Who is on BBC’s Any Questions? this week and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s your guide.
Tonight’s Any Questions? is hosted by Shaun Ley, and comes tonight from Ottery St Mary Parish Church in Devon. The church is where Samuel Taylor Coleridge, author of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, was christened. But who will end up with an albatross about their neck tonight?
The political editor of the New Statesman, Bush is leftwing but is neither a member nor particularly Corbynite. Educated at a state comp and then Oxford, Bush previously worked for lefty magazine Progress, and has been tipped for BBC jobs of political editor, but missed out to Laura Kuenssberg. Noting a hot young political commentator in the ascendant, the Guardian snapped him up in 2016 and told him to spend literally a year cooking Delia Smith recipes. This, he claimed, gave him “strong feelings about the size of a roasting dish”. He successfully predicted Jeremy Corbyn’s election to leader of the Labour Party. He failed to repeat the trick in 2018 when he rubbished Boris Johnson’s chances at prime minister. Lately, he’s been approvingly charting the rise of Jo Swinson. In case you had wondered about the exact numbers involved in a crossover between Stephen Bush, people who make memes, and New Statesman-loving teens, we can tell you that the Facebook page “Stephen Bush memes for New Statesman loving teens” is followed by 1,724 people.
Where does he stand on Brexit? Broadly, emotionlessly, analytically Remain.
Geoffrey Cox QC MP
Cox has the distinct pleasure of being MP for the only constituency that has a town with an exclamation mark in it, Westward Ho!. Boris Johnson has just reinstated him as the attorney general. A landlord himself, he voted against the idea that rental homes should be “fit for human habitation” (reasoning: apparently local authorities have enough powers in that regard already, before you get your guillotine out). Once tried to claim 49p expenses for a pint of milk for the office. Before he was exalted to the government’s chief legal advisor, he was named among the richest MPs in the country, raking in £820,000 in 2014 while moonlighting as a QC, which the Telegraph calculated would have taken him about six taxpayer-funded months to accrue. In February, he was put in charge of negotiating changes to the Northern Ireland backstop by Theresa May, having been very against it on the grounds that it could lock the UK into a customs union for ages. Admired for his “distinctive rich baritone voice” (BBC), his maiden speech was considered the fourth best ever, defending civil liberties in the face of proposed ID card legislation.
Where does he stand on Brexit?
Cox has supported Leave throughout. Inspired the Express headline ‘Geoffrey Cox SAVAGES May’s deal’.
Mary Creagh MP
Labour MP for Wakefield, Creagh has had several shadow cabinet positions and is, broadly speaking, woke. She voted for gay rights, against benefits reductions, and in support of human rights issues, and sticks up for the environment. At their best, her political campaigns are titled like album names. The more-exciting-sounding-than-it-was ‘Hot water burns like fire’ campaign successfully passed regulation on bathroom thermostats. The YouTube video for another campaign, called “Back the apple”, involved a genuinely terrifying animated apple voiced by Tony Robinson, which threatened to ‘bite back’ if the government does not pay fruit pickers a fair wage. She does Twitter well and according to her feed it’s entirely possible she started drinking at exactly 12.21pm on the day of the Tory leadership results, like the rest of us.
Where does she stand on Brexit? Creagh has the full remainer pedigree: she defied the Labour whip to vote against triggering Article 50. A fluent French and Italian speaker, she had her snout in the EU trough/rode the Brussels gravy train/insert Express cliché here for four years in the European parliament and the European Youth forum.
Political interviewer and columnist for the Times, Thomson comes from a scientific family – her great-grandfather discovered the electron. Another ancestor built a telegraph line from Adelaide to Darwin, connecting Australia to the world and somehow granting him the ability to name Alice Springs after his wife. Many of Thomson’s interviews have been done in partnership with fellow columnist Rachel Sylvester but most lately, she’s interviewed Jo Swinson, and thinks she’s a good thing. Measured, feminist and mostly socially liberal, she’s largely avoided controversy. Stood up to Richard Tice on another edition of Newsnight after Kim Darroch stood down, when the Brexit Party chairman called Sir Kim naïve. Thomson said: “He was giving very considered, valuable advice which is what ambassadors have been doing for generations and generations and it’s never been leaked.” Good on her.
Where does she stand on Brexit? Voted Remain. In the referendum campaign, discussed genteel rightwing sensitivities such as the countryside and curbing immigration, and wrote about how Brexit won’t do much for either. Wrote a column titled “Six reasons to be optimistic about Brexit.” Probably doesn’t read the New European.
Any Questions? is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 8pm.