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 Halifax, where, in 1938, there were fears of a serial killer in the town – fears which were allayed when it turned out that people had been inflicting wounds on themselves in an act of mass hysteria. In unrelated news, 78 years later the town voted 59-41% in favour of Brexit. Anyway, here’s tonight’s panel and where they stand…
Who? Chief secretary to the Treasury
Where is she on Brexit? Backed Remain in the referendum but has since changed her mind, saying warnings of “massive economic problems” had “not come to pass” despite Brexit having, you know, not happened yet
Remainer turned enthusiastic Leaver who backs Boris Johnson for the Tory leadership. Tipped as his chancellor after accompanying him to various bridge-building round-robins with business after he told them to f**k themselves (we paraphrase, very slightly). This week accused the EU of bluffing when it warned there would be no implementation period without a withdrawal agreement being passed, even though that is literally the legal position. A former environment secretary, she came under fire after moving to Justice in 2016 when she was accused by the legal profession of failing to defend the judges accused of being “enemies of the people” by the Daily Mail over the Article 50 legal case. Founder of the pro-market Free Enterprise Group, her name remains indelibly linked with two things: calling for children to learn “the proper names of animals” and a meme-spawning speech in 2014 when she reacted to the news Britain imported two thirds of its cheese with the staccato delivery: “That. Is. A. Disgrace.”
Who? Labour MP for Don Valley
Where is she on Brexit? Remain backer in 2016, now one of the Labour MPs in a Leave-voting constituency backing a hard Brexit
A former minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, she quit the government in 2009, accusing the latter of treating her as “window dressing”. Now one of those Labour MPs for northern constituencies fighting for their voters who (a) have been disenfranchised by Westminster and (b) are happy to lose their livelihoods as long as full legislative sovereignty is restored to Westminster. Said earlier this week that she would defy Jeremy Corbyn to help Boris Johnson pass a Brexit deal if he became prime minister, saying: “I think the health of the nation needs us to agree a deal and move on.” Also revealed that she would prefer to line up alongside Mark Francois and see a no-deal Brexit than vote to revoke Article 50 and kill off plans to leave the EU altogether, adding: “I won’t be voting to revoke Article 50… If that is where we end up, that is where I will be.” Came under fire in 2009 when, as Europe minister, she admitted she hadn’t read the Lisbon Treaty. Leading the attack was her opposite number, the foaming-at-the-mouth Europhobe… Mark Francois. Funny old game, politics.
Who? Managing director of Iceland Foods Group
Where is he on Brexit? Expressed his disappointment earlier this year that Theresa May’s withdrawal deal had been voted down by Parliament
A hip young gunslinger in the frozen foods world – not only does he have a Twitter account, its header shows him skateboarding – he has been MD of the erstwhile Bejam (ask your parents, kids) for more than four years. A World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, whatever that is, the 38-year-old worked his way up from being the son of the founder and CEO of Iceland, Sir Malcolm Walker, via time at Durham University and a spell as Iceland’s business director. Told BBC Radio Wales early this year: “A ‘no-deal’ scenario wouldn’t be great because there would be friction at the borders, but people forget we’re the fifth biggest economy in the world and I’ve no doubt that in the long term that we’d trade our way through it, but in the short term it would cause a lot of disruption.” A campaigner on environmental issues, says “failing to take urgent action on the environment will affect all our lives — and the lives of future generations — for ever”. So sound on ecological matters, but on the other hand does flog kebab pizzas for a quid.
Who? Comedian, broadcaster, commentator and former Labour advisor
Where is she on Brexit? Remainer who has described the Conservatives as “the equivalent of a circular firing squad” while Jeremy Corbyn “has a massive bridge to sell you, with a unicorn waiting for each and every one of you on the other side”
Comedian-turned-advisor-turned-comedian-turned-commentator, Hazarika is a Labour moderate who opposed Corbyn’s leadership but has since said she “got it wrong” and urged fellow centrists to “find peace with him”. Spent eight years as a Labour adviser under Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman, doing a mean impression of the former. Urged her party leader earlier this year to “step up” and back a second referendum, saying: “It’s no secret Jeremy Corbyn is a lifelong Eurosceptic. He’s voted against the EU many, many times in Parliament, but there is a growing view whether you’re on the Remain side or the Leave side that Brexit is looking like a disaster.” Has suggested Corbyn will miss May, saying “although they can’t stand each other and have nothing in common, they share an undeniable bond: they are perfectly and uniquely matched in their inadequacies as leader. They are the only other human being who makes the other look good.” Is a regular paper review partner of…
Tom Newton Dunn
Who? Political editor of The Sun
Where is he on Brexit? Political editor of Britain’s most Brexit-cheerleading red-top, some colleagues say Newton Dunn voted Remain
Newton Dunn – Thomas Zoltan Newton Dunn according to Wikipedia, showing anyone can insert any old made-up middle name – has been The Currant Bun’s political editor since 2009. Previously at the Telegraph and Mirror, he is the son of Bill Newton Dunn, a Conservative MEP who defected to the Liberal Democrats in 2000 over the former’s Euroscepticism, and sniffier Sun colleagues say Newton Dunn Junior voted Remain in the 2016 referendum. Earlier this year explained how ministers leak information to lobby journalists, telling the Today programme: “You don’t ring up a minister and ask ‘will you leak this to me?’ You say to him, ‘look, if I was to write… and I think that this happened, would I look particularly silly?’ And then the minister says to you ‘I don’t think you look particularly silly Tom at the best of times’.” A story-getter rather than a cor blimey merchant, tweeted last week: “We’ve had some bat shit crazy weeks in British politics of late, but this one really has now topped the lot. I’m going for a drink.” Which, to be fair, could be any week. Hic!
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.25pm in Northern Ireland)