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Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?

Fiona Bruce, presenter of the BBC's Question Time - Credit: BBC

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 Chester Town Hall, opened by William Gladstone in 1869. Gladstone joined a breakaway faction in the House of Commons and later presided over his party splitting over the issue of Ireland. Not much for today’s panel of contemporary politicos to learn from, then – but who are they, and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s your who’s who…

Mel Stride

Who? Well, quite. Paymaster general and financial secretary to the Treasury

Where is he on Brexit? A Remainer in the run-up to the referendum and firmly opposed to a no-deal exit

Pretty obscure – his Wikipedia entry runs to 168 words, 809 less than that of long-forgotten 1980s children’s TV programme Tickle on the Tum – junior minister. Made headlines for the first time last month after being snapped strolling out of Downing Street carrying a briefing note with ‘no food’ and ‘no Channel Tunnel’ displayed prominently – a picture derided as ‘desperate stuff’ by Michael Fabricant, a Brexiteer Tory MP who has courted attention by cycling naked and uploading a video of himself to YouTube spanking a colleague’s bottom. Stride has described a no-deal Brexit as ‘a bad outcome’ and said ‘I’m not one of those people who says ‘don’t worry about it, we’ll trade on WTO terms and it’ll all be OK, a bit bumpy in the short term but it’ll be alright’.’ A dull but solid nightwatchman for the Tories tonight.

Andy McDonald

Who? Well, quite. Shadow transport secretary

Where is he on Brexit? Soft Remainer. Broadly sympathetic to the EU but aware that his Middlesbrough constituents voted to leave by 65.5%

Shadow cabinet member so spectacularly ineffectual you almost certainly haven’t heard of him, despite the fact he shadows the most incompetent cabinet minister in Chris Grayling and pretty much anyone else would have had his head on a stick ages ago. Former councillor who was brought into Jeremy Corbyn’s top team in 2016 when everybody else quit and has since made as much an impression in the role as Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Batman. Speaks rarely on Brexit but when he does it’s on-message platitudes, keeping to the line that a jobs-first Brexit could be completed in a jiffy if only Corbyn and his winning smile were doing the negotiating in Brussels. A jobbing backbencher in any normal Parliament, McDonald may narrowly pip Mel Stride for this week’s Person You Forgot Was Even On The Panel Within Two Minutes Of It Finishing.

Anna Soubry

Who? Independent Group MP for Broxtowe

Where is she on Brexit? She dislikes it so much she resigned from the Conservative Party this week and joined the Independent Group

Plain-speaking former business minister and one of the ‘Three Amigos’ of Tory MPs who ditched their party this week in protest at Theresa May’s capitulation to the party’s headbanger Brexiteer wing. In office under David Cameron, she left government after Theresa May attempted to foist the ignominy of being Liz Truss’ number two on her. One of the MPs denounced as ‘mutineers’ on the front page of the Daily Telegraph after indicating she would be voting against the government’s efforts to fix the date of Brexit – for which she received death threats – she has long said she would not stay in a Tory party led by Boris Johnson or Jacob Rees-Mogg. Has now snapped and is already making delightfully waspish comments about the merits of her former colleagues. Calls a spade a f***ing shovel.

John Barnes

Who? Former Liverpool and England footballer

Where is he on Brexit? Remainer who has said he is ‘flabbergastered that Britain are the first to jump ship when the going gets tough’

Silky left winger (in football terms) as famous for THAT goal against Brazil in 1984 as he is for THAT rap in New Order’s World In Motion, Barnes found himself dragged into the 2016 referendum debate after Michael Gove claimed he was a Leaver. Barnes had said that Brexit would open up more opportunities for English footballers in the Premier League, but after Gove’s intervention clarified ‘I made it categorically clear I don’t support the Leave campaign because that’s a very selfish view just looking at English football. I’ve got to think about what I think is right for the country.’ Has written: ‘Leave is preying on people’s fears, telling the same story we’ve heard over the years about black people from Africa and the Caribbean coming to steal our jobs.’ Is likely to require an isotonic drink after 60 minutes of sheer hell on the show.

Ella Whelan

Who? Contrarian columnist and author of a book calling for the end of feminism

Where is she on Brexit? No-deal advocate who has insisted Britain must get ‘back to the basics’ and remember ‘just how brilliant the Brexit vote was’

Right-wing (she would probably say libertarian) columnist for online magazine Spiked carving out a niche for herself as a professional sayer-of-the-unsayable now Katie Hopkins is too toxic for the likes of Good Morning Britain. An advocate of a no-deal Brexit, has written ‘If the EU won’t respect British demands for sovereignty, we should tell it to go to hell’, although has yet to set out in detail for her readers how she envisages just-in-time trade arrangements and roll-on-roll-off freight operations at Dover to function once we’ve finished the saying-go-to-hell bit. Often just a hair’s breadth away from saying ‘There. I said it’ following a deliberately provocative comment she is particularly proud of. Tweeted after a similar guide to the Question Time panel last summer ‘Look Mam, I’ve made it, @TheNewEuropean doesn’t like me!’. You’re very welcome, Ella.

Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight

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