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THE BBC faced accusations of “giving racists a platform” today following revelations that a woman who ranted against immigration on Question Time was a far-right activist.
Last Thursday, a woman sitting in the front row called on Britain to close its borders “completely” during a debate on chronic understaffing in social care.
She also inaccurately claimed that Britain was being “flooded” by immigration.
Twitter users outed the woman as Sherri Peach on Saturday, currently married to former National Front election candidate Roy Peach.
Far-Right Watch’s John O’Connell, who identified her, said she was “quite happy” to give her name and be interviewed during a rally in support of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson.
A photo of Ms Peach at the demonstration was circulating social media after the show aired, along with her other appearances at Britain First events.
Ms Peach was also a candidate for the National Front in Leyton, north-east London, in 1974 using her maiden surname Bothwell.
She was invited to the programme in Dorset by a BBC staff member and placed on the front row, according to Mr O’Connell’s sources.
A clip of her full rant was posted on Question Time’s twitter. Former social media manager for a BBC political debate programme Sam Bright warned that it “blatantly violated BBC editorial guidelines.”
Mr Bright said: “At the minute [Question Time is] built like an entertainment programme. It’s about clipping up extreme views and getting viral hits. The BBC needs to rethink.”
A spokeswoman from Stand Up to Racism told the Star, Ms Peach’s identity was “no surprise.”
“The BBC should stop trying to compete with Fox News and adhere to higher standards,” she said. “That means not allowing fascists to use Question Time as a platform for racist rants.”
A spokesperson for the show said the debate featured a range of views.
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