FIONA Bruce has been "hung out to dry" by BBC producers after being forced to "legally contextualise" an allegation of domestic abuse made against Stanley Johnson, according to sources close to the presenter. 

The presenter stepped down from her role as an ambassador for the domestic violence charity Refuge after facing criticism for comments she made during last week’s episode of Question Time.

After journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said that Stanley Johnson was “on record” as a “wife beater”, Bruce interrupted to provide context.

She said that although Johnson’s ex-wife had told a journalist about an incident where he had allegedly broken her nose, friends of Johnson said it was “a one off”.

Following the programme Bruce’s intervention was described as “unnecessary and irresponsible” by the charity Women’s Aid and a Labour MP accused her of “trivialising” domestic violence.

The National:

However, according to The Telegraph, friends of Fiona Bruce say that she has been “hung out to dry” by the BBC as it was producers who provided her with the lines.

They added that the presenter has been left “devastated” by the response to her actions and called on the BBC to “better support its talent”.

Indeed, Bruce’s statement announcing her decision to step back from her role within Refuge appears to suggest that it was not her choice to intervene following Alibhai-Brown’s comment.

She said: “I was required to legally contextualise a question about Stanley Johnson.

"Those words have been taken as an expression of my own opinions which they are absolutely not, and as a minimising of domestic abuse, which I would never do.”

It comes as the chief executive of Ofcom – the UK’s broadcasting regulator – claimed not be aware of the incident.

READ MORE: Ofcom chief expertly grilled on why Tory MPs can host news programmes

During a meeting of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Dame Melanie Dawes was asked by Labour MP Clive Efford about the BBC’s actions regarding Fiona Bruce.

He said: “The BBC had the opportunity to investigate the background of what was going to be said, verify the facts, but still decided to put out a statement saying it was ‘a one off’.

“Whose interests was the BBC looking out for, the victims of domestic violence or Stanley Johnson, when they put that statement in front of Fiona Bruce?”

But Dawes claimed to have no knowledge of the incident at all. 

She said: “I’m really sorry Mr Efford I’m just not familiar with that particular episode, I don’t have any comment to make on it. I’m just not aware of that.”