BBC Any Questions: Chris Mason discusses election result
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A furious row over BBC bias erupted last night when Any Questions host Chris Mason was forced to intervene during the live panel programme. The audience at the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe, Devon, jeered and booed mentions of Boris Johnson and particularly heckled panellist and former Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe. Mr Mason was forced to intervene when the audience booed Ms Widdecombe’s claim that the UK’s vaccination success was “thanks to Boris”.
When asked about the heroes and villains of the pandemic, Ms Widdecombe said that some of villains were those who tried to spread doom and gloom about the country.
She continued: “We have got the most successful vaccination programme in Europe. We have one of the most successful in the entire world. That is thanks to Boris.”
At this point, the audience loudly jeered, momentarily silencing Ms Widdecombe, who eventually responded: “But! Listen to the but!
“The vaccine procurement was down to Boris who early on ordered vast quantities of vaccines that hadn’t even been approved and that is why we had our vaccines so early.”
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Following this, Mr Mason said: “Thank you Ann. Conservatives secured 56.6 percent of the vote here at the last general election, I should just point that out.
“Our audience is entirely self-selecting and not necessarily representative of the broader town or area, but very much welcome here.”
Viewers online tweeted that the audience was notably “feisty” and “not big fans of Widdecombe”.
One person said: “I think I preferred #bbcaq without the constantly clapping/booing/heckling audience.”
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Another remarked: “Poor quality this week. Rent-a-mob audience. A big turn off.”
Others noted: “I sense the audience doesn’t have many who voted for Ann Widdicombe as their MEP.”
One listener echoed this: “People on here just want to ‘hate upon’ Widdecombe.”
Earlier in the show, Ms Widdecombe clashed directly with audience members during over the teaching unions’ opposition to the Government’s education recovery plan.
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Teaching unions have dismissed the Government’s proposals to help school children catch up on lost teaching as a result of the pandemic as “half-hearted.”
However, Ms Widdecome poured scorn on the position of the teachers’ unions much to the anger of some BBC audience members.
The comments triggered a chorus of boos and heckling from the audience.
Ms Widdecombe fired back: “Well you know to articulate your opposition by shouting rubbish possibly means you need a few lessons.”
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