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 Milford Haven’s Torch Theatre, which next February plays host to Max Boyce. But will the panel be speaking their minds – or will they all have spin doctors’ papers? Here’s who’s who and where they stand on Brexit…
Who? At the time of writing, minister of state for business, energy and industrial strategy
Where is she on Brexit? Remain campaigner who described some fellow Tories as being “like jihadis” in their support for a hard Brexit. Now pretends she thinks it’s all going well
With the government teetering on the brink of collapse, the Conservatives tonight field Claire Perry, which is the political equivalent of Graham Taylor chucking on Alan Smith when England were about to go out to Sweden at Euro 92. A fervent Remainer, she wrote on her website that “Brexit was not the result I wanted, nor the outcome I believe is best for our country” (the page now delivers “oops, you’ve landed on a page that doesn’t exist”). Now as a minister attending Cabinet falls back on the turnout argument, saying “more people voted to leave the EU than have voted for any prime minister in British history, which is quite compelling”. Did, however, break ranks last month to warn that a no-deal Brexit would be ‘catastrophic’ and ‘a way of crashing the economy’. Oxford contemporary George Monbiot said Perry was “a firebrand who wanted to nationalise the banks and overthrow capitalism”. She went on to work for Bank of America, McKinsey and Credit Suisse.
Who? Labour MP for Aberavon
Where is he on Brexit? Fervent Remainer who has made the case for Britain to transition into the European Economic Area (EEA)
A committed Europhile, Kinnock defied the Labour whip earlier this year to back a Lords amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill instructing Theresa May to negotiate a deal keeping Britain inside the EEA. The husband of former Danish prime minister Helle Thorrning-Schmidt is no Corbynista and his appearance has already set the true believers into a frenzy on Twitter, fuming there’s no Labour representative on tonight’s panel #BiasedBBC #BlairiteBroadcastingCorporation. Has described his party’s official stance as “some kind of smoke and mirrors”, saying, not inaccurately, “I just don’t understand how you could have an EU referendum without the option of staying in the EU being on the table — just absurd”. Another source of Corbynista ire is the fact that he is the son of Neil Kinnock – a man who, in their rewriting of Labour history, was an ardent Thatcherite who shucked oysters on Rupert Murdoch’s yacht every weekend.
Liz Saville Roberts
Who? Westminster leader of Plaid Cymru
Where is she on Brexit? Strong Remainer, like the rest of her party. Campaigning for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal
Plaid Cymru’s first female MP, London-born Saville Roberts is little-known outside of Wales and hardly a household name there. Has accused the prime minister of using Brexit to mount a “power grab” to undermine devolution, transferring power back from Brussels to Westminster rather than the devolved legislatures. Yesterday joined Corbyn, the SNP’s Ian Blackford and Lib Dem Vince Cable to sign a joint letter to the prime minister seeking assurances over the ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit agreement. A former councillor in Gwynedd, she has hinted at standing for the Welsh Assembly in 2021, last month became the first person to speak Irish in the House of Commons since 1901 and, it turns out, is an incredibly difficult person to write even a semi-humorous Question Time preview about. Destined to be “the Welsh woman” on Twitter tonight.
Who? General secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union
Where is he on Brexit? Anti. Has backed calls for a People’s Vote
A hard-left bruiser, Serwotka told the TUC in September that as much as he hated Chuka Umunna it was possible to be on the same side as him in regard to a People’s Vote without being on the same side as the Streatham MP politically. Was criticised by RMT chief Mick Cash, who said those calling for a vote were “your Chuka Umunnas, your Chris Leslies, your Peter Mandelsons, your Tony Blairs, the Lib Dems”. A former member of the Socialist Alliance and Respect, Serwotka rejoined Labour in 2016, 25 years after being expelled, saying Corbyn was the “first Labour leader in a generation who unequivocally supports the unions”. Has called for Corbyn’s critics to be deselected as MPs. Also suggested Israel manufactured Labour’s anti-semitism row in a recording beginning “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but”, as all sentences which start like that tend to end well.
Who? Journalist and historian
Where is he on Brexit? Brexiteer. Penned a Telegraph column headlined “Brexit isn’t about nostalgia. It’s about ambition. Trust me, I’m a historian”
A columnist and leader writer for the Telegraph and a regular Thought for the Day and Moral Maze contributor, Stanley stood for Labour at the 2005 general election before taking the full-on Melanie Phillips route and eventually transferring his allegiance to the US Republican Party. Wrote in 2016 that the “one thing I find most exciting about Brexit is it gives us the chance to start over again, to write a new chapter in our country’s history”. Now wrings his hands at Theresa May’s handling of the negotiations, lamenting “a Brexit shaped by both this woman’s remarkable strength of will and her catastrophic lack of political vision”. Has, in fact, and like Stephen Kinnock, made the case for Britain to transition into the EEA, if only temporarily. Looks like Justin Trudeau, which must really, really annoy him.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland), provided Jacob Rees-Mogg hasn’t already seized control of the country and privatised it by then
Get the perfect gift for yourself or a Remainer in your life – The New European delivered to your door every week plus exclusive Christmas cards. Subscribe here and support the only newspaper made for Remainers