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 London’s financial capital Canary Wharf, where the average salary is £100,000, the country’s biggest Waitrose has a temperature-controlled wine cellar and one restaurant, the Boisdale, boasts a cigar menu. But who will prove a class act? And who will show themselves up as a complete banker? Here’s who’s on the panel and where they stand on Brexit…
Who? Business executive and aide to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice
Where is he on Brexit? Soft Remainer who has described the decision to leave as “incomprehensible” but is “confident we will navigate to prosperity”
The British-American businessman has said on Brexit that “there’s a lot to be concerned about but there’s also a lot to be grateful for in that I think we’ve got a fantastic country”. Further ramped up the tub-thumping rhetoric by saying that he was “a bit despondent” about the referendum result, which was “a really rather unfortunate decision”. The trained accountant made his name as a business turnaround specialist who chaired a number of Lord Sugar’s companies and served as chief executive of Tottenham Hotspur for five years. Called last week for his Apprentice boss to run the Brexit negotiations (“The fact people like Alan are not being used by this government with Brexit is a real, real mistake”) in the apparent belief that the crippling deadlock could be broken by the man who gave the world the Amstrad E-mailer.
Who? Journalist, it says here
Where is she on Brexit? Passionate Brexiteer and official chronicler of Nigel Farage and Arron Banks’ Leave.EU campaign
Self-described “passionate Brexiteer” who has said there is no evidence Russia influenced the referendum vote, which coincidentally is exactly the same amount of evidence for the story of David Cameron and a pig’s head she used to flog her biography of him. Made herself the story in the summer after admitting that, while sifting through the old photos, schoolbooks and toys from cereal packets clogging up her attic, she discovered paperwork showing that Leave.EU’s leading lights had met with the Russian ambassador rather more times than originally stated. Previously better known for being the journalist whose private email correspondence with a source was handed over to police, ultimately leading to both former cabinet minister Chris Huhne and ex-wife Vicky Pryce being jailed for perverting the course of justice over a speeding offence.
Who? Shadow foreign secretary
Where is she on Brexit? An ardent Remain campaigner during the referendum, Thornberry has increasingly given the impression Brexit is somewhere below what she’s having for lunch in her list of priorities. Said earlier this year that Labour would ‘probably’ back Theresa May’s agreement, saying: ‘What’s the nature of the divorce? And I think if past evidence of the last few months is anything to go on, it’s going to be a ‘blah, blah, blah’ divorce.” Has more recently said that Labour should seek to delay Brexit by extending the Article 50 period if it wins power in this snap general election it is touchingly convinced is about to happen. Previously seen as being on Labour’s soft left, Thornberry’s Islington South and Finsbury constituency neighbours Jeremy Corbyn’s and she has signed up to his project unconditionally. Probably Parliament’s most accomplished performer of the theatrical eye-roll.
Who? Justice Secretary
Where is he on Brexit? Backed Remain in the referendum. Now a May loyalist urging MPs to rally round the prime minister’s Chequers plan
“Uncork the Gauke” used to be a Treasury rallying cry to send out the then junior minister to defend an unpopular policy in the Commons or in the media, and to some extent it still is in Downing Street – Gauke is one of the few frontline ministers who can be trusted to do a Today interview without inadvertently causing a run on the pound. A Remainer, if not a enthusiastic one, he said immediately after the vote: “I’m obviously disappointed with the decision. I do not think it is the right result for the country. But the British people have spoken, we have to accept that result and we have to get on with it.” So incredibly, soul-crushingly dull he makes Philip Hammond look like he’s in line to be the next James Bond, but that is seen as a plus by colleagues, one of whom describes him as “the middle-order batsman who, if the openers are out cheaply, ensures that the middle order does not collapse”. Which is in itself an incredibly dull metaphor.
George the Poet
Who? Spoken-word artist
Where is he on Brexit? Not something he appears to have spoken much about publicly
Very much the hip-hop Pam Ayres, George – full name George Mpanga – has said that a poet’s role is “to provide thoughtful social commentary”, so what he’s doing on this inane bunfight is anyone’s guess. Described by the Daily Telegraph as “England’s most influential poet” in 2015 to the bewilderment of retired colonels across the Home Counties. Studied politics at Cambridge University before launching his spoken-word career, adapting his rap to poetry. Came fifth in the BBC’s Sound of 2015 poll, is an ambassador for Prince Harry’s Sentebale charity and serves as a member of the National Council of Arts England. Has also written poetry for Sky Sports’ Formula One coverage because even a spoken-word artist has to eat.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland).