A LOCAL general election candidate who was barred from a BBC political debate show filmed in Greenock says questions need to be asked of producers.

LibDem Dr Jacci Stoyle hit out at the broadcaster for failing to put her party on the panel of BBC Scotland's Debate Night and then telling her she couldn't be part of the audience.

She says this meant the public was denied a full range of political views as a result.

Debate Night presenter Stephen Jardine was in the Beacon with a panel that included local MSP Stuart McMillan for the latest programme.

But Dr Stoyle, who is the Lib Dem candidate in Inverclyde, said: "When we it came to our attention that the Debate Night programme was to be broadcast from Greenock, we were shocked to learn that there would be no Liberal Democrat voice on the panel.

"Following this discovery, as the Westminster candidate for the Inverclyde Liberal Democrats, I applied to be in the audience for the programme.

"I was then told that I'd been barred from entry based on the fact that politically-active people are not permitted to be members of the audience.

"Yet, when the programme was broadcast, I saw people in the audience who fulfilled this criteria."

She is now calling on the BBC to review its criteria.

The candidate added: "I wonder how many people in the audience, both in the theatre and at home, thought that the Liberal Democrats couldn't be bothered to come along and take part in the discussion.

"Let me say that nothing could be further than the truth.

"My complaint is that it is blatantly unfair and undemocratic to prevent a national Scottish and UK political party from having the right to take part in a televised political debate.

"I'm sure everyone is well aware that an election could be called at any point in the near future, indeed the possibility of an interim government following a potential no confidence vote was even discussed on the programme.

"In these circumstances, surely it is imperative for the electorate to hear the full range of views in a political debate, to help make their choices in the ballot box."

Her criticisms were shared with Ciano Rebecchi, a long serving LibDem councillor who was Provost during his party's time in administration at Inverclyde Council.

Councillor Rebecchi said: "I am very concerned, there were plenty of other activists in the audience.

"I was told in a phone call I could come long but I was to stay at the back and not ask questions.

"As a party we are very unhappy about this."

The BBC has today responded to the criticism over the arrangements for the show.

A BBC Scotland spokesman said:‘The Liberal Democrats, along with other political parties, will appear on the panel of Debate Night a proportionate number of times over the current run of programmes.

"The appearances of political parties are carefully considered and based on a number of factors including current and previous electoral support.

"We ensure that a wide range of political perspectives are afforded opportunities throughout the series.

"A Liberal Democrat party representative appeared on the panel on our first programme after the summer break, two weeks ago.

"They will appear again in the coming weeks.’