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Nigel Farage Criticizes BBC and Channel 4 for Question Time and Andrew Parker

Nigel Farage has ended a bad-tempered weekend on the campaign trail attacking a pair of national broadcasters and saying his party will “campaign vigorously to abolish the licence fee.”

The Reform UK leader and friend of Donald Trump yesterday said he would boycott the BBC over audience bias on its Question Time leaders’ special, which took place Friday night. Meanwhile, he is continuing to insist that Channel 4 hired an actor to spout highly offensive language for a Channel 4 News investigation on Reform campaigners, and the party has said it has reported Channel 4 to the UK’s electoral commission.

Farage wrote on X yesterday that he had been invited but refused to appear on the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg Show because of a “dishonest Question Time audience.”

“Our state broadcaster has behaved like a political actor throughout this election,” he said. “Reform will be campaigning vigorously to abolish the licence fee.”

Farage, who became leader of Reform several weeks back and stepped down from his GB News presenting job, took umbrage with what he deemed a critical, biased audience, one of whom called him a racist and another asked why his party attracted extremists.

Farage said he won’t appear on the BBC again until the national broadcaster apologizes but a BBC spokesman refuted his claims. “Last night’s Question Time audience was made up of broadly similar levels of representation from Reform UK and the Green Party, with the other parties represented too,” it said in a statement. “There were also a number of people, with a range of political views, who were still making up their mind.”

The BBC has long been challenged for the make-up of its Question Time audiences. During a previous election debate that took place at the start of June, it said it received 264 complaints from people who “felt the audience had a left-leaning bias.”

Farage’s issues with the BBC were informed by his mega fallout with Channel 4.

Having spent a weekend having to disown a number of Reform candidates and campaigners for making offensive remarks on the doorstep, Farage remains insistent that Channel 4 paid an actor to pretend to be a Reform campaigner and spout offensive language during a C4 News investigation that aired late last week and can be watched in full below.

The campaigner in question, Andrew Parker, was filmed using the ‘P-word’ to describe Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, referred to Islam as a “cult” and suggested army recruits should shoot asylum seekers. Essex Police has said it is “urgently assessing” comments in the program “to establish if there are any criminal offences.”

Sunak has since criticized Parker’s remarks directly but Farage and Reform are crying foul play and have said they have reported Channel 4 to the elections watchdog over what they describe as “scandalous election interference.”

Channel 4 has pushed back. “We strongly stand by our rigorous and duly impartial journalism which speaks for itself,” a spokeswoman said. “We met Mr Parker for the first time at Reform UK party headquarters, where he was a Reform party canvasser. We did not pay the Reform UK canvasser or anyone else in this report. Mr Parker was not known to Channel 4 News and was filmed covertly via the undercover operation.”

Farage’s attack on the broadcasters comes as the election campaign becomes ever more bad tempered, buttressed of late by the gambling scandal and a moody debate between Sunak and the opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer on the BBC last Thursday.

British voters head to the polls this Thursday and Labour remains the overwhelming favorite to win.

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Source: Deadline