The Tories have refused to put a Front Bencher forward to appear on tonight Question time as they were unhappy with the panel offered.
In his speech, The Trouble with Trust, the BBC director-general Mark Thompson called for greater transparency in the BBC’s dealings with political parties:
“There are steps we should take to make our own dealings with politicians and other public figures more open to scrutiny. When A refuses to debate with B or sets other conditions before an interview or debate, there’s often a case for letting the public know – for example, via the Editors’ Blog…”
So here goes. This week, for the first time in my three years as executive editor of Question Time, we were told by Downing Street that a cabinet minister would only appear on the programme if another member of the panel was replaced. According to No 10, a senior member of the cabinet was available to do Question Time but only if Alastair Campbell was replaced by a member of the shadow cabinet.
Can anybody explain this behaviour? Are the Tories attempting to Manipulate the BBC? Are they scared of Alastair Campbell? Are they trying to force the BBC into compromising their impartiality? What the hell are they doing?
It looks like they’re throwing their toys out the pram from here.