Labour’s Dawn Butler’s “strange” complaint: BBC should have invited me on before BNP’s Griffin

Poor Dawn Butler, the Labour MP for Brent South, whose plight – on expenses, her voting record and media outbursts – Lib Dem Voice has covered before. Now she is making the news for lambasting the BBC for inviting BNP leader Nick Griffin onto Question Time.

What’s wrong with that, you say, no more than Peter Hain did? Ah, but Dawn’s complaint is not so much that Mr Griffin appeared, as that she didn’t. Here’s an excerpt from the rather extraordinary letter, written by Dawn, I mean, by Brent’s Labour council group leader Ann John, and 19 of her colleagues:

The two main candidates for the Brent Central constituency are Dawn Butler and the Liberal Democrat MP for Brent East, Sarah Teather. We note that Ms Teather has appeared on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ on at least four occasions since the 2005 election and on no less than three occasions this year! (19 February 2009, 9 July 2009 and 8 October 2009).

By contrast, Dawn Butler, MP has never been invited to appear.

We have long detected a bias towards the Liberal Democrats in the BBC’s output but we are truly alarmed that Nick Griffin will now appear on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ before Britain’s first elected black woman government minister. We wonder if the bias against Dawn Butler is symptomatic of what Greg Dyke once called ‘a hideously white organisation’.

We hope that you will remedy this imbalance and invite Dawn Butler to appear on your programme.

Dawn’s complaint has drawn a withering response from the BBC:

The suggestion that Question Time does not feature panellists from a wide range of backgrounds simply does not bear scrutiny.

“Diane Abbott, David Lammy, Sayeeda Warsi, Priti Patel, Chuka Umunna, Shahid Malik, Shaun Bailey, Adam Afriyie, Baroness Amos and Paul Boateng have all appeared. Other panellists include the Rt Revd Nazir Ali, Archbishop Sentamu, Rageh Omaar, Shappi Khorsandi, June Sarpong, Trisha Goddard, Beverley Knight, Tim Campbell, Hardeep Singh, Salma Yaqoob, Yvonne Thompson and Bonnie Greer.

“Sarah Teather is part of the Liberal Democrat cabinet team and every Labour panellist in the current series has also been at cabinet level.”

As the Harrow Observer notes, Dawn is “a junior member of the whips office”, and its editorial is scornful of her complaint:

Whatever the rights and wrongs of letting Nick Griffin have his airtime, it’s fairly bizarre of Brent Labour to say Brent South MP Dawn Butler has missed out in his place. As the Corporation points out, its record for inviting speakers from every background can’t really be faulted.

“So to impy that it put on Griffin at Butler’s expense is strange at best.”

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  • “we have long detected a bias towards the Liberal Democrats in the BBC”.

    Presumably ‘the BBC’ in this case extends only to Liberal Democrat party broadcasts, or those people are insane.

  • Dawn couldn’t be worried about her chances at the GE could she?

  • Croslandist 24th Oct '09 - 4:57pm

    I also think it’s disgraceful the way that yet again the Swedish Academy has discriminated against black people by failing to award Dawn Butler the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • At least if Dawn Butler ever made it onto QT she wouldn’t end up being the 7th speaker called by Dimbleby (the fate of most LD representatives).

    Swivel-eyed monomaniac now leaving ……

  • Martin Kinsella 25th Oct '09 - 2:17pm

    Dawn Butler is new Labour lobby fodder and is running scared. Sarah Teather is going to make mincemeat of this useless politico at the next GE and she knows it.

    Butler continually makes herself look a complete and utter gormless idiot.

    Roll on 2010.

  • Donut Hinge Party 28th Oct '09 - 8:17pm

    Imma let you finish, Dawn, but Diane Abbot was the best female black MP of all time

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