Question Time tonight features a virtual audience drawn from across the UK, the country best-known across the world for dealing with a deadly pandemic with all the command and aptitude of The Chuckle Brothers carrying a wedding cake across a frozen river. But who’s on the panel? Here’s your guide…
Who? Well, quite. Junior minister for apprenticeships and skills
Conservative MP for Chichester since 2017, former businesswoman Keegan was a Remainer and backer of Rory Stewart’s quixotic bid for the Tory leadership before throwing her lot in wholesale with Boris Johnson’s vision for Brexit Britain. Relatively low-profile, she briefly troubled the headlines last year by being the education minister who decided last year’s exam crisis was a smashing time to go on holiday to France and post pictures on Instagram, later explaining that she had taken her work laptop with her and that “I was right on top of it all.” Godmother to two of former speaker John Bercow’s children.
Who? Well, quite. Shadow education secretary
One of the shadowy unknown figures behind Keir Starmer (like the men behind Louise Wener in Sleeper), Green was catapulted into the shadow education role after Rebecca Long-Bailey’s career spectacularly imploded over weird conspiracy theories. MP for Stretford and Urmston since 2010, the former banker chaired Owen Smith’s unsuccessful bid to oust Jeremy Corbyn as leader. Has been a critic of the government’s in-out-shake-it-all-about approach to school openings during the pandemic, saying education secretary Gavin Williamson “has failed to give parent, students and staff the credible plan they deserve”.
Who? Businesswoman and TV personality
A businesswoman who ran a multimillion-pound family holiday business, Meaden is now best known for her role as a dragon on Dragon’s Den and a contestant on the 11th series of Strictly Come Dancing. A prominent Remain campaigner during the Brexit arguments, getting involved after saying she “realised the extent of lies, illegal activity, prospect of No Deal, [and the] effect it is already having on peoples lives”. Also appeared in the Daily Express last year under the headline “Dragons’ Den star shocks fans as she cuts own hair with kitchen scissors”.
Who? Director of international relations at the NHS Confederation
Psychiatrist, former World Health Organisation and World Bank staffer and this week’s Person Who Might Actually Know What They’re Talking About. McCay has held academic positions at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Hong Kong University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, none of which will protect her from the pro-Boris Twitter brigade if she dares to question the government’s handling of the crisis. Probably aware of this, she tweeted yesterday: “So I’ll be doing this tomorrow. Wish me luck.”
Who? Associate editor of the Daily Telegraph
Associate Editor of the serious-newpaper-turned-Boris-Johnson-fanzine since 2018, Tominey is one of the triumvirate of posh right-wing female journalists, along with Julia Hartley-Brewer and Isabel Oakeshott, who were until the crisis reserved a weekly seat on QT. A hardline Brexiteer, she claimed to have been proved right in 2017 when she visited the EU’s seats of power in Brussels and found it hard to walk around: “I must have covered several miles (in wedges), searching in vain for the Council building where President Donald Tusk was lunching the so-called EU27 in Britain’s absence (where’s a truffle hog when you need one?).”
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.25pm in Northern Ireland)