BBC to review vetting process after criticism of Tory leadership debate

Image caption The candidates answered questions set by members of the public

The BBC is to review whether “additional steps” should be taken when vetting guests for political debates.

The broadcaster was criticised over those given a chance to ask questions during its televised debate between candidates in the Tory leadership race.

It emerged that one guest had shared allegedly anti-Semitic tweets – he was later suspended from his job.

A BBC spokeswoman said “vetting and transparency” of guests for political programmes would be reviewed.

“We have a long history of producing successful debate programmes and this was no different,” she said.

“We did however, adopt a different format for this programme and we will look at whether there are additional steps we might take on vetting and transparency should we repeat it in the future,” she added.

On Wednesday the broadcaster defended its vetting process after tweets by Imam Abdullah Patel came to light.

The BBC said Mr Patel re-activated a previously inactive Twitter profile in the aftermath of Tuesday’s debate, and had not been visible to its researchers before then.

He would not have been selected if it had been “aware of the views he expressed”, the broadcaster said.

Mr Patel, who asked the leadership candidates about the Islamophobic rhetoric faced by members of the Muslim community, was later suspended as deputy head of a girls’ school.

Separately, the BBC faced criticism on Wednesday for choosing as a guest on the programme a solicitor who has previously worked for Labour and once stood as a councillor for the party.



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