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Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?

Question Time presenter Fiona Bruce. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

Who is on Question Time tonight? Here’s your guide…

The BBC’s flagship current affairs programme tonight comes from Dundee, home of the Beano. But who’ll win over the audience’s affections like Dennis the Menace – and who’ll be wantonly offensive and racially inappropriate like Little Plum? Here’s your complete guide to the panel…

Tom Tugendhat

Who? Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling and chair of the Commons Foreign Affairs select committee

A soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tugendhat was a Remain backer who went on to vote for Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement three times – enough to mark him out as questionable among the loopier elements of the European Research Group. Lord alone what the likes of Mark Francois and Andrew Bridgen would make of it if they knew he also holds dual French citizenship and speaks Arabic. Re-elected chair of the Foreign Affairs committee last month, he joined his German counterpart in calling for a post-Brexit “treaty of friendship” between the two nations. That sound you hear is Tory MP Andrew Rosindell spewing up his 100% Essex-produced English red wine. One of the most vocal opponents of letting Huawei build parts of the UK’s 5G infrastructure, he has compared it to “letting the fox into the hen house”. This week advocated a new law to punish treason, which is a bit brave considering what most of his colleagues think.

Ian Murray

Who? Labour MP for Edinburgh South and contender for the party’s deputy leadership

Labour’s only remaining MP in Scotland, Murray declared his candidacy for the party’s deputy leadership in early January, leading Corbynista outrider and Canary editor Kerry-Anne Mendoza to tweet of her party’s only successful Caledonian candidate “I don’t even know who this guy is. I’m not even joking”. Yes, Murray is one of those evil centrists you hear about lurking on street corners – a member of Progress who has told Labour members “not to vote for me if they are happy with the current position of the Labour Party; or if you believe we won the argument at the general election; or if they want more of the same”. Which means he won’t win, but hey-ho. This week mocked rival Richard Burgon’s plan to distribute socialist tracts outside Bethnal Green Tube station, saying: “We are a party aspiring to be in government, not a protest movement handing out newspapers outside train stations.”

Joanna Cherry

Who? SNP spokeswoman on home affairs and justice

MP for Edinburgh South West since 2015, Cherry is best-known south of Hadrian’s Wall as the leading litigant in the Scottish court case challenging the prorogation of Parliament by Boris Johnson, which ultimately resulted in its quashing. A QC, she set up the Lawyers For Yes group which campaigned in the Scottish independence referendum. Now is calling on the Scottish Government to draft legislation for a consultative vote in lieu of an official second referendum in a direct challenge to Downing Street and, to a certain extent, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP leadership. A pin-up girl of the independence movement, she is nevertheless unpopular among some activists after saying that people of certain genders can’t have this, that or whatnot, and in the interests of our Twitter mentions we’ll leave it at that.

Val McDermid

Who? Crime writer best known for a series of suspense novels featuring Dr Tony Hill

Remain voter who said in 2016 that she would vote for both practical and cultural reasons: on the former it would be easier to protect writers’ rights and revenues while on the latter it enhanced Britain’s culture, making it deeper and wider. Said “the last thing we should do is look inward”. But did say it would create a “strong groundswell” for a second Scottish independence referendum – something she might welcome, having backed Leave in 2014 (she admitted before the vote that she was going public “with a degree of trepidation”). A socialist and radical feminist often described as the “titan of tartan noir”, the Edinburgh native made headlines in 2018 when she said tourism was “tearing up the fabric of the city” which was becoming “intolerable” for locals – or, indeed, anyone who wants to walk down the Royal Mile in August without having a flyer for a tap dance interpretation of Uncle Buck thrust in their hands.

Alex Massie

Who? Freelance journalist

Writer for every title under the sun, accordingly to a remarkably well-maintained Wikipedia page, Massie is more specifically Scotland editor of the Spectator, a columnist for the Scottish edition of the Times and a shortlisted entrant for the Orwell Prize for political writing back in the simpler times of 2012. Remember 2012? Harked back to Orwell’s maxim of everybody being “capable of believing things which we know to be untrue” last month when he wrote about “Jeremy Corbyn’s remaining acolytes witter[ing] on about ‘winning the argument’ in last month’s general election”, Nicola Sturgeon’s insistence “despite plainly observable reality, there will be another referendum on independence this year” and Boris Johnson’s belief “a better trading relationship with the EU than that we have hitherto enjoyed will be established and implemented by the end of December”. On a very Scottish night, to misquote another very English author, Massie is tonight’s a plague o’ all your houses panellist.

Question Time is on BBC One at 10.35pm tonight (11.15pm in Northern Ireland)

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