The BBC has defended its vetting process for Question Time after a former Conservative MSP and a number of councillors appeared as part of the show's audience in Elgin.

Mary Scanlon, who served as a Conservative MSP for over a decade, appeared on the show, as a member of the audience. 

READ MORE: Viewers criticise BBC Question Time after former Tory MSP, Mary Scanlon, appears in audience 

Viewers took to social media after spotting Scanlon alongside a number of Conservative councillors. 

Responding to the criticism over the audience selection, a spokesperson for the BBC said: “Question Time does not bar people from its audience because they have held elected office or are political activists.


“There is a selection process to ensure a range of views are heard and last night’s QT audience included supporters of different political parties, including the SNP.”

The SNP MP Stewart McDonald was quick to point out that the MSP was part of the crowd tweeting “Why is former Tory MSP Mary Scanlon – 1999 to 2016 – pretending to be an audience punter on #BBCQT?”

Tory MSP Edward Mountain, replying to McDonald, said: "I think, as she is no longer an MSP, that she is just a voter. I also know she will have been through the audience vetting process."

MSP Jenny Gilruth asked: “Why is Mary Scanlon, former Tory MSP, being allowed to ask questions as if she’s a normal punter on #BBCQT? Outrageous.”

The application form for the programme requires prospective guests to say whether they have previously been on the show, and when.

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Guests must also reveal who they would be most likely to vote for in a General Election, how they voted in the EU referendum, and whether they are a member of a political party.

The BBC had come under fire before the show even, with accusations of a pro-Unionist panel – which featured Deputy First Minister John Swinney of the SNP, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine of the LibDems, Tory MP Bim Afolami Scottish and Scottish lawyer Eilidh Douglas, a Tory Brexiteer and Amnesty International UK vice-chair.