THE BBC has been accused of trying to “skew” the independence debate after it published an article platforming young people’s views on the issue – without disclosing that the majority of the interviewees have run for election under Unionist party banners.

It comes after the BBC published a story on its website on Tuesday afternoon under the headline: “Scottish independence: Is it still a priority for young Scots?”

Three young people were interviewed in the piece – “SNP member” Luke Smith, “Labour supporter” Amy Lee Fraioli, and “Conservative member” Euan Blockley.

Both Fraioli and Blockley took aim at the SNP government, and suggested that young Scots would not consider independence as a priority.

"People in the area I'm from aren't better off, the education system's not better off, in some places it's actually worse than it was when the SNP came to office in 2007,” Fraioli, 24, said.

Blockley, 25, said that there had been a “wave of nationalism” after the 2014 independence referendum, and added that voters are now motivated to remove a "very bad SNP government".

The BBC article failed to mention that Fraioli is a Labour staffer at the Scottish Parliament who in the 2022 local elections stood for the party in the Cambuslang East ward.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar wrote in response to Fraioli announcing she had been selected as a candidate: “Congratulations!!! Look forward campaigning for you @ALFraioli!”

She responded: “This means a lot @AnasSarwar! Thank you. With you at the helm, we can do this.”

Blockley was a Tory councillor in Glasgow until he lost his seat in those same elections. He now works as a staffer for the Conservatives.

Ahead of his failed re-election bid, Blockley attended an event held by the “ultra-Unionist” campaign group The Majority, which has called on the UK Government to “ban secession”.

Smith, 18, is a campaigner with Young Scots for Independence, the youth wing of the SNP. Unlike the Unionist voices in the BBC article, he does not work as a staffer and has not stood for election.

Smith told the BBC that Humza Yousaf could “appeal broadly” after Nicola Sturgeon's resignation, saying: "You know the world hasn't ended. We're still the largest party, we're still ahead in the polls, so we've still got that support."

Smith was invited by the BBC to attend Radio 1’s Big Weekend, which was held in Dundee, in order to speak about independence. 

The article introduced him by saying: “When Newsbeat asked people at Big Weekend to name a politician, most gave the same answer – Nicola Sturgeon.

“But now Ms Sturgeon has stood down, are young Scots still the independence generation or are they worried about other issues?

“Someone who agrees with Matty Healy, and was also at Big Weekend, is SNP member Luke Smith.”

Healy, the frontman of The 1975, had told the crowd that Scotland "should definitely just be doing its own thing”. He had done similar during a gig at Glasgow's Hydro in January. 

READ MORE: 'Scotland should be independent': The 1975 back Yes at Glasgow gig

Fraioli was introduced as speaking to the BBC from Portobello beach.

The BBC article said: “Surprisingly, Labour supporter Amy Lee Fraioli agrees with Luke in some ways.

“But she thinks Ms Sturgeon leaving gives her party a big chance to get more voters.

“Speaking to Newsbeat down the coast from Dundee at Edinburgh's Portobello Beach, she says there's been ‘this sort of scrabble for the next big personality’.”

"Labour supporter" was later edited to Labour "member", but any mention of Fraioli's close involvement with the party remains missing from the article.

The National: For The Herald Magazine...Euan Blockley pictured in front of Glasgow City Chambers in George Square. Euan is an 18 year old Tory standing for the position of councillor in next years council election...   Photograph by Colin Mearns.2 November 2016..FOR HE

Blockley (above) was only described as living in Glasgow after the first line introducing him, which read: “Conservative member Euan Blockley says the independence referendum was the first time he was able to vote.”

A subsample from the most recent polling on independence suggested that people aged under 34 would back independence by a ratio of roughly 2:1. The BBC article platformed a majority of Unionist voices in a mirror of the same ratio.

It did note: “Polls suggest Scots aged under 24 are more likely to back independence than the average person.”

The BBC article also said there would be "more on this on Newsnight on BBC Two at 22:30 BST on Tuesday".

The National: Michael Russell signed off on the email sent to party members on Friday

SNP president Michael Russell (above) said the BBC article was an attempt to “skew” the independence debate.

The former constitution secretary told The National: “The BBC is now not even trying to hide its institutional bias against independence.

“This is not just lazy and shoddy programme making, it is an attempt to skew the debate. Those responsible shouldn’t be working in broadcasting.”

Christina Hendry, the youth convener for the Alba Party, said: “The independence movement can’t take young people, or any group in society, for granted.

"To win a majority in support for independence we need to keep presenting a positive vision that shows how Scotland would fare much better if we took our own future into our own hands as opposed to having Westminster impose policies on the people of Scotland.

“Young people have so much to gain from independence and Alba Party will keep making the case for why it is time for independence.”

A BBC Spokesperson said: “We have updated the description around one of the contributors in the article. Changing 'Labour supporter' to 'Labour member' – and as a result we have added a footnote to the piece.”