Monday 23 September 2019

Tory leadership debate sparks 31 complaints to Ofcom

The broadcast saw five candidates debate issues relating to Brexit.

The debate (Jeff Overs/BBC)
The debate (Jeff Overs/BBC)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The Tory leadership debate broadcast on BBC One drew 31 complaints to Ofcom, the watchdog has said.

Our Next Prime Minister was watched by more than five million viewers and the corporation said the hour-long broadcast from 8pm was the “best performing programme of the night across all channels”.

The complaints will be considered by the BBC in the first instance.

It is understood the majority were related to the programme over all, with just a few related to the selection of guests who asked questions.

An imam who asked the contenders about Islamophobia has been suspended from his mosque and duties at the school where he works amid controversy about his past comments on Israel.

Abdullah Patel has been criticised for past tweets in which he said “every political figure on the Zionist’s payroll is scaring the world about Corbyn”.

He also shared an image endorsing the relocation of Israel to the US as a way of solving the Israel/Palestine conflict.

BBC One’s broadcast, hosted by Emily Maitlis, saw five hopefuls in the leadership race, including Boris Johnson and now-eliminated Rory Stewart, battle it out in front of a live studio audience over matters concerning Brexit.

Sky News had previously announced plans to host a live head-to-head debate with the final two candidates.

It will be hosted by Kay Burley, but the date has not yet been announced.

It has also been reported ITV News will host its own leadership debate, but details are not yet known.

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