I DON’T envy the editor of Question Time, they’ve got an extremely challenging job right now.

There is intense scrutiny on new host Fiona Bruce and the BBC following allegations that the flagship programme legitimised racism and sexism towards Labour MP Diane Abbott on last week’s programme.

Then there’s the claims circulating about a “hostile atmosphere” being “whipped up” in the audience warm-up session. Either way these are serious and potentially very damaging charges which cannot be brushed aside.

But here’s the thing, the BBC’s response – a public non-apology – has done nothing to address the issue. And this dismissive attitude is damaging both Question Time and the BBC’s reputation.

This attitude and intransigence is, I am sorry to say, something that pervades the tone of Question Time in my correspondence with the programme editor.

In the SNP we have deep concerns over the fairness of representation of Question Time panels.

READ MORE: SNP calls for BBC's Question Time to show better party representation

Question Time claims that there isn’t a formula for selecting the panel. Yet week after week on the panel there is: one (sometimes two) Tory politician(s); a Labour politician; a hard-right Brexiteer; a leftish/alternative commentator; and someone else.

Now the SNP may be the third-biggest party at Westminster, the second-biggest party in the UK by membership and the party of government in Scotland for nearly 12 years, but we only get occasional slots in the “someone else” seat.

The third party point is important. In the 12 months prior to the 2015 General Election the LibDems – who were then the third party – appeared on 22 out of 41 episodes of Question Time. Yet as the third party at Westminster the SNP were last year on less than a third the number of times the LibDems appeared in their final 12 months of being the third party.

Our key question to Question Time is simple – what is the formula and how has it changed?

The editor’s dismissal of this has so far amounted a nonsensical point that the LibDems were in government in 2015 – and that they didn’t work there then.

Another simple fact that we’d be keen to get agreement on from Question Time is their recognition that the UK is not a two-party state. It was ironic that a senior BBC manager tried to dismiss our concerns in a public letter in the same week that they had two Tory MPs on one Question Time panel.

And then there’s Nigel Farage. The BBC get very touchy when

you mention his name. Which is odd given he has appeared, on average, more than anyone else on Question Time in its 40-year run. With 32 appearances in 19 years Farage has been on an average of 1.7 times per year.

The grossly disproportionate level of exposure that Farage has enjoyed since the year 2000 on Question Time has undoubtedly helped propel him – and his views – into the mainstream and, arguably, played its part in getting the UK into the constitutional mess that it finds itself in today.

My last correspondence with Question Time was a fortnight ago when I suggested we meet to discuss the concerns we have raised, I’ve not heard back yet. Given the public spotlight on the programme this week, the public should know the Labour Party are not alone. I expect the programme editor is somewhat busy right now in the midst of a scandal, but I look forward to hearing from them soon.

Erik Geddes is the head of broadcast media for the SNP