FIONA Bruce has said that the BBC conducts “quite a bit of background checking” on its Question Time audience members.

During the latest episode of the programme, broadcast on Thursday night from Leicester, the audience were asked for their thoughts on whether private WhatsApp messages should be “immune from public scrutiny”.

It comes after the UK Government announced that it would be seeking a judicial review over demands from the Covid-19 inquiry that they release Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages, diaries and notebooks.

Last week, the chair of the inquiry looking into the government’s handling of the pandemic, Lady Hallett, ordered the Cabinet Office to hand over the documents without any amendments.

One audience member said that if the general public are subject to background checks to attend Question Time then it didn’t seem unreasonable for Boris Johnson’s personal correspondence to be scrutinised.

“The decision of the court was the decision of the public,” he said.

“Even coming to Question Time all of our Facebook, Twitter, everything accounts was checked before coming as an audience.”

Bruce then interjected: “Yes, we do quite a bit of background checking on you all.”

The man continued: “So, if it’s good for the public then it’s good for the government. The rules should be the same, I think.”

It comes just a few weeks after First Minister Humza Yousaf called for there to be “fairness and balance” in future Question Time episodes after the SNP issued a response to Fiona Bruce’s “constant interruption” of Màiri McAllan on an episode last month.

In the past, Bruce herself has been called out for "pro-Conservative bias" – although the BBC have dismissed such complaints.