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 Dewsbury, considered to be the smallest town in the country to host a classical concert season. But whose answers will be music to your ears? And who will hit all the bum notes? Here’s who’s on the panel and where they stand on Brexit…
Who? Senior lawyer and former chief prosecutor for North West England
Where is he on Brexit? Asked “Brexit or Remain?” by The Times last year he responded “I was Remain”. And that’s as much as we know
A senior lawyer who campaigns on issues around child sexual exploitation and violence against women, Afzal is also a sought-after TV and radio talking head, something which did for him when he was forced to resign as chief executive of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners in order to appear on Question Time following the Manchester bomb attack. The association said he had signed a contract confirming that he would not do any media without the consent of the board. Has said his work against grooming gangs has led to criticism from “members of the Asian community” and from the far right, adding: “I think if you are getting it from both sides, you are probably getting something right.” Describes his three marriages – to an Irish Catholic, an Indian Hindu then a British Sikh – as “multifaith engagement”, the sauce.
Who? Shadow international trade secretary
Where is he on Brexit? Proud Blairite turned Brownite turned Milifan to now fully paid-up Corbynista, Gardiner’s views on Brexit tend to vary according to whether he knows he’s being recorded or not
One of a handful of shadow ministers trusted by Team Corbyn to do big media appearances, the chameleon-like Gardiner tends to keep to the ‘constructive ambiguity’ line while Keir Starmer occasionally hints at a second referendum. Slapped down London mayor Sadiq Khan’s call for the latter at the weekend, saying Labour should instead focus its efforts on trying to “change the government” rather than campaign for a fresh vote. Was recorded at a private Brussels meeting earlier this year saying one of Labour’s six Brexit tests – to leave the single market while retaining all its benefits – “always has been bollocks and it remains it”. Retains Corbyn’s support while not being one of his inner circle as he’s publicly ultra-loyal and hates the media. Looks like Timothy Claypole from Rentaghost.
Who? Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Where is he on Brexit? Most anti of any party leader. Told his party’s conference this week it was “not inevitable… and it must be stopped” in a speech somewhat undermined by an unfortunate malapropism
A long-time Europhile, the former coalition business secretary said this week that March 29 next year – the date the UK is set to leave the EU – was “only a maybe” as there was a growing realisation that Brexit would be “costly and painful”, particularly in a no-deal scenario. An unambiguous backer of a second vote. Said earlier this month that he would step down as Lib Dem leader after Brexit was ‘resolved or stopped’ after a tough time at the tiller during which he has hardly sought to dampen down talks of a new centrist party in British politics. Indeed, missed a key Brexit vote in the Commons in July as he was having “a confidential private discussion” with “people in other parties”, leading wags to suggests that Cable had spent so many years seeking to undermine Lib Dem leaders behind their backs he had forgotten it was now actually him.
Who? Daily Telegraph associate editor and “one of the UK’s leading royal experts”, according to her website
Where is she on Brexit? Hardline Brexiteer. Says “the public voted for Brexit” a lot
Former Sunday Express political editor who decamped to the Telegraph in the summer to take up the position of Associate Editor (Politics and Royals), or “Daily Telegraph Editor” as she shortens it to on her personal website. Detail-light but rhetoric-high, says that the public “did know what they were voting for, because they haven’t changed their mind”. Claimed to have been proved right on Brexit last year when she visited the EU’s seats of power in Brussels apparently for the first time and found it hard to get 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?).” Appeared on Question Time in May when she complained about being outnumbered by Remainers.
Who? Vice chairman of the Conservative Party for policy
Where is he on Brexit? Opposed Brexit during the referendum campaign. Now says “we must recognise the advantages that Brexit can bring, but let us never be defined by it”
Solid Tory loyalist who was one of 13 new vice-chairmen of the Conservative Party appointed by the prime minister as part of her January reshuffle. Has warned that the Tories had “got to be cautionary about how we approach Brexit if that’s going to allow a certain faction in the party to dominate in the future,” adding, just in case Jacob Rees-Mogg wasn’t sure he was talking about him, “while we are leaving the EU, it doesn’t give everyone a carte blanche to suddenly come up with hardline ideas”. (Actually, Rees-Mogg would have balked at the indefinite article before carte blanche). A historian who is a particular expert on the Battle of Bosworth, he was elected an MP since 2010 and served as a PPS to the chancellor and minister for the constitution without anyone really noticing.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland).