Abbott comments on BBCQT scandal – and it’s dynamite

Diane Abbott on last night’s Question Time

As the SKWAWKBOX reported earlier, last night’s BBC Question Time programme has become mired in scandal after audience members reported that the pre-show warm-up involved hostility and jokes about Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott – who suffers more vile abuse than any other female politician in the UK.

The programme itself picked up where the warm-up left off, to the outrage of viewers and Labour supporters – but the BBC dismissed the allegations out of hand.

We are appalled by the treatment of Diane Abbott on BBC’s Question Time.

Diane Abbott spokesperson


Diane Abbott, through a spokesperson, has now commented on the programme’s behaviour – and unlike the usual anodyne place-holder provided by many politicians, it was dynamite as she confirmed the issues with the programme.

The spokesperson said:

We are appalled by the treatment of Diane Abbott on BBC’s Question Time. It was clear that a hostile atmosphere was whipped up, propped up by reports of inappropriate and sexist commentary in the audience warm-up session.

A public broadcaster like the BBC, should be expected to be a model of impartiality and equality. The BBC cannot claim anything of the sort when analysis of the programme shows that the only black woman on the panel was jeered at and interrupted more times than any other panellist, including by the Chair herself.

The media must stop legitimising mistreatment, bias, and abuse against Ms. Abbott as a black woman in public life. The BBC should be ashamed that their programming is complicit in such behaviour.

A spokesperson for Diane Abbott


Well said Ms Abbott.

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51 responses to “Abbott comments on BBCQT scandal – and it’s dynamite

    • Forgive me if I interject, but in an interview on Channel 4 News on Wednesday, Andrea Leadsome said that the Tories were 6 points ahead in the polls, but she was citing a yougov poll a week earlier which was totally out of kilter with two other polls done AFTER the yougov poll, and ALL the polls done in the weeks beforehand:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_United_Kingdom_general_election#2019

      Funny isn’t it how it’s ALWAYS the yougov polls that have the Tories leading by 5 or 6 points (as with the latest one), and these people cite THEM. As no doubt the anti-Corbyn MSM do.

    • It seems very convenient that The Times has yougov do a poll for it once a week AND that the results practically always have the Tories 5 or 6 points ahead AND that Tory MPs and right-wing commentators and journalists then cite the yougov poll (but omit to mention WHO conducted the poll).

      I wonder if The Times ever gets to mention about the results of other polls? I doubt it somehow, or only very rarely.

    • Afterthought:

      AND Leadsom referred to “polls”, as in “the polls have the Tory Party 6 points ahead of Labour”, as opposed to saying “the latest poll (which would have been a lie) has the Tory Party 6 points ahead of Labour”, or “the latest yougov poll has the Tory Party 6 points ahead of Labour”. I didn’t watch QT on Thursday, but it would be interesting to see how Isobel Oakeshot phrased it. And just for the record, it was in fact Tuesday evening that Leadsom was interviewed on Channel 4 News, and NOT Wednesday, as I said above.

      Anyway, I just came across the following whilst trying to check something out regarding the Daily Mail:

      https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=256840121655521&id=206794096660124

    • So I’ve just spent about thirty minutes wading through last Thursday’s QT (on Iplayer) looking for the relevant bit, and it happens at 43 mins 30secs, and Oakeshot – as I was pretty certain WOULD be the case – refers to “polls”. But she embellishes the falsehood, and doesn’t just say “the Tories are 6% ahead of Labour” (or “Labour are 6% behind the Tories”). Directly addressing Dianne Abbot (and with an appropriate tone) she says:

      “I am bewildered why Labour are so keen for a general election when you are so far behind in the polls, and YOU think you’re gonna win.”

      And then, when Dianne is trying to respond, she mentions 6%, and then repeats what she said saying “you’re miles behind”, and when Dianne says Labour or not, Fiona Bruce says “you’re behind Dianne”.

      The point is of course that she/they KNEW that Dianne would at some point be saying – in relation to the Brexit fiasco – that what Labour would like is a general election, and Oakeshot was ready with her pre-planned – and completely false – interjection, and Fiona Bruce then backed up the falsehood.

      We should all be sending/emailing both Bruce and the BBC the wikipedia list of poll results, and asking for a public apology to Dianne AND to the Labour Party, along with an admission that what Oakeshot said was a complete falsehood. And, come to think of it, ask Channel 4 News to correct the falsehood that Leadsom disseminated as well. And I’m absolutely certain that the two episodes didn’t just happen by chance, and we should all be on the lookout for repeat performances of the falsehood, and leave a comment on SB if you do see one.

      Could the Tories be planning another GE in the near future?

  1. The Establishment seem especially rattled by Labour just lately. It seems they’re prepared to stoop to all kinds of unsavoury and uncivilised behaviour. The BBC’s vile treatment of Diane Abbott in particular is totally unacceptable.

    The first B in BBC clearly stands for ‘Biased’ rather than ‘British’ these days.

  2. Err….Shouldn’t it be: ”Well said Ms Abbott’s spokesperson?”

  3. I’m really glad Diane’s people have called this out. Despicable treatment that has no place in the BBC!

  4. I couldn’t believe Fiona Bruce’s nasty tone when Diane interrupted her during Question Time.
    ‘TALKING’, she spat out, when the whole point of the program is to debate and discuss and everybody was doing it. Bruce is the wrong presenter as she’s not impartial and can’t control her emotions. Remove her at once.

  5. Totally biased by the BBC they need to hang there heads in shame .everyone should boycott the Tv licence. And complain on there official website people power will prevail.

  6. “Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott – who suffers more vile abuse than any politician in the UK”

    I assume that’s a reference to the Amnesty study – but that was limited to women. https://www.amnesty.org.uk/online-violence-women-mps

    In the Buzzfeed study which included women and men Jeremy Corbyn, Sadiq Khan, Jeremy Hunt, Tim Farron and Boris Johnson all got more abuse online than Ms Abbott. https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomphillips/twitter-abuse-of-mps-during-the-election-doubled-after-the

    Obviously the methodologies of the two studies are different – Theresa May came second in the Buzzfeed study and wasn’t in the top five in the Amnesty study – and I don’t know which is more reliable but I think it would be better if you mentioned that the Amnesty study is confined to women.

  7. I have just signed a petition calling on the BBC to apologise fior this. It is also my opinion that if they still take their claim of impartiality remoltely seriously then Ms Bruce should be looking for another job.

      • Having signed and shared it on twitter I could not get back to the original link, but it was organised by Momentum and could probably be accessed from their website.

  8. Linda Cross, you are absolutely correct in your opinion of the unsuitability of Fiona Bruce. I watched the first programme , and right from the start Bruce was interrupting, entering into arguments with the panellists and demonstrating a total lack of impartiality.
    She is a dreadfully incompetent Chairperson. Such a position is to act as a go between and facilitator. She failed on both these counts, mainly due to her ego and arrogance getting in the way.
    The BBC , if it’s to retain any credibility should get rid of Bruce.
    She really is no good.

    • The BBC long ago lost any credibility.

      Our time will come.

      Then the BBC had better change!

      • One reason the BBC has a vested interest in spouting Establishment propaganda to prevent a Labour govt is that if they fail to stop him, they know Corbyn’s going to sort the media out in this country once and for all and that should start with a clearout in the BBC news dept.

        They should then all have to re-apply for their jobs. The same procedure should also be employed at the DWP…

  9. It was an absolute disgrace. Obviously something had gone on prior to the programme going on air as the audience who seemed revved up chattered and cackled at Diane Abbot. It was as if someone had revved them up to be abusive and indeed racist! It’s not the first time a figure from the Left has been ambushed by a hand picked.BBC audience. Time this was sorted.

  10. With all the outrage about Anna Soubry being accosted outside Parliament why is the BBC allowing the same thing to happen inside it’s studios?

  11. I’ve just looked at the Momentum video clip. As kevin fitz says, it’s more than apparent that the audience have been primed. I am sickened by the sheer dishonesty of Bruce in reiterating and endorsing the wildly inaccurate comments, the lies, that preceded her own: “labour are miles behind”. This was clearly designed to ridicule Abbot and it had its intended effect. The audience were almost mob like in their enjoyment of what was taking place. I tend not to watch MSM these days, but this must count as one of the most blatant and dishonest pieces of bullying I have ever witnessed on a current affairs programme, not to mention blatant misreporting.

    • I threw my television out over ten years ago because I couldn’t stomach the thought of giving any more of my money to the BBC. It’s not just the BBC though.

      I could feel, quite strongly, just how effectively my television was broadcasting wall to wall right-wing propaganda. Some subtle and some not so subtle. Benefits Street by Channel 4 angered me but the last straw was the relentlessly and extreme level of violence against women.

      After getting rid of my television I slowly began to notice a feeling of relief, as if a toxic co-dependent relationship had ended.

      I could never go back to having a television. I hate television. Whenever I’m exposed to one I’m finely tuned to its raison de’tre: to subjugate the working class.

      The ruling class understands the power of television, which is why I suspect Germany forces its citizens to pay for a television licence whether they own a television or not.

  12. What puzzles me is…do the BBC honestly believe that this can go on forever? Does no-one have the intelligence to think “what happens when Labour get back in power?”. Or do they believe that these last few years of bias will be ignored if they toady up to whatever party is in power? Surely someone at the Beeb has a tiny awareness of foresight?

  13. We need to democratise the BBC, let license payers elect a board and regional boards.
    Will put the rump fed yuppies in their place – no taxation (license fee) without representation.
    The political morons running the BBC are becoming an embarrassment – goodbye politcal imbecile yuppies and your sense of entitlement.

  14. What do you expect when Cameron placed 14 out of 15 of his own people of conservative views big time !! They don’t want to talk about the Russians and Chinese have sole charge of the TV and media this country at the moment is a dictatorship

  15. Pingback: Abbott comments on BBCQT scandal – and it’s dynamite | sdbast·

  16. The brass balls of the bbc!!??

    Charlie Stayt on bbc breakfast (talking to someone or other over the paper headlines about boris’ lies over Turkey in the EU) said:

    WE (Meaning the bbc, that was clear as day) put politicians under more scrutiny these days…-

    For a start, it was CH4 broke the story last night; Stayt was going on about a newspaper headline…And there is ZERO about it on the bbc teletext pages OR the bbc news home page at time of posting.

    Effin’ p**ss-take.

  17. It strikes me that venting anger at the BBC’s News and Current Affairs is only that.

    What is needed is a properly focused and rigorously evidenced academic analysis of its political coverage. It’s been done on specific issues at times, but this requires wider scope.

    Any takers, I wonder?

  18. … and, as an addendum, I reckon that simply focussing on individual presenters (no matter how much that is justified in the case of people like Humphrys) is again beside the point. It’s a systemic problem – about how a certain narrative is created and solidified.

    This struck me forcibly during the ‘antisemism’ scam. Although I might have been shouting at the box, I don’t reckon that, in most cases, individual presenters were deliberately distorting the narrative. They had simply absorbed the Irraeli/right propaganda narrative that dominated the Westminster bubble, and never even thought to look at evidence that was in plain sight.

    Of course, like other media outlets, the BBC has been frightened off accurate reporting on the Middle East by the viscousness of the Israeli Hasbara initiative – look how Jeremy Bowen was hounded for attempting unbiased reporting.

    Although such obvious mechanisms aren’t on display in other areas, the net result is a consensual shutting down of alternative information and viewpoints. It’s the Westminster metropolitan dogging club rather than a directly imposed narrative.

  19. BBC propagandist host on flagship BBC British establishment propaganda show spouts disinformation and revs up audience… what’s new?

    The disgusting, long standing vitriol spouted at and about Diane Abbott is a symptom of the deeply racist British establishment mind set.

  20. So sad that skwawkbox have resorted to headlines like this. I love Diane Abbot and the BBC have been absolutely dreadful but headlines like “it’s dynamite” are very silly. The Canary has lost a lot of support because of this silly tactic. Please don’t go the same way.

      • No – it is hyperbole. If you’re on the side of the angels, you don’t need to shout like the Bum or the Bile – make the difference a virtue. The alternative to the propaganda press isn’t a mirror image.

      • If you notice it becoming a pattern, let me know. Otherwise I’ll do as I’ve always done – keep headlines lowkey except where I think they genuinely merit otherwise.

  21. I am not a fan of Diane Abbott & have disagreed with her & her mode of address many times, but this time she was dignified, crystal clear in her delivery & a credit to the Labour Party. It has taken only 2 programmes for Fiona Bruce to show the public what she is & what her personal allegiances are. Time for serious consideration, by a future Labour Party Gov’t. of the role of public service broadcasting in a healthy democracy.

    • I agree 100%. I think she is somewhat of a liability to the party – not on account of race or sex might I add, but of past gaffes. The worst being her “white people divide and rule” comment, which was racist, however in the context of the media banging on about “the black community” and “black community leaders”, I can say why she might have responded in that way – clumsy at best. She rightfully got a bollocking from Ed Miliband at the time and in any adult world that would be case closed.

      That said the standard she is held up to is far greater than that of members of the Tories, and I do not for one minute deny that she gets a load of racist and sexist bile daily, and that when she is on form, she can argue well and remains popular with her constituents.

      A politics panel programme has no business inciting the crowd to jeer at her like it is a Jim Davidson comedy tour.

      That said I wish we’d see a little more of Rayner on the telly – a far more credible figure, a solid performer, a genuine socialist, and a great voice for women and working class people in politics – and a future leader in my book.

      • “I agree 100%. I think she is somewhat of a liability to the party …”

        No where near as much a liability to the party (and general population) as the neoliberal/neocon Blairite/Brownite/imperialist factions. At least Abbott is a Socialist at heart not a self serving, warmongering, Rentier class supporter/enabler.

  22. I too, witnessed the disgraceful treatment meted out by Fiona Bruce at BBCQT…It is not her place to agree or disagree with panellists and that includes Diane Abbott. Ms Abbott behaved with the utmost dignity, whereas most people might have got seriously annoyed~ I would have, for one..If Bruce cannot separate her personal feelings from her professional,
    and very well paid job, then she should resign forthwith. But she could have done Ms Abbott and the Labour Party a big favour…I feel that people who were not keen on Diane Abbott before, might now warm to her.

  23. The Bastard Broadcasting Corp needs gutting , filleting and the swamp that it is needs draining.
    Covered up for Savile all those years , no excuses , start at the top and work the way down , out and replace

  24. ‘Responding to the allegations, the BBC said: “We are sorry to hear Diane Abbott’s concerns over Thursday night’s edition of Question Time and we have contacted her team today to reassure them that reports circulating on social media are inaccurate and misleading.’

    So, those people who tweeted about it are lying, then?

    Not like the bbc to call the general public liars.

    …After all, anyone without a Tv licence is a liar. They MUST be – Or else why do they have the outsourced crapita goons knocking on people’s doors demanding to be let in to see if people have a Tv or not? Why do they send their threatening letters telling people they know where they live if their address doesn’t appear on their list?

    That’s yer BBC, peeps = Pederasts, Extortionists, Embezzlers, Propagandists, Scum.

  25. When we are elected, I would like it to be known that I am volunteering personally to go into Broadcasting House and sack every Neo-Liberal chinless privileged under-achieving nonentity working in this den of fake news and disinformation. Furthermore, I will do it for no salary and with a big smile on my proletarian face.

    I will say to everyone of them,”Treat this as an opportunity, close the door on your way out”.

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