The BBC’s choice of one Question Time panellist is not going down well on social media

Isabel Oakeshott
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The BBC‘s choice of one particular Question Time panellist is not going down well on social media.

On 13 June, BBC Question Time tweeted the names of those who would be appearing on its programme the following day. Among them was pro-Brexit journalist Isabel Oakeshott:

Carole Cadwalladr

Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who has been at the forefront of exposing the Cambridge Analytica scandal, tweeted:

Read on...

Less than a week ago, the Observer had been getting ready to publish an investigation by Cadwalladr, detailing alleged links between Brexit campaign donor Arron Banks and Russian officials. On Friday 8 June, Cadwalladr laid out the allegations in an email to Banks, giving him an opportunity to comment before publication.

Then, Press Gazette reports:

Cadwalladr said she received a call from Oakeshott… the next day asking her to delay publication until Monday, saying she would hand over the material if she did so.

Later on Saturday, the story appeared on the Sunday Times website [paywall] citing emails shown to the newspaper by Oakeshott as the main source. The Sunday Times splashed on the story the next day.

It also emerged that Oakeshott had been sitting on the information for several months. She claims she planned to include it in a forthcoming book.

Not impressed

So, many people were not impressed with the BBC‘s choice of guests:

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie also spoke out:

The fact the BBC had previously put Oakeshott up against Cadwalladr on The Andrew Marr Show only seemed to make things worse:

But the BBC‘s decision wasn’t surprising to some:

No entitlements

People are also worried about Oakeshott’s past comments about benefit claimants and people using foodbanks. In a debate about the use of food banks, she once famously tweeted:

And in August 2017, less than two months after the Grenfell fire, she wrote:

While Oakeshott’s comments may not have been directly about the Grenfell tragedy, they clearly have connotations for the survivors – many of whom are on low incomes, meaning they need support to stay in the borough they call home.

So it’s no wonder some people questioned the BBC‘s decision to book Oakeshott on the anniversary of the tragedy:

Meanwhile, no one from the Grenfell community will be on the Question Time panel:

Shameful

Instead, the BBC has given Oakeshott a platform to spout her bile. No wonder the broadcaster’s decision has left a sour taste in so many people’s mouths.

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