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BBC pulls Have I Got News for You episode because it featured Heidi Allen MP

By Paul Brackley

The BBC pulled Friday night’s episode of Have I Got News For You because it featured South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen, interim leader of Change UK, which is fielding candidates in the upcoming European elections.

Heidi Allen MP, interim leader of Change UK
Heidi Allen MP, interim leader of Change UK

The corporation said it had "specific editorial guidelines" during election periods that meant it would be "inappropriate to feature political party leaders on entertainment programmes" as it would not allow "equal representation" to be achieved.

Hat Trick, the production company that makes the satirical news panel show for BBC1, responded by tweeting: "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."

Ms Allen, who quit the Tory party to join the independent group of MPs that established Change UK, tweeted: "Maybe I'm just not as funny as Nigel Farage eh #hignfy @haveigotnews !? He's so funny, he seems to be on the BBC all the time!"

Some commenting on social media pointed to the fact that Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader who is now leader of the Brexit Party and standing for election as an MEP, made his 34th appearance on political debate show Question Time on Thursday night, although the show is part of the BBC's political output and also featured other party representatives, including Anna Soubry, another former Tory who is now a member of Change UK.

Mr Farage also appeared on Have I Got News for You on April 11, 2014, around six weeks before the last European elections on May 22, 2014. Ms Allen's appearance would have been broadcast less than a fortnight before the elections to the European Parliament, however, which will be held on May 23.

Many questioned why the BBC's editorial policy unit had only just realised the breech of guidelines though.

And there was even more consternation on Twitter from Have I Got News for You fans over what replaced it.

The BBC said it would broadcast the show featuring Ms Allen at a later date.

Read more

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