THE BBC’s Question Time is being told to “provide answers” after a failed Ukip candidate with links to loyalist organisations, who has appeared in the audience of the show four times, claimed he was bussed in by producers.

Billy Mitchell (pictured below) said he was told to come on the show when it broadcast from Motherwell last Thursday, because the area strongly supported the SNP. He won a huge round of applause from the audience for his minute-and-a-half-long rant attacking the campaign for independence.

The National:

But eagle-eyed watchers recognised the man in the orange jacket from his contributions to the show when it came to Stirling in 2013, and in 2016, and then from in Kilmarnock in 2017.

Mitchell, whose Facebook page seems to suggest he spends most of his time in Russia, is associated with the Livingston True Blues loyalist flute band.

He’s also used his social media to post support for the Ulster Young Militants, the youth wing of Unionist terrorist organisation, UDA.

He’s no fan of catholics, using the word “taig” in one online comment, and criticising those who “tolerate Papish festivals” in another.

Yesterday, in an interview with The Times, Mitchell said the invitation to appear on the show came after he was asked to be in the audience for the pilot of Debate Night, the new Question-Time-like programme on the BBC’s soon to be launched Scottish channel.

When he called to clarify details he was then invited to appear on both shows.

He claimed he was only asked if he was a member of a political party.

Mitchell also said the BBC sent him “offers for tickets all the time”.

READ MORE: Failed UKIP candidate claims he was personally invited on to Question Time

The BBC told The Times that the programme did occasionally invite people to ensure a balance of views but denied that this had happened with Mitchell.

Marion Fellows, the SNP MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, was furious at the corporation’s misrepresentation of the North Lanarkshire town, and demanded answers.

She told The National: “I was disappointed with the Question Time programme from Motherwell. The point of moving the programme across the UK is to give it a local flavour.

“That has to come through, which most definitely did not happen. Motherwell and Wishaw voted for independence in 2014 and has twice returned an SNP MP.

“My constituents voted to remain in 2016 – the audience used in the Motherwell programme did not reflect how the majority of people are in the area.

“While it is important for a balance to be struck in national broadcasting, I do not believe Question Time strikes that balance often and tends to lean towards right-wing panellists.”

This she said, did not mean that “every viewpoint should be afforded a platform.”

Fellows added: “Those of the far right who use sectarian language and attempt to sever the social bonds of our communities do not deserve a platform at all.

“The BBC must provide answers. Mainly on how someone with such views could make it into the Question Time audience so often and whether or not direct invitations were made to people known to producers.”

READ MORE: BBC refuse to answer The National over Question Time debacle

The National asked the BBC six questions: How do you justify going out of your way to insert Mitchell, who is well known for making bitter rants about the SNP and independence, into an audience which is supposed to be genuinely representative of Motherwell?

How do you justify giving him airtime over people who live in the local area and want a rare chance to hold politicians to account?

Whose decision was it to invite him on to the show?

On how many other occasions have you added somebody into a QT audience so they can deliver a particular political agenda?

What is the procedure for selecting a Question Time audience – and did this break your own rules?

Will you be issuing an apology to the people of Motherwell for misrepresenting them on a UK-wide channel?

A spokeswoman for the BBC said that strict rules on data protection meant they were “not able to talk about individual cases.”

She added: “Although there are no hard and fast rules about how many times someone can appear in a Question Time audience, we want to allow as many people as possible the chance to be part of the programme so we would not normally allocate a seat to someone if they had appeared recently.

“There is a detailed application process, with a request for photographic identification and every audience member is spoken to individually, sometimes by phone.

“We continually review our systems and processes in this area.”

Speaking to The Times, Mitchell said he “been subjected to a campaign of intimidation, abuse and death threats that’s been set in motion by SNP politicians indulging in dog-whistle politics.”

Mitchell picked up 34 votes when standing for Ukip in Coatbridge.