THE BBC presenter Fiona Bruce is facing criticism for saying that an allegation of domestic violence levelled against Stanley Johnson by his ex-wife was “a one-off”.

Bruce made the comments on Question Time during a discussion about whether Boris Johnson’s nomination of his father for a knighthood was appropriate.

At one point, journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said that Stanley Johnson was a “wife beater”.

However, Bruce intervened to say that while Stanley Johnson’s ex-wife Charlotte had told a journalist that her husband had broken her nose, friends of Johnson said it was “a one-off”.

Now, Bruce’s role as an ambassador for domestic violence charity Refuge is being called into question by those who felt her comments on Stanley Johnson were inappropriate.

The National:

Labour MP Kate Osborne said that Bruce’s comments were “disgraceful”.

She tweeted: “#InternationalWomensDay this week and #bbcqt Fiona Bruce trivialises violence against women: Stanley Johnson’s friends say 'it was a one off' that he broke his wife’s nose.

“Disgraceful. DV [domestic violence] is rarely a one off – no quote of the reality from Charlotte Fawcett 'he hit me many times'."

SNP MP John Nicolson said that Bruce had shown “shockingly bad judgement” by intervening in the manner she did.

He said: “Extraordinary moment on BBC Question Time last night. Stanley Johnson broke his wife’s nose @y_alibhai reminds audience.

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“Fiona Bruce intervenes with context concluding 'it was a one off'.

“Live telly can be pressurising but this is shockingly bad judgement from the chair.”

Twitter commentator Julie Street added: "I'm still absolutely sickened that as of 3pm today Fiona Bruce is still in post both at the BBC and as a Refuge ambassador."

Another added: "As an ambassador for Refuge how is she not accountable?"

Refuge issues statement amid Fiona Bruce row

Refuge issued a statement on Friday afternoon after the concerns were raised.

"Refuge’s position is clear – domestic abuse is never a ‘one off’, it is a pattern of behaviour that can manifest in a number of ways, including physical abuse," they said. "Domestic abuse is never acceptable."

They went on: "We have spoken to Fiona today, and she is appalled that any of her words have been understood as her minimising domestic violence. We know she is deeply upset that this has been triggering for survivors.

"Like the host of any BBC programme, when serious on-air allegations are made about someone, Fiona is obliged to put forward a right of reply from that person or their representatives, and that was what happened last night. These are not in any way Fiona’s own views about the situation.

The National: Fiona Bruce will be bringing the Antiques Roadshow -one of the BBC's most popular programmes - to Ipswich  Picture: Anna Gordon

"Refuge has a long history of working with Fiona, who has been an active supporter of ours for some 25 years, and continually uses her profile to campaign publicly against domestic abuse, and to advocate for survivors.

"Fiona is deeply sorry that last night’s programme has distressed survivors of domestic abuse. Refuge stands by her and all survivors today.

"We continue to be appreciative of all the work Fiona does on behalf of Refuge and recognise the immense contribution she has made to our work to end domestic abuse and challenge violence against women and girls."