The Andrew Marr Show, BBC One, 13 November 2016

BBC Blocks

Complaint

We received complaints from some viewers unhappy that Andrew Marr interviewed Marine Le Pen.

Response

The Andrew Marr Show had several prominent items to reflect Remembrance Sunday, as well as an interview with the leader of France’s Front National party, Marine Le Pen MEP.

Andrew acknowledged beforehand that some viewers may have found the timing or content distasteful, but he also fully explained the context and rationale for the interview with Ms Le Pen as follows:

"Now, today we are remembering the fallen, particularly of two World Wars, and we are doing so in a context of a world which feels particularly unstable, even dangerous. Our greatest ally - the United States - has been going through great political change, but what of our other great wartime ally, France?

Since Donald Trump's victory, anything seems possible, and in France they're asking whether Marine Le Pen - the highly controversial leader of the right wing, nationalistic French National Front - will become their next President. She's polling strongly - at least 6 million voters so far - and most predict that she will reach the final round this spring.

Now, if she won that would be a huge and significant moment for Europe - Marine Le Pen is hostile to Brussels, she's against NATO, she's against free trade, and she's a vehement supporter of Russia's Vladimir Putin. Now, I know this morning some people are offended and upset that I have been to interview Marine Le Pen, and that we are showing this interview on Remembrance Sunday. I understand that, but I would say this: Le Pen could - under some circumstances - become the next French President in the spring. This week in the immediate aftermath of the Trump victory, she's declared that the whole world has changed and that her brand of politics is on the march. What does that mean?

In the end, we are a news programme and I don't think the best way to honour the fallen is to fail to report on the next big challenge to western security..."

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