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Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?

Who is on Question Time tonight and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s your guide…

The BBC’s flagship current affairs programme tonight comes from the town hall in Bishop Auckland, where Stan Laurel spent his formative years. But who will get themselves into another nice mess? And who should have kept their big mouth shut? Here’s who’s on the panel and where they stand on Brexit…

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Who? Conservative MP for North East Somerset and chair of the hardline European Research Group of Tory MPs

Where is he on Brexit? Aye. You’re joking, right?

Leader of the headbanger, moon-on-a-stick wing of Tory MPs who congregate under the European Research Group of Tory MPs, the Old Etonian has somehow managed to craft an image of a politician of stature in post-Brexit Britain despite having no frontbench experience. Rees-Mogg’s reactionary, often extreme views tend to be masked by the fact that he’s a funny old chap who is polite, speaks Latin, wears double-breasted suits on Saturdays and probably doesn’t know who The Beatles are. Darling of the tabloids – telling the Express yesterday blue passports were “the cherry on the icing” of Brexit – and a favourite of party members, who have presumably looked at Labour electing a inflexible, eccentric hardliner with no frontline experience and a tendency to keep dubious company as leader and thought “we’ll have a bit of that”. Social conservative who, while campaigning to hand back control to Westminster, takes his steer on morality, particularly same-sex marriage and abortion, very much from Rome.

Ayesha Hazarika

Who? Comedian, broadcaster, commentator and former Labour advisor

Where is she on Brexit? Remainer who has described the Conservatives as “the equivalent of a circular firing squad” while Jeremy Corbyn “has a massive bridge to sell you, with a unicorn waiting for each and every one of you on the other side” Comedian-turned-advisor-turned-comedian-turned-commentator, Hazarika is a Labour moderate who opposed Corbyn’s leadership but has since said she “got it wrong” and urged fellow centrists to “find peace with him”. Spent eight years as a Labour adviser under Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman, doing a mean impression of the former. Has warned of a second referendum that “remainers like me might get a nasty shock – a second referendum may deliver an even bigger margin for leave because, if people hated Westminster in the run-up to the referendum, you can bet your bottom dollar they would want to give it an even bigger two-fingers after two years of arsing around”. Appeared on Question Time almost exactly a year ago, calling an audience member a “bully” after her called her an “idiot”. Question Time is the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme.

Ian Lavery

Who? Chair of the Labour Party

Where is he on Brexit? Soft Remainer who voted with “healthy scepticism” for the EU. Now says he wants “a customs union purely based on jobs and the economy”

A bruiser from the north-east tradition of Labour where not coughing up coal makes one as suspicious as much as wearing glasses did for the Khmer Rouge, Lavery has a lot of currency in the party after running last year’s general election campaign. A Corbyn loyalist – although his politics are closer to John McDonnell’s, with the north-east being more interest in the Gazza strip than the Gaza Strip – he briefly considered running as the left’s candidate for the leadership in 2015. Knowing his decision to vote Remain in 2016 would be controversial, he issued a statement acknowledging “many friends and colleagues are naturally suspicious of the European Union” and “no-one denies that it is imperfect”. Accent thick as pease pudding, watch the former chair of the National Union of Mineworkers make use of home advantage with his booming attacks on the la-di-da London establishment with their Radio 4 and elaborate finger foods.

Rod Liddle

Who? Associate editor of the Spectator; Sun and Sunday Times columnist

Where is he on Brexit? Brexiteer who has described the EU as “a tyranny, intolerant of any dissenting voices, contemptuous towards the wishes of its people”

This week’s edgy, “this will get them going on Twitter!” booking from the QT producers, Liddle has reinvented himself over the Blair years and beyond from the left-leaning editor of the BBC’s Today programme to the cor-blimey, say-what-they’re-all-thinking columnist for those who find Melanie Phillips too earnest and Richard Littlejohn too out of the loop. Wrote of Remainer warnings recently that after a no-deal Brexit “we will be left without shelter when the plague of giant, radioactive crabs begin their horrifying march across the country, tearing children and the elderly limb from limb with their enormous pincers”. Brexit apart, will almost certainly have been booked because there has been a couple of stories about transgender issues in the news in the past week producers secretly hope Liddle will say something outrageous about and yes, I’m conscious in writing this I’m contributing to the whole hullabaloo.

Polly Mackenzie

Who? Director of the cross-party think tank Demos

Where is she on Brexit? Remainer who has said Brexit “will probably be a disaster for Britain”

A former advisor to Nick Clegg as deputy prime minister who helped to write the 2010 coalition agreement, Mackenzie was involved in setting up the Women’s Equality Party following the Lib Dems’ disastrous election of 2015. Now director of Demos, whose website states: “We bring people together. We bridge divides. We listen and we understand.” So Lord knows what she’s doing on this programme. Founded the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, a charity working to break the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems before joining Demos. The former business journalist is tonight’s person most likely to try to make a point that, actually, things are a bit more complicated than that, before being shouted down by someone yelling about 17.4m people or trains.

Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland).

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