THE BBC has come under fire for pulling the latest episode of Have I Got News For Youover fears having Change UK leader Heidi Allen as guest host would breach election impartiality rules.

The BBC said it was "inappropriate to feature political party leaders" before the European Parliament elections on May 23 as it did not allow for "equal representation" of views.

The BBC One comedy quiz show, which features Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, tweeted shortly before the pre-recorded programme was due to air on Friday to say it had been withdrawn.

Following the announcement, Allen, who left the Conservatives alongside colleagues Anna Soubry and Sarah Wollaston earlier this year to join the new party, demanded an explanation.

Retweeting a post that mentioned Nigel Farage appeared on the show in the build up to the 2014 European elections, the MP wrote: "Maybe I'm just not as funny as Nigel Farage eh!? He's so funny, he seems to be on the BBC all the time!

"An explanation would be appreciated, not least to acknowledge the hard work of the entire crew who worked diligently to put the show together."

An episode of Would I Lie to You was shown on BBC One instead.

The news follows outrage over Nigel Farage's 33rd appearance on Question Time. He will be standing as an MEP for his Brexit Party while Allen is not one of Change UK's MEP candidates.

READ MORE: BBC has explaining to do over record Farage Question Time appearance

In a tweet, Have I Got News For You's official account said: "Sorry everyone.

"The BBC have pulled tonight's edition of £HIGNFY - no, we didn't book Danny Baker.

"We booked Heidi Allen, a member of a party no-one knows the name of (not even the people in it), because the Euro elections, which nobody wants, may or may not be happening. Sorry."

It later said: "BBC issues urgent advice not to look at pictures of Heidi Allen in case she influences Euro election result."

A Have I Got News For You source said: "The BBC told us late this afternoon that they had decided to pull the show. This was because Heidi Allen was on the panel, and, in their judgement, we're officially in an election period. And she's officially a party leader.

"To be fair, you can forgive the BBC Editorial Policy Unit for having overlooked that fact until now (including when they came along to the recording last night).

"We tried everything we could to get the BBC to broadcast it. We even offered to blur Heidi Allen's face and replace her voice with an actor. Apparently that "wasn't helpful".

"It was a cracking show, and everyone at Hat Trick is sorry you're not going to see it tonight."

Twitter users branded the decision "a disgrace" and questioned the BBC's decision-making process.








Broadcasting regulator Ofcom's election rules state, among other things, that neither candidates in elections, nor representatives of those candidates, are allowed to "act as news presenters, interviewers or presenters of any type of programme during the election period".