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Diane Abbott says BBC’s Fiona Bruce still to apologise over Question Time row

UK News | Published:

Labour lodged a complaint with the broadcaster following Diane Abbott’s appearance on the show.

Fiona Bruce as host of Question Time

Diane Abbott has criticised Question Time host Fiona Bruce following an appearance on the BBC show earlier this year.

Speaking to a Morning Star fringe event at the Labour Party conference, Ms Abbott said she believes former host David Dimbleby “was fairer” than current presenter Ms Bruce.

Labour lodged a complaint against the BBC after the shadow home secretary said she was treated unfairly on the programme in January.

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Diane Abbott spoke at a conference fringe event (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

At the time, Ms Abbott said she was repeatedly interrupted, with Ms Bruce stepping in to correct her, wrongly, over the latest Labour polling figures.

The BBC has since acknowledged Ms Abbott was right about the polling figures, but Labour said it wants an on-air apology.

At the fringe event – which was entitled “The Media War on Labour” – the audience booed and hissed after Ms Abbott said: “I had an interesting experience with Fiona Bruce and Question Time.”

The senior Labour MP said she had been on Question Time with its previous presenters Robin Day and David Dimbleby.

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She added: “I did it under Robin Day, that was a long time ago now. I did it under David Dimbleby very regularly.

“But David Dimbleby was fairer, in my opinion, than Fiona Bruce, and David Dimbleby did not wind up the audience against me before the programme went on air.

“And I have to say Fiona Bruce has yet to apologise.”

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In a tweet at the time, the BBC press office said it had reviewed the footage about the polling.

The tweet continued: “A YouGov poll published on the day of the programme suggested a lead for the Conservatives. Diane Abbott was also right that some other polls suggested Labour either as ahead or tied, & we should have made that clear.”

Later, at the same fringe event, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said a Labour government would go ahead with a “Leveson part two” inquiry into the press and media.

He added: “We’re going to make the people who own these papers pay their taxes.

“We’re going to make them be responsible with Leveson part two – we’re going to make them responsible for their actions.

“And yes, we’re going to build an alternative media – as various people have said here – we’re going to encourage co-operation.

“We’re going to encourage the democratic control and mandate of the media itself.”

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