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 Hull, hometown of both Maureen Lipman and Norman Collier. But who thinks if you’ve got an ology you’re a scientist, and who will wish they had a faulty microphone? Here’s your full guide to the panel and where they stand on Brexit…
Who? Chairman of the Conservative Party
Where is he on Brexit? A backer of the hardline Leave Means Leave group, he is an enthusiastic supporter of “reconnecting with the Commonwealth” with its “shared language, common law tradition, diaspora networks and historic cultural links”
Tory party chairman and chief defender of the indefensible, former soldier Cleverly is back on the QT panel having had to wait a whole three weeks since his last appearance. A pugnacious bruiser who quickly transferred his personal loyalty wholesale from Theresa May to Boris Johnson, he can be trusted to spend the evening rattling off the Tory buzz-phrases – “get Brexit done”, “dither and delay”, “two referendums next year with Jeremy Corbyn” – irrespective of their relevance to the question in hand. 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 film time online. Often referred to as living proof of the fallibility of nominative determinism.
Who? Well, quite. Shadow Treasury minister
Where is she on Brexit? Initially woolly but now on board for a second referendum
Third pick for Labour, she replaces Jon Ashworth, who pulled out in protest at an all-male panel, an all-male panel caused by him subbing in for the previously announced Laura Pidcock. Elected to Parliament in 2017, Dodds served 25 days on the backbenches before being promoted to Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow team. Said on Any Questions earlier this year: “Well I guess I’m anti-Brexit. Well no, not guess, I am anti-Brexit. I didn’t think to start with that we should have another vote but the way things have gone I think now we should.” Expect more fiery rhetoric like that tonight. Seen by colleagues as “safe”. Most interesting fact about Anneliese Dodds: she has used the word ‘bricolage’ – the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things that happen to be available – twice in parliamentary debates, making her the only MP to use the word in the past 219 years.
Who? Deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats
Where is he on Brexit? The Lib Dems don’t like it
Defeated candidate for leadership of the Lib Dems, some of whom now mutter darkly they might be performing better had he won, Davey served as energy and climate change secretary in the coalition. Has been at the forefront of the party’s dilution of its core message on Brexit from revoking Article 50 to stopping a Tory majority, telling Sky News: “We want to stop Brexit. That is the policy and we want to do that democratically. The most likely way is us having a People’s Vote. The Lib Dems have led the campaign for a People’s Vote so that’s up to the people.” Was attacked for telling his party’s conference earlier this year that many Leave voters “didn’t really care” about leaving the EU. Speaks French, German and Spanish – the sort of thing to make the heads of some audience members even more puce than usual.
Who? Leader of the SNP in the House of Commons
Where is he on Brexit? Strongly anti, along with the rest of his party
A former banker who was seen as initially struggling to fill the considerable shoes of his predecessor Angus Robertson as the nationalists’ man in London, Blackford is now a surer performer. Boris Johnson’s three PMQs so far have showed his strategy vis-à-vis the SNP is to remind people that they favour Scottish independence – so like Theresa May, but louder and, the polls would indicate, even more counterproductively. A former banker with a curious habit of referring to himself as “a humble crofter”, Blackford has described the election as “Scotland’s chance to demand better, end austerity, escape Brexit and shut the Tory party out of Scotland once and for all”. Last year led a walk-out of SNP MPs from the Chamber during PMQs for arcane reasons nobody, possibly including those involved, can remember.
Who? Chairman of the Brexit Party and MEP for the East of England
Where is he on Brexit? He’s the chairman of the Brexit Party
Businessman who told the Commons’ Treasury Committee in 2016 that “the Norwegian Option, the Swiss Option, the Canadian Option – all these suggested outcomes would be preferable to remaining inside the EU”. Now chair of the party which pursues the crash-and-burn, sever-all-links, brick-up-the-Channel-Tunnel no-deal Brexit which the British public desires and was under absolutely no illusions what they were voting for in the referendum. Co-founder of the hardline Leave.EU campaign group with Arron Banks, he made his money in housing development and debt advice and was previously a large donor to the Conservative Party. Showed his commitment to Leave in all its forms last year when he left his wife for sort-of journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who broke the story of the leaked cables which brought down the US ambassador Sir Kim Darroch.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.25pm in Northern Ireland)