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 Guildford in Surrey, hometown of The Stranglers. Will there be a European Female on the panel – or just another case of No More Heroes? Here’s who’s who and where they stand on Brexit…
Who? Deputy chairman of the Conservative Party
Where is he on Brexit? A backer of the hardline Leave Means Leave group, he is an enthusiastic backer of “reconnecting with the Commonwealth” with its “shared language, common law tradition, diaspora networks and historic cultural links”
A former soldier, Cleverly was handed the role of Tory deputy chairman in January on the basis they are hopeless on social media and he appeared to know how to work Tweetdeck. A partisan bruiser, he publicly questioned earlier this week whether a no-deal Brexit would really harm the economy, although his position in the party means he has urged wavering Brexiteer cabinet ministers to stand by Theresa May’s Chequers policy rather than walk out. Has warned colleagues about how they speak to people worried about leaving the EU, saying ‘we can’t laugh at them and say ‘you’re snowflake hippie Remainers'”, a caution which has fallen on deaf ears. 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 time online.
Sir Keir Starmer
Who? Shadow Brexit secretary
Where is he on Brexit? Anti. Had urged Labour colleagues not to ‘look back in grief’ at the 2016 vote but instead try to fight for the best possible deal, but flirted with the notion of a second referendum with Remain on the table at party conference last month
Seen as one of the adults in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, the former director of public prosecutions has been steadily shifting Labour’s Brexit policy while his leader concentrates on the important business of having selfies taken. Starmer, on Labour’s soft left, won plaudits at the party’s conference after deviating from a draft version of his speech and saying “nobody is ruling out Remain as an option” in a fresh referendum, just hours after shadow chancellor John McDonnell said any vote should be on the terms of a Brexit deal rather than staying in the EU. No Corbynista, some around King Jeremy’s table view Starmer’s keeping his nose clean and quietly ploughing his lone furrow as evidence of plans for a future leadership bid; others ascribe it to the fact he is simply very, very boring.
Who? Comedian, actor and radio presenter
Where he is on Brexit? A “whingeing, unfunny, remoaning, anti-Brexit BBC ethnic poster boy”. His words
A rising star of stand-up, Kumar has written of being told to “go home” while on stage at London’s Comedy Store the night after the Brexit vote, saying “no one has told me to go home for 16 years, and I assumed the idea had been forgotten”. The presenter of the BBC’s Mash Report, often described as a British Last Week Tonight in the way that 1990s Denise van Outen sitcom Babes in the Wood was a British Seinfeld, some of his down-the-camera monologues have gone viral. In particular, he has urged people to stop using Brexiteer as an insult as “it sounds like Musketeer and makes them sound too cool” and described headbanger MEP Daniel Hannan as “the inspiration for the film Boss Baby”. As a “representative of the younger generation” asked older Leave voters: ‘Why do you hate us? Was it fidget spinners? Was it the Kaiser Chiefs, was it the Star Wars prequels? We hate them too.’
Who? Conservative peer and writer of House of Cards
Where is he on Brexit? Ardent Brexiteer. Has said that the EU “serves the privileged – top politicians, civil servants, international bankers, big businessmen”. Reminder – Lord Dobbs is a Conservative member of the House of Lords
Yes, two Tory Brexiteers this week. That’ll go down well, won’t it? The writer of the original House of Cards novels and executive producer of the more recent and hugely successful US TV version, Dobbs was a long-time servant of the Conservative Party acting as an adviser to Margaret Thatcher, speechwriter, special adviser and chief of staff. Was dubbed “Westminster’s baby-faced hitman” by the Guardian. Has said Remainers “say that Britain is too insignificant on its own to succeed”, an argument made by literally nobody. And there’s more: “We are being threatened with biblical punishments, everything from a plague of boils to the elimination of our first born and – would you believe it? – even the outbreak of war.” Bonkers, then? You might think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.
Zanny Minton Beddoes
Who? Editor-in-chief of The Economist
Where is she on Brexit? Firmly anti. The Economist came out early and firmly against Brexit and continues to rage against it in its pages
The 17th, and first female, editor-in-chief of the magazine which continues to insist it’s a newspaper, Minton Beddoes is this week’s token person who might actually know what they’re talking about. A former advisor to Poland’s finance minister and economist at the International Monetary Fund, she took the helm at the Economist in 2015 having previously been responsible for coverage of global economics and business. Has steered the magazine in an explicitly anti-Brexit direction, earning it thundering rebukes in Dacre-era Daily Mail editorial columns, which must have been baffling for readers who had never heard of the magazine and only buy the paper for Fred Bassett. Blotted her copybook in some eyes by hosting a conversation with beetroot-faced US populist Steve Bannon at the magazine’s Open Future festival last month.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland).