SNP depute leader Keith Brown has called upon the BBC to refer itself to broadcasting regulator OFCOM to allow them to hold an independent investigation after the latest edition of Question Time, filmed in Elgin, featured five well-known Moray Conservatives in the audience.

Forres councillor Claire Feaver was spotted alongside Elgin councillor Frank Brown. Also in the crowd were Jane Lax, the Moray Conservatives Honorary Treasurer and Ian Lax, a Tory campaigner.

READ MORE: The BBC know we’ll complain about bias – they just don’t care

Also in the audience was Mary Scanlon, who served as a Tory MSP in the Scottish Parliament for more than 10 years, who was given around a minute of airtime.

SNP figures quickly took to Twitter to question how Scanlon had been able to earn selection for the audience.

The National:

MSPs Jenny Gilruth and Paul Wheelhouse, along with Westminster colleague Stuart McDonald MP all raised issue with the broadcasters vetting process.

The BBC had previously said that Question Time ‘‘does not bar people from its audience because they have held elected office or are political activists".

“There is a selection process to ensure a range of views are heard and last night’s QT audience included supporters of different political parties, including the SNP.”

Keith Brown said the broadcaster “has a duty not mislead its audiences. The fact is the BBC’s flagship debate programme, week after week, has elected politicians and political activists masquerading as ordinary members of the public. It seriously undermines the whole ethos of the programme.

READ MORE: Keith Brown slams BBC over Question Time 'stuffed with Tory plants'

“Question Time from Elgin took one audience contribution from someone, pretending to be a member of the public who in fact was a Tory MSP for 17 years. And it took another audience contribution from an individual who presented herself as a Remain voter to attack the SNP on Thursday evening and on Friday appeared in the Conservative party election broadcast.

“At any time there would be serious questions to answer about credibility, but just days away from the European elections these matters strike at the very heart of the BBC’s ability to fulfil its statutory and elections obligations.

“The ethos of Question Time is that politicians answer questions posed by members of the public. We have been telling BBC bosses for months that they have a credibility issue with the audience selection process.”

Brown slammed the BBC’s performance and said that there was “no excuse for this nonsense” and that “the BBC has failed to stop it”.

He then suggested that BBC bosses used “data privacy” as an excuse to “refuse to answer” the SNP’s “reasonable questions.”

“Following a similar incident in February, we pleaded with the BBC to be transparent about the processes around audience selection for Question Time, instead they’ve been defensive and refuse to admit mistakes,” he said.

 “Enough is enough. The BBC should refer itself to Ofcom and allow them to hold an independent investigation. That’s the only way we’ll get to the heart of whether the individuals identified in the Elgin audience lied on their application forms or whether the BBC knowingly allowed these individuals to masquerade as members of the public.”