Sayeeda Warsi, the shadow minister for community cohesion, is to take on the leader of the British National Party (BNP) on the BBC's Question Time next week.
The addition of Baroness Warsi completes the panel for the 22 October broadcast, which will see the far-right party's leader, Nick Griffin, make his debut on the programme. The Justice Secretary Jack Straw, Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, and playwright Bonnie Greer, have also agreed to take part. The Independent understands that a growing group of BBC workers are planning to join a protest at the decision to offer Mr Griffin a seat on the panel, due to take place outside Television Centre, in west London, next Thursday. The broadcasting union, Bectu, has raised the concerns of some workers with the director general, Mark Thompson.
While the BBC has claimed that it is obliged to offer the BNP some coverage after the party won two seats in the European parliament last summer, the anti-fascist group, Searchlight, said the corporation had set the bar for inclusion far too low and that the benchmark for being included in Question Time should be "election to the national parliament".