The BBC has come under fire over the weekend for inviting BNP leader Nick Griffin on to the political discussion show. Former Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane told the Daily Mail the move was an ‘irresponsible gimmick'.
However, Diffusion PR MD Daljit Bhurji defended the BBC's decision to invite Griffin on the show.
‘In a democracy the BBC's decision is the right one and mainstream political parties should not shy away from using Question Time to challenge Nick Griffin and tackle the issues which make some people vote BNP.'
Wolfstar MD Stuart Bruce concurred that the BBC had made the right decision. 'The BNP is winning votes from disillusioned non-voters and disaffected working class Labour and Tory voters.
'Their messages have resonance and the only way to defeat them is by exposing them. Attempting to censor them actually gives them more power on the doorsteps as they can say 'this is the truth ‘they' don't want you to hear. The three main parties will defeat this by not being afraid to debate with the BNP and expose them for what they are.'
However, Band & Brown head of public sector Simon Francis warned MPs not to get distracted by the BNP's appearance on the show.
‘Politicians shouldn't be afraid of debate, but there is a concern that they will allow themselves to be distracted by the BNP's presence or simply try to rubbish their arguments with rhetoric rather than highlighting the very serious consequences of their policies. A clear strategy for tackling the threat needs to be decided and implemented - across the political spectrum.'
Last week Sky News issued a challenge to party leaders to appear in a debate in the run-up to the election.