THE BBC has claimed it is acting in a “fair and impartial” way as it faced a fresh backlash for not featuring a single pro-EU UK MEP on Question Time in at least nine years.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith, president of a key group in the European Parliament, said it had again exposed the BBC’s “complete lack of balance”.

It came after a social media post highlighting the imbalance on the “flagship political debate show” went viral. A graph posted by senior Labour MEP Richard Corbett listed the 50 UK MEP appearances between January 2010 and July 2019.

Ukip MEPs have appeared 45 times, Conservative Brexiteer Daniel Hannan three times and Brexit Party MEPs twice.

Nigel Farage has appeared 23 times since the beginning of 2010 – with the most recent of these being under the banner of his new party.

No other MEP from any other party has appeared, meaning no pro-EU MEP has appeared on Question Time since the start of 2010 – the first date on which these figures were compiled.

READ MORE: People are sharing this incredibly damning Question Time graphic

The BBC has defended its approach as “fair and impartial”.

A spokesperson for the broadcaster said: “Political parties appear on Question Time in relation to their electoral support across the country.

“On the whole, each party’s represented by its most high-profile and influential politicians – whether MPs, MEPs, MSPs, peers or whoever.

“That’s both fair and impartial.”

Smith, the SNP’s longest-serving MEP and President of the European Free Alliance, said it was “deeply damaging” for the BBC.

The National:

He said: “It comes as no surprise that the complete lack of balance of the BBC has been exposed again.

“Question Time has a growing reputation for right-wing bias, and BBC bosses just bury their heads in the sand.

“And rather than admit it’s wrong, the BBC insists panel selection is fair. Yet all eight MEPs who have appeared on Question Time since 2010 have been hard-line, anti-EU Brexiteers. It is a huge embarrassment and deeply damaging to the BBC.

“Question Time’s relentless commitment to all-time favourite panellist Nigel Farage is in stark contrast to never having an MEP on the panel who supports membership of the European Union. It is totally unjustifiable.”

While no pro-EU UK MEP has appeared, Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness, of Fine Gael, has appeared three times in 2018-19.

Farage’s former Ukip deputy Paul Nuttall racked up 12 appearances over the same roughly nine-year period.

Louise Bours, Roger Helmer and Patrick O’Flynn were each on the panel three times as Ukip MEPs, and Steven Woolfe twice.

The most recent MEP to appear on the show was the Brexit Party’s Alexandra Phillips, on May 30.

Scottish singer Amy Macdonald revealed earlier this week that she had turned down a chance to appearance on the show, suggesting it was due to a “patronising” attitude towards Scotland.