A Cabinet minister makes last-minute efforts to prevent Griffin’s inclusion
20th October 2009: The BBC is under renewed pressure over its decision to invite British National Party leader Nick Griffin on the Question Time.
Anti-fascist groups reiterated their demand that the corporation should reconsider Griffin’s inclusion after "racially-termed" insults were made against his panellists Baroness Warsi, the shadow communities minister, and black playwright-cum-author Bonnie Greer.
With Griffin and Greer all set to come face to face on the BBC One programme Question Time, a cabinet minister too is making last-minute efforts to prevent his participation.
The invitation to Griffin has been shrouded in controversies since the beginning. Rough estimates suggests the expenditure of policing the event could run to tens of thousands of pounds, with anti-fascist protesters already making clear their plans to blockade BBC Television Centre, in White City, to prevent Griffin from entering the building.
Griffin is expected to find himself facing tough questions, with Greer ready to take him on the programme.
The Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has shot off a communiqué to the corporation warning it will run a "serious risk" of a legal challenge, if it allowed Griffin to participate.
In the communiqué to the BBC’s director-general, Mark Thompson, Hain said the corporation would be offering coverage to an illegally constituted party by offering Griffin a place on the panel.
Even as the BBC maintained its decision to invite Griffin was made to fulfill its obligation to offer impartial coverage after the party won two seats in the European parliament in June, Hain has written the approach is unreasonable, irrational and unlawful.
Anti-fascist groups too reiterated their stand that the corporation should reconsider Griffin’s inclusion after "racially-termed" insults were made against his panellists Baroness Warsi, the shadow communities minister, and Greer.
Anti-fascist group Searchlight alleged the BNP uses racial language by describing Bonnie Greer as a black history fabricator and smearing Sayeeda Warsi. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the decision to invite the BNP on to Question Time in the first place, it is another thing to start abusing fellow guests in racial terms. Surely the BBC cannot ignore this, a spokesman said.