Iain Dale Clarifies Listener's Misbelief Over Pulled HIGNFY Episode With Heidi Allen

11 May 2019, 17:11 | Updated: 11 May 2019, 17:20

Iain Dale breaks down a misconception about election impartiality rules after a an episode of Have I Got News For You was pulled because it featured Change UK leader Heidi Allen.

Iain Dale picks out a "fundamental misunderstanding" that there is on broadcast regulations during election periods after an LBC listener accused the BBC of 'picking and choosing' when it comes to impartiality rules across its programming.

"The point about Gerard Batten being on This Week or Nigel Farage being on Question Time is that those programmes are on every week and they have a range of politicians on from week to week," he said.

"So for example, on Andrew Neil's sofa he'll have Miranda Green who is a Liberal Democrat one week, he'll have John Nicholson from the SNP the next week, Gerard Batten from Ukip the next week.

"The fact is, those programmes can do that, where as Have I Got News For You doesn't do that, they don't have a politician on every week.

"They certainly don't have a leader of a political party on every week, so you have to differentiate between those kinds of programmes which automatically will have political balance because of the people they invite on and the fact they have different politicians who can challenge each other and an entertainment programme which is not set up to do that.

"You can not compare Have I Got News For You with This Week or Question Time."

Heidi Allen was a guest on the pre-recorded episode of Have I Got News For You
Heidi Allen was a guest on the pre-recorded episode of Have I Got News For You. Picture: Getty

It comes after the broadcasting corporation pulled an episode of entertainment programme Have I Got News For You which featured Change UK leader Heidi Allen as a guest.

In a tweet minutes before the programme was due to air, the show's production company said: "Sorry everyone. The BBC have pulled tonight's edition of #HIGNFY - no, we didn't book Danny Baker.

"We booked Heidi Allen, a member of a party no-one knows the name of (not even the people in it), because the Euro elections, which nobody wants, may or may not be happening. Sorry."

The BBC said that the episode will broadcast at a later date, with suggestions it will be after the European Parliament elections on May 23rd.

In a statement, the corporation said: "The BBC has specific editorial guidelines that apply during election periods.

"Because of this it would be inappropriate to feature political party leaders on entertainment programmes during this short election period, which does not allow for equal representation to be achieved.

"So we will not broadcast the scheduled episode of HIGNFY featuring Heidi Allen, leader of Change UK. We will look to broadcast this episode at a later date."

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