BBC Question Time host Fiona Bruce told audience members they had been “carefully” chosen to ensure they were pro-Brexit during last night’s episode.

During the programme, filmed in the Hampshire town of Aldershot, panel members discussed a number of Brexit-related issues – including shortages in a number of sectors caused by a lack of HGV drivers, the rising cost of living and the culling of large numbers of pigs amid a labour shortage at abattoirs.

One audience member pointed out that Brexit was the “elephant in the room” linked to a number of the problems, sparking a wider debate on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

One man cut in: “There’s an irony now when we’re discussing Brexit, because in my opinion a lot of people voted for Brexit because they didn’t want foreign workers coming over here taking our jobs – and now that’s exactly the situation which we’ve got. We’ve got a lack of foreign workers which is why we’ve got these shortages.”

Bruce then asked for views from a Brexit supporter, adding: “The majority of you voted for Brexit here in this audience – we select this audience very carefully to be representative.”

However, the man who made the point told the crowd he did actually vote to leave the EU five years ago.

The National:

The presenter did not make clear whether Question Time audiences are generally pro-Brexit, or the decision was made specifically for the Aldershot episode. Some 58% of constituency residents backed Leave in 2016, and it has voted in Conservative MPs since its creation in 1918.

An SNP source told The National: "The BBC needs to be completely transparent in how it selects both audiences and panels. It’s little wonder they have issues with audience trust."

A BBC spokesperson said: “Question Time always selects its audiences to reflect recent voting trends and the current political picture of the nation it is broadcasting from. Those trends differ across the UK and we aim to reflect those differences.”

On its website, the BBC states it chooses local audiences which reflect a “broad range of political views”.

“People apply to be in the audience for Question Time via the website and by phone and producers get in touch to ask questions on their previous voting record and future voting intentions, whether they have party political membership and also how they voted in the EU referendum,” they explain.

READ MORE: Headcorn Post Office hangs 'we do not accept Scottish money' sign

“This is to ensure a range of views are represented in the audience. Occasionally, if production staff feel any group or view is under-represented in the applications, they will promote the programme through relevant local media channels to encourage people to apply.”

Question Time aims to “achieve due impartiality” in its audience membership, the website adds.

As lockdowns prevented Question Time from featuring in-person audiences over the last year, the programme brought in the QT50 as “temporary experiment”. The panel of 50 people were chosen from the general public across the UK, leading to the same people appearing multiple times.

Since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions across the four nations, Question Time has been hosting in-person audiences again – though social distancing is maintained.

The programme will be filmed from Glasgow on October 21, with pro-independence Succession actor Brian Cox set to join the panel.