question Time should inform people and (in theory) contribute to healthy, democratic debate. At the minute it’s built like an entertainment programme. It’s about clipping up extreme views and getting viral hits. The BBC need to rethink”.
And he had this warning to add: “I would like to put on record though that I think the BBC is a phenomenal institution. The overwhelming majority [of] journalists work their arses off to produce quality, impartial programmes. They just need to dump Question Time, in its current format at least”. They also need to explain the presence of Ms Peach.
Recently, the talk about Question Time has not been merely about those participating, but the programme itself, and most notably its fitness for purpose.
If the programme becomes the story, it is finished. I’ll just leave that one there.APPEAL The Legalballs Fund: I made a mistake. Now I need to raise £16,500 to cover a legal bill. You can chip in to help me HERE - all help is gratefully received. Thanks for reading this far!