SNP MP Alyn Smith called out a right-wing think tank’s “non-transparent” funding on Question Time after a representative of the group downplayed Boris Johnson’s role in the partygate scandal.

The exchange followed concerns being raised that Thursday’s panel was unbalanced in its political representation, with three of the five panel members having links to the Tories.

During the programme, Emily Carver, a former Tory MP adviser and current head of media for the Institute of Economic Affairs, seemed to suggest that Boris Johnson may not have attended the Downing Street party that he was fined for taking part in.

She said: “We have Boris Johnson who has been done for one fine for essentially, I don’t think he even ate the cake at this event he was supposedly at."

She went on to reference the sum of tax payer money that went into the investigation.

She added: “I just do think we need to look, £460,000 of taxpayer’s money going into an investigation over something so minor.”

Later on in the show, Smith took an opportunity to question Carver over how her organisation is funded and the place it afforded her on the programme’s panel.

He said: “Well if we’re talking about transparent sources of finance, I do hope we can start with Emily’s organisation and that transparency of who we’re all representing tonight.”

Smith then noted a report that other think tanks had rated the IEA as “non-transparent in the financing of its organisation”. The IEA does not declare its funders and has previously been the centre of controversy when it was accused of offering US donors access to UK Government ministers.

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In response to Smith's concerns, Carver said: “We welcome when donors would like to say they fund us or donate or give to our charity.

"But otherwise I think I am sat here on a panel as myself, representing my organisation, representing the fact I’m an economist at Conservative Home and also representing the fact I’ve done my research on many issues.”