THE SNP appeared on BBC political shows fewer times in April than the LibDems and only as many times as both Change UK and the Greens, Sunday National research has revealed.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said it was evidence the broadcaster had fallen back into its “bad old ways” after a more representative showing in March.

Across Victoria Derbyshire, Andrew Marr, Newsnight, Politics Live and Question Time, politicians from his party appeared only seven times.

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Despite having only 11 MPs to the SNP’s 35, the LibDems scored eight appearances.

The Greens, with one MP, and Change UK, with 11 MPs, were both given seven slots on the flagship BBC political shows.

Brown said: “The BBC has slipped back into its bad old ways.

“After an improvement in March, SNP appearances in April on these programmes have fallen away again.”

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Referring to Ofcom’s criticism last week of the BBC for a 2017 interview with Alex Salmond over Andrew Neil’s presentation of education statistics in Scotland, he added: “This latest research comes in the week where one of the BBC’s flagship political presenters has been found guilty of misleading viewers with made-up claims about the SNP government.

“And quite why the LibDems are ahead of the SNP in appearances in April on these programmes is bizarre. We are, after all, the third largest party at Westminster and the second largest party in the UK in terms of membership.

“The UK are in an election period; BBC bosses need to get a grip. The way it’s going, the BBC is eroding yet further trust it has with viewers in Scotland.”

Asked to explain the appearance figures, a BBC spokesperson said: “We are committed to providing fair representation for all parties across our political programming, which includes radio, TV, and online, and not just the small selection of TV programmes highlighted here.”

The broadcaster also cited the local elections, which were held on May 2, as part of the reason for the disparity, and pointed to its BBC Parliament coverage of the SNP’s conference.

The Tories topped the BBC’s monthly totals for April, with 72 slots. Labour came in second with 48.

Ukip politicians had three appearances across the shows, the DUP one and the Brexit Party one.

Plaid Cymru, the Welsh pro-independence party which has four MPs, did not have a single appearance. Across March, the SNP had been on the BBC’s major political shows a total of 15 times – Change UK, then The Independent Group, had 11 slots and the LibDems 5.

At the time, Brown said it had shown the BBC was “rumbled”, with the rise in its appearances coming after The National reported that not one of 66 politicians invited on to Newsnight in February was from the SNP.

There were 271 guest slots in total in April, with 121 of the slots going to guests who were not representatives of a political party.

The LibDems had more appearances than the SNP on Victoria Derbyshire, Question Time and Andrew Marr – with only Newsnight featuring more politicians from the latter.

The BBC also faced criticism last month for its coverage of the First Minister’s speech setting out plans to move forward with legislation to hold a second independence referendum.

Its new channel, BBC Scotland, aired the snooker world championships rather than the speech, despite that competition also being broadcast on BBC2.

Parts of Nicola Sturgeon’s Holyrood address were aired later on Politics Scotland, which interrupted the snooker an hour after she began speaking, but significantly cut down.