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Channel 4 accused of ‘rigging’ Make Me Prime Minister against pro-independence candidate




Channel 4’s Make Me Prime Minister finalist insisted the show was ‘rigged on her’ because she supported Scottish independence.

Kelly Given has revealed how a group of 50 people selected to choose the winner of a live final debate were at least two-thirds Unionist and she felt she had ‘no chance’ of winning the contest.

She also told The National how SNP voters were flown to London – where the debate was filmed – to ensure balance within the group, but many were then not allowed to vote when they got there.

Given said she felt “distorted” throughout the series, as many moments when she talked about independence were cut from the final cut.

Given said: “I felt very angry about the whole situation.

“It was so frustrating to have won all the challenges [in the series] and doing the best of everyone and then losing because the viewership was 44% Tory [and around 20% Labour].

“On a show that was supposed to find another prime minister, I don’t know how that was the best voting system. It was ridiculous.

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“I felt the series was rigged against me. There was no chance of me winning and the setup was faulty.

“I know quite a few people in the SNP and some have messaged me saying ‘we arrived and they took our groups away from us and won’t let us vote’. I don’t know a single person from the SNP who could vote.

Three contestants made it to the show’s six-part finale where they had to produce a campaign video, deliver their message on a battle bus and defend themselves in a live debate.

Given expressed his view that Scotland should have a choice when it comes to independence and stressed that the UK should be a willing Union in the debate after a member of the public asked the candidates how they planned to protect The union.

The 25-year-old said she was “blindsided” by the question after producers “flip-flopped” on whether independence was going to be covered.

The National: Kelly Given came second on Make Me Prime Minister, but insists she had no Kelly Given came second on Make Me Prime Minister, but insists she had ‘no chance’ of winning (Picture: NewsQuest)

She said she knew she would lose the competition when she revealed her views, but insisted she was not ready to compromise for a £25,000 prize.

“On the day of the final, we [her and producers] had a conversation, and they said they weren’t going to ask about independence because it would put me at a disadvantage,” Given said.

“Then later they said they were going to ask about it, then they changed to say they weren’t, then the question was asked.

“I knew I was going to lose the competition, but it was more important to stand up and say that [I supported independence] on C4 in prime time.

“I was never going to stand there and pretend I wasn’t supporting independence for £25,000.”

Given added, “Throughout the show, they didn’t really show any parts where I talked about independence.

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“I talked about how every country should have the right to self-determination, and none of that was changed.

“Independence is my basic principle in politics. It felt like a misrepresentation of me because watching the show, you wouldn’t know that I supported independence until the last episode.

Channel 4 originally said a group of 100 people from the public were to vote, but many people did not turn up for the debate due to train strikes.

The group then had to be reduced in size but still had to reflect the way people had voted in the last general election, which led to many SNP voters being omitted.

However, the broadcaster said there were SNP voters in the group and insisted the Union question posed to Kelly was unplanned.

A spokesperson for the show said: ‘Each vote was judged independently and voters were selected to ensure the voting public was a true representation of how the UK voted in the last general elections.

“A question from a member of the public about Scottish independence was unintended.

“We refute any suggestion that the competition was rigged in favor of anyone.”

Given – who was diagnosed with autism a few years ago – also told The National that she was annoyed by the “ignorance” around her condition while filming the show.

While filming her campaign video on a busy London street, Given collapsed as she battled overstimulation and exhaustion after filming back-to-back for seven days.

She said she was disappointed with the way Channel 4 chose to cover her emotional state.

She said: ‘I was screaming from the rooftops every episode where I was autistic and what my needs were and when I needed those needs met they weren’t.

“I had reached burnout. There were tears, I was pulling my hair out, and it’s a shame they removed that because that’s what happens to an autistic person when they’re overstimulated.

“It would have been powerful to have seen it.”