The BBC has been blasted over its 'appalling' vetting of guests after its Tory leadership debate disaster and their choices may have breached its own rules on impartiality, MailOnline can reveal today.
The corporation has been rocked by scandal after an Imam's anti-Semitic tweets were not uncovered and they failed to tell the 5million people watching last night that another questioner stood to be a Labour councillor.
The show's editor Rob Burley also revealed the guests were 'not confirmed until very late' and 'routine' background checks were only completed on Monday - just 24 hours before they grilled Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Rory Stewart.
Nicky Campbell, who interviewed Abdullah Patel on 5Live this morning, apologised to listeners today after his 'extremely disturbing' remarks emerged on Twitter and suggested that the BBC's checks on him had not been up to scratch.
The Imam told Boris Johnson last night that 'words have consequences' - but was later outed as a Jeremy Corbyn supporter making anti-Semitic comments and blaming women for rape on social media.
BBC bosses have since accused Mr Patel, who has been suspended from his job as a deputy headteacher of a Gloucestershire primary school, of deleting his social media profiles to avoid their checks.
But critics have said that even if his Facebook and Twitter accounts had been temporarily deactivated, researchers could and should have looked harder, a claim denied by the BBC.
The BBC has also admitted it knew another questioner Aman Thakar, who asked the Tory candidates about calling a general election, is a lawyer who had worked for Labour in its London HQ investigating anti-Semitism complaints.
He also stood for the party as a council candidate in south London last year and the BBC admitted they knew about his past but failed to mention it on last night’s show.
Brexit Minister James Cleverly, who stood in the leadership race before backing Boris Johnson, said: 'I love and value the BBC, but stuff like this makes it really hard to defend you from critics. Didn't you think it relevant to inform viewers that Aman had been Labour Party staff? Other questioners said their political affiliations.'
Michael Gove supporter Michael Fabricant added: 'This is appalling. The BBC should apologise'.
Aman Thakar (pictured) who questioned if the candidates had a democratic mandate, has worked in the Labour Party's legal department and was council candidate in 2018 - but the BBC didn't tell viewers
Labour supporter Mr Thakar asked the Tory candidates about calling a general election and their right to govern
This is the section of the BBC's own impartiality rules which says that viewers may have to be told of a person's affiliation to an organisation if relevant to a political show
The show's editor Rob Burley has said that the Imam hid his social media posts but admitted that guests were not checked and confirmed until the 24 hours before the debate
For the past few weeks the BBC invited the public to submit questions for the Tory candidates to answer via email or an online form, and got 30,000 back, MailOnline understands.
They first analysed the questions to get a good range covering all the important topics, a BBC source said.
Then from that pool of people, they chose questioners to represent a cross sections of the general population, by geographic spread, age and ethnicity. It is not clear if they were asked for political affiliations.
They then carried out the background checks including social media searches, before confirming the questioners as guests in the 24 hours before the debate.
These searches and decisions about who made the questions were done by the BBC, not by an outside production company, but nobody has been suspended over the decisions made.
The two questioners at the centre of the row have been suspended by