Who is on Question Time tonight? Here’s your guide…
The BBC’s flagship current affairs programme tonight comes from Buxton, hometown of Mary Poppins director Robert Stevenson. But whose performance will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – and whose policy announcements will amount to little more than kite-flying? Here’s your complete guide to the panel…
Who? Chairman of the Conservative Party
Tory party chairman and chief defender of the indefensible, former soldier Cleverly is back on the QT panel having had to wait a whole seven weeks since his last appearance (and another three since the one before that). A pugnacious bruiser who quickly transferred his personal loyalty wholesale from Theresa May to Boris Johnson, he can be trusted to spend the evening rattling off the Tory buzz-phrases – 40 new hospitals, 50,000 more nurses, 20,000 more police officers – irrespective of their relevance to the question in hand, or indeed their likelihood to occur. Not short of self-confidence, asked in 2015 who should succeed David Cameron as Tory party leader when he stood down, he responded: “Me.” Has admitted smoking exotic herbal cigarettes and watching special adult film time online. Often referred to as living proof of the fallibility of nominative determinism.
Who? Well, quite. Shadow housing minister
Little-known junior minister who joined the Labour Party as a direct reaction to Peter Lilley’s God-awful ‘Little List’ song at the 1992 Conservative conference. Not on the Corbynite wing of the party, those who know her describe her as a bread-and-butter politician more concerned about knife crime in her native Croydon than the importance of defending Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. Won her seat in 2017 by defeating Gavin Barwell, the Tory MP who went on to prove nothing succeeds like failure by being appointed first Theresa May’s chief of staff then a life peer. Jones said last year that some SNP MPs had taken to giving her enormous bear-hugs from behind, only to say disappointedly as she turned around “I thought you were Jess Phillips”. Backing Keir Starmer for the Labour leadership and can count on a promotion if the anthropomorphic Mr Whippy wins.
Who? President of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU)
President of the NFU at a time when farmers’ incomes are up in the air as a result of Brexit, the union’s first female chief has described it as “a face-slapping moment” for the industry, that “things could go massively wrong and it could decimate the industry” and that “it could destroy lives and livelihoods and families”. Blue passports though, Minette? Has said: “If the government does forget about agriculture, if they do flood us with cheap ingredients that would be illegal for us to produce here, it would make what happened to coal and steel look like a walk in the park.” Brought up on a farm, she has said her father was “pretty against women farming really” and is determined to get rid of the NFU’s reputation as a male-dominated organisation saying it “is a very out of date opinion”. Tonight’s token Person Who Might Actually Know What They’re Talking About.
Who? Businessman and entrepreneur
Co-creator of Manchester’s Parklife festival – which has got nothing to do with your Vorsprung durch Technik, you know – and the night-time economy advisor for Manchester, which presumably involves recommending the best chips and gravy shops to Andy Burnham because that’s what he bloody eats because he’s such a bloody northerner. To be fair, unlike his London equivalent, Lord is unpaid and has pushed hard for a fair wage policy for night-time hospitality staff, including full transparency tipping for bar and restaurant workers. Growing up in Altrincham and leaving Manchester Grammar School with two Us and an E at A-level, he has yet to be tipped for a peerage, which is a shame because then he would be Lord Lord, which would be funny. Is this enough words to pad this out? [Yes -sub-editor]
Who? Comedian with the rare distinction of being a Conservative voter
The much-vaunted “only Conservative voter on the comedy scene” – which must have come as news to Jim Davidson – Norcott is carving out a niche for himself on shows such as Mock The Week and The Mash Report. No Rees-Moggite – he has described the ERG as “having the word ‘research’ in their name but not being able to ascertain how many of them were just giving it the big’un after a glass of port” – his criticism has been of “the EU project, its expansion, its economic inertia, the possibility of it coming unstuck in the medium-term future”. Says: “It’s been excruciating to watch the Remainers in control trying to contort the deal into what they think Leavers want, like a partner wearing a weird outfit they’re convinced you love.” Tonight’s shoo-in for tomorrow’s inevitable Daily Express Online headline for SHUTTING DOWN REMOANERS.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.40pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland)