MP Denis MacShane, the former president of the NUJ, has described the move to invite BNP leader Nick Griffin on Question Time as a "disgraceful BBC stunt".
MacShane, writing on the Guardian's Comment is Free, says: "Question Time is not about rational debate but a ping-pong of point-scoring and gimmicks for cheap applause. Some of the audience will snarl at Griffin, some will cheer, when he denounces the number of foreigners in Britain or damns the EU. In fact, the only winner will be the BNP vote-bank."
He adds: "This is not about democracy but about the BBC losing its sense of moral balance and editorial integrity. The BBC, rather than the Daily Mirror and Searchlight, should be exposing Griffin – not boosting his insatiable ego."
MacShane urges Gordon Brown to make clear that no Labour minister or MP will appear with Griffin on Question Time "to validate this disgraceful BBC stunt". He concludes: "All democratic parties should make clear that if Griffin appears on Question Time, David Dimbleby can have him to himself."