YOU’VE got to hand it to the BBC, they don’t make life easy for themselves. During Question Time on Thursday, the panel took a question from a furious-looking woman in the audience, who asked if Mark Carney and the BBC should accept that the UK is leaving the EU, and get behind Brexit instead of “deprecating our nation’’.

It inevitably turned into a discussion on whether the BBC was biased, something that we’ve heard debated often in Scotland, and now see increasingly in England, too.

In response, Jacob Rees-Mogg referenced a dubious Sun “scoop” which apparently evidenced the Andrew Marr Show demonstrating bias in its balance of pro Remain/pro Leave interviewees. In an interview with The Sun about the story, Rees-Mogg said claimed the figures demonstrated a “deep-seated bias’’ at the BBC against Brexit.

The audience lined up to agree with him, with one young man even suggesting that the BBC deliberately chose clever people to speak for Remain and less intelligent people to speak for Leave. There’s a sly dig at Nigel Farage if I ever heard one.

Question Time, too, has faced accusations of bias over the years. There is always room for improvement in the composition of their panels and audience, but they will never please everybody.

For every accusation of liberal-lefty leanings, there are other complaints about the prominence they afford Farage and the role the programme has played in inflating his influence and amplifying his rhetoric. There are regular calls for the format to be changed so as to make it a more nuanced and useful political discussion show. In my view, they could start with reducing the number of people on the panel, and putting fewer questions to them so there is more time to give a thoughtful answer. We could also manage with fewer one-sentence hot takes from the “gentleman at the back”. The panel shouldn’t be comprised exclusively of politicians and journalists, but surely we can all agree that we don’t require a token comedian every other week?

Question Time would certainly benefit from a minor re-jig and refresh but in truth, many of the gripes about the programme are more of a reflection on our current political climate, than anything the producers or researchers could be deemed to be getting wrong.

The angry, sound and fury exchanges we’ve come to associate with Question Time are widely replicated throughout our political discourse. Distrust, misinformation and politicians peddling misleading statements are all rife. Which is why it’s a bit of a cheek for the likes of Rees-Mogg and Farage to bleat about BBC bias.

Bombastic Boris and his cabal of merry mischief-makers capitalised on falsehoods throughout the EU referendum campaign. It was their currency, and they cashed in on it to persuade the electorate to vote Leave. They wilfully tossed aside reality in favour of pointed insinuations, dog-whistle politics and spin.

That’s politics. Murky, damaging, regressive politics, but politics nevertheless. But when you employ such tactics, you don’t get to complain when people point it out. You don’t get to promise £350 million to the NHS and then get snarky when the BBC asks you when it will materialise.

You don’t get to claim that leaving the EU is as easy as an Eton boy becoming prime minister and then greet because the BBC reports the chaos of the negotiations thus far. You can’t stack the deck, steal your opponent’s chips and piss all over the roulette table and then sue the casino for chucking you out. And you certainly can’t complain when people don’t buy into your delusion, be it the BBC or anybody else.

We’re in a political climate where “fake news” is as regularly attributed to false information as it is to journalists pointing out facts or asking tough questions.

It seems to me the only way Question Time and the BBC can avoid accusations of bias from Brexiteers is to not mention Brexit at all.

Perhaps they should just play God Save The Queen on repeat whenever they get the urge to check in on how the negotiations are coming along. The BBC must work at gaining back the trust it has lost among the public. Its image has taken a hit and the frustration felt is real for many. But we can’t allow any politician to cynically exploit that breakdown of trust for their own agenda.

Politicians are largely responsible for much of the ramped-up anger, divides and polarisation we are currently experiencing.

In taking a different approach, Question Time could become an antinode to that – a much-needed raft to sail back to the calm waters of reasoned debate and good-faith discussion. Such an approach would probably spark more accusations of bias in some quarters but at least they’d be tackling it head-on.