THE BBC invited Scotland In Union members to apply to be part of Scottish “Question Time” – but nobody at any of the major pro-independence groups, The National can reveal.

Members of the public can apply online to be in the audience of Debate Night in Edinburgh, which will air on the new BBC Scotland channel for the first time on February 27.

An email was sent yesterday from Scotland in Union (SIU) to all its members with details of how to apply to be part of its debut episode. Several National readers were worried that the hardcore Unionists might be sneakily trying to fill up the audience with anti-independence campaigners.

But The National understands that the BBC had directly contacted SIU about the new show, asking them to make their supporters aware of the application process.

READ MORE: Question Time's angry Unionist threatens to 'blow the lid on the BBC'

We asked the BBC if they could tell us which pro-independence organisations had been contacted.

In response, the broadcaster only confirmed to The National that various “charities, organisations, community groups and political parties across the spectrum” are made aware of the application process.

We asked the BBC again which independence-supporting organisations had been contacted.

They simply said: "We appreciated The National retweeting the web address where the public can apply to be on the programme."

Progress Scotland, Women For Independence, Business For Scotland and the Scottish Independence Convention all confirmed to us that they had never been contacted.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Independence Convention said: “If the BBC were to contact us, we’d be delighted to participate.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We’re delighted that interest in Debate Night is building across the political spectrum.

“The programme team make various charities, organisations, community groups, and political parties across the spectrum aware that the application process is open.

“We only ever advertise that the process is open, that all applications come through the BBC online form and are considered in exactly the same way. Potential audience members for Debate Night are asked a range of questions on the big issues.

“We also take into account other important considerations such as the gender, ethnic and socio-economic mix of the audience to make sure we properly reflect modern Scotland."

We understand that all of the main Scottish political parties were made aware of the application process for Debate Night.

The show’s online application form asks people for their views on Brexit and Scottish independence, and which parties they have recently voted for – but not which political groups they are a member of.

A spokesperson for Scotland In Union said: “We hope the new show is a success and reflects the diverse opinions in Scotland, with the full range of political viewpoints adequately represented.”

It comes after a row over Unionist bias in the Question Time audience in Motherwell earlier this month.

READ MORE: Question Time faces furious backlash over audience bias

The National revealed that despite North Lanarkshire returning a Yes vote in 2014, Unionist audience members spoke for 3:32, with pro-independence contributions totalling 53 seconds.

One of those made aware of how to apply to the pilot episode of Debate Night was Billy Mitchell, the Unionist audience member who ranted at SNP minister Fiona Hyslop for more than a minute in Motherwell.

The BBC has confirmed that the pilot episode of Debate Night will not be aired, which is not unusual.

READ MORE: BBC confirms we'll never see controversial Scottish 'Question Time' episode