THE BBC have “shown themselves up as the liars they are”, a young SNP activist has said after an outrageous interview with the broadcaster.

Young Scots for Independence members Steven Campbell, 22, and Laura Pollock, 20, were appearing on Nihal Arthanayake’s Radio 5 live show from the SNP conference in Aberdeen.

Campbell and Pollock were told they would be asked what they were “looking forward to and hoping to hear from Nicola Sturgeon’s speech” later on Tuesday, and so agreed to a chat.

Instead, they were “ambushed” with an interview more fitting for a Cabinet Secretary, with the presenter pressing them on issues as diverse as mental health provision and education statistics in Scotland.

LISTEN: Here's the interview with SNP youngsters BBC say was 'cordial and fair'

Campbell said the experience had made him begin writing a resignation letter in his role as YSI Lothians convener, feeling he had embarrassed the party. However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent him a private message of support on Twitter after hearing the interview.

The National: Laura Pollock has been a member of the SNP since November 2018Laura Pollock has been a member of the SNP since November 2018

Despite being told they would only be asked about Sturgeon’s speech, the presenter opened by saying: “Let’s park Brexit and park a second referendum. What do you think the big challenges that Scotland face [sic] are, starting with you Laura?”

Pollock was clearly caught off guard, and after asking him to repeat the question answered: “I would say that I’m expecting for Sturgeon to call out Boris and Trump and that their attitudes …”

At this point, Arthanayake interrupted: “That’s external though – I’m talking about internally. Looking at Scotland and saying – you can’t just be a party that everyone thinks of all they’re obsessed with is a second referendum for Scottish independence. Scotland faces challenges in terms of housing, in terms of education, NHS, policing, all of these challenges.”

Pollock pointed to child care as an important area.

After that tough start, the BBC journalist’s follow-up question to the pair was asking where the SNP “had fallen short”.

Education was another key theme raised, with the BBC presenter saying the SNP “haven’t helped educate the children of Scotland”, citing figures from Pisa – the Programme for International Student Assessment.

The pair had not been able to see these figures prior to the interview, with the First Minister later telling Campbell that he should not have been expected to know of them.

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Arthanayake later continued: “What about the focus on an independence referendum. Is that not just an unnecessary distraction when as I’m pointing out the SNP have, well, more immediate issues to deal with – once they have been given power to deal with things such as education they seem to have failed over the last 13 years.”

Campbell replied: “Well no, we’ve definitely not failed. You’ve got to remember that Westminster still sets our overall budget, so while we can decide where to allocate the money, the money does come from Westminster.”

When the presenter then accused Campbell of “blaming Westminster when things go wrong” and “bigging up yourself” when they go right, Campbell pointed out that he “didn’t say that”.

Speaking to The National yesterday, the young SNP activists slammed the BBC.

Campbell told us: “After the first question, my heart just started racing.

“What they told us we’d be speaking about formed only a very small part of the interview. They ambushed us.

“I think it was deliberate, and that they specifically targeted youth activists to make a fool out of us on national radio.

“I felt horrible. I felt rubbish about myself. It really knocked my confidence. I’m not a particularly confident person as it is – this is the first time that I’ve had this kind of opportunity and it just made me feel like I didn’t want to do any of it ever again.

“I made it my mission to apologise to Nicola Sturgeon. I spoke to her nearly in tears. She was so lovely, and she sent me a message on Twitter later. Other party leaders wouldn’t do that.”

The National: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Steven CampbellFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Steven Campbell

Asked what message he would give the BBC, Campbell said: “You’ve shown yourself up for the liars that you are. I have defended the BBC before from bias, but this is just – now that I’ve experienced it …

“And I want to say to them you just knocked somebody’s confidence, someone who has suffered with bad social anxiety in the past, you’ve knocked their confidence for a reason I don’t understand.

“I hope you’re proud of yourself. I have a No-voting friend, and she said to me directly because of what the BBC did she’s going to be voting Yes. It’s backfired on them.”

Pollock agreed with him, telling us: “The BBC lied. I’m incredibly disappointed in them. I don’t want my relationship with any press body, but them as well, to be one of suspicion and mistrust. That’s not what we want.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The interview focused on the party’s policies with two of its supporters. The tone was cordial and fair throughout. Those involved have not raised any issues with us.”