THE BBC has come under fire from viewers after the Prime Minister’s father was invited onto a flagship politics show to discuss the climate crisis.

Stanley Johnson, introduced as an “environmentalist”, was interviewed on Newsnight about what the UK Government can do to tackle global warming.

It followed the publication of a landmark UN report which warned human activity is causing “unprecedented” changes in the Earth’s climate, some of which are now irreversible.

The International Panel on Climate Change forecast global temperature increases of more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels within the next two decades, exceeding limits set at the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The report was the focus of the Newsnight show, on which Johnson was asked for his opinion on the approach the UK Government should take.

The former Tory MEP told host Kirsty Wark: “Where we are at the moment, what we face, I see one really important thing for the Government to do and that is to go strongly down the road of carbon taxing. This is the polluter pays principle, we all signed up to it when I was in the EU way back in the 1970s, we actually had a legal instrument which the UK applied as well.

“We have to go there, and part of that is to also have carbon border taxes. Yes, we will impose our own standards and our own taxes and our own charged, and that will generate so much money that we can help the white van man, the disadvantaged sectors of society through the extra funds raised.

“It is a crucially important instrument that is not being adequately emphasised at the moment.”

Wark asked Johnson if he had “had tried to persuade the Prime Minister of this”, to which he replied: “I think he is well seized of this one.”

BBC viewers were angered that the PM’s father had been included in the panel debate, alongside economist Kate Raworth and former head of the UK Government Economic Service Vicky Price.

Academic and National contributor Gerry Hassan wrote: "A UK politics & media where who know rather than what you know is what matters. A case in point: the shameless Stanley Johnson, father of the shameless Boris Johnson."

Former Labour MP Thelma Walker quipped: "Stanley Johnson, having covered the environment this week , will move on to parenting next week..."

Ash Sarkar, political pundit and contributing editor of Novara Media, said she had been asked to appear on the show to discuss whether the climate crisis was being “taken seriously enough”.

She explained: "I was asked by Newsnight to go on last night (it didn’t end up happening as they wanted to go in a different direction, which is normal). And the producer asked me if I thought the media was taking climate change seriously enough.

“You’ll never guess what happened next!"

READ MORE: Stanley Johnson flouts essential travel rules for trip to Greek villa

One disgruntled viewer commented: "This is just wrong. Please explain why he [Johnson] is on the news?"

Another added: “This is a government not a royal family. You could get a real expert on rather than the prime minister's father.”

Johnson hit the headlines last year after jetting off to Greece, via Bulgaria, despite government advice against "all but essential international travel" due to the pandemic.

He insisted at the time that he was "on essential business" to ensure his Greek rental property was "Covid-proof" before holidays restart.

One social media user said: “Stanley Johnson, so determined to tackle climate change, that he took two planes to avoid a ban on direct flights from the UK to Greece.

“All at a time when everyone was told to avoid foreign travel unless it was absolutely necessary.”

During his stint in Brussels, Johnson was head of the prevention of pollution division at the European Commission. In 1984, Johnson was awarded the Greenpeace Prize for Outstanding Services to the Environment for his activism.

Newsnight also broadcast a panel discussion including the lead author of the climate change report, Dr Frederike Otto, Labour’s shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard, as well as Tory MP and Environmental Audit Committee member James Gray .

A BBC spokesperson told The National: “The full programme focused on the environment and Mr Johnson was one of seven guests. He took part in a panel discussion, representing a range of views.”