THE BBC has been warned it must “rectify a gross imbalance” in favour of Jo Swinson’s party – but refused to comment on the issue.

Across five of the broadcaster’s main political shows throughout September, the LibDems had more than double the number of SNP appearances.

The party’s 22 guest slots, to the SNP’s 10, were partly explained by the LibDem conference being held during the month.

The SNP are now calling on the BBC to match its coverage of that conference when Nicola Sturgeon’s party holds its own, beginning on Sunday in Aberdeen.

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Keith Brown, the SNP’s depute leader, said: “The BBC’s great excitement with the LibDems is an odd thing. The perennial General Election losers of UK politics being on the BBC over twice as much as the SNP – who have twice as many MPs than the LibDems – is a curious situation.

“This selective storytelling which benefited the LibDems on these programmes was mirrored at times by BBC network news coverage in September too.

“Last month the LibDems had their conference. Now, this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday the SNP’s conference is on in Aberdeen and we will be looking to the BBC to begin to rectify this gross imbalance.”

Brown also suggested that the BBC was “masking” the true number of Tory-aligned figures appearing on Newsnight.

The National revealed in July that almost three-fifths (59%) of politicians on Newsnight from February up until that date were from the Tory party.

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While the Tories had 266 spots and Labour 124, the SNP had just 3% of all appearances by politicians, with a total of 13.

Boris Johnson’s party still topped the September Newsnight tally, with 30 appearances, but Labour sat closer on 20.

Brown said: “At first glance it looks like the BBC’s key political programmes have woken up to the fact that being dominated by Tory politicians is totally disproportionate – but the inclusion of an army of former Tory SPADs on Newsnight is a notable if rather dull development which masks the figures.”

The BBC declined a request to respond to Brown’s remarks.

Research by The National in September also examined the numbers of guest appearances on Andrew Neil’s Wednesday evening show, Andrew Marr, Newsnight, Politics Live and Question Time.

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The Tories had a total of 55 slots, with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour behind them on 42.

The Brexit Party appeared a total of seven times – only three fewer than the SNP, despite the SNP being the third-biggest party at Westminster and having one of its MPs, Joanna Cherry, at the centre of the high-profile Supreme Court case on Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament.

Northern Ireland’s DUP had three appearances, Change UK two and both Plaid Cymru and the Greens one.

This means that of all politicians appearing as guests on the five flagship BBC political shows on television, 7% were from the SNP, 16% were from the LibDems, 29% were from Labour and 38% were from the Tories.

Just 3% of Newsnight’s total guests – when including those who are not elected politicians – were from the SNP.

That figure was 9% for the LibDems and 23% for the Tories.

The show faced a backlash last month when a discussion on the state of play for the UK’s political parties featured no SNP guests and did not mention the party once in an eight-minute segment.

The graphics appearing on a screen behind presenter Emily Maitlis and her guests showed signposts with each party’s logo.

The SNP’s sign was placed out of shot next to the Brexit Party and DUP, being visible only during a single wide shot.