There’s a new row about bias on Question Time.

On last Thursday’s episode in Dudley, left-wing columnist Owen Jones appeared on a panel discussing knife crime, Brexit and anti-semitism in the Labour Party.

After the show, Jones was surprised to learn an audience member who questioned him about West Midlands Police spending was allegedly a Conservative activist.

And he found another picture of the man, who Jones claims is Richard Tasker, with home secretary Sajid Javid.

First things first, the man's question was a really weird one – as Fiona Bruce noted, Owen Jones isn’t responsible for how the police spend their money.

But so far, this isn't much of a story.

One Conservative activist ended up in the Question Time audience and asked a strange question.

Then, someone sent a picture of two other activists who asked questions on the episode in a different picture with Javid.

And then another activist was discovered.

And another…

After Jones' thread started getting attention on Twitter, the BBC Press Team stepped in to offer an explanation by directing him to the show’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

On that page, the BBC writes:

People apply to be in the audience for Question Time via the website and by phone and producers get in touch to ask questions on their previous voting record and future voting intentions, whether they have party political membership and also how they voted in the EU Referendum.

This is to ensure a range of views are represented in the audience.

Most importantly, it points out that impartiality is not decided by the make-up of each episode's audience but by the general political views of audiences over the whole series.

As with the make-up of the panels, Question Time is aiming to achieve due impartiality in the membership of the audience across the series as a whole, rather than being confined to an exact mathematical formula for each programme.

So in theory, there could be episodes where five Labour activists all ask questions to the panel.

But that answer didn’t satisfy Jones or Dudley’s Labour group, who were angry that only one Labour member was present in the audience to their knowledge.

Examples like this help fuel the belief that the BBC is biased against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party and left-wing causes in general.

That belief is also balanced by those on the right who claim the BBC is too left wing, particularly on Brexit.

Arguments that the BBC is biased are used by both sides of the political spectrum, often without clear evidence, and claiming that this episode is proof of bias is essentially a conspiracy theory without further information.

But having five active Tory members ask questions in the same episode is not a good look, even when it happens by chance.

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