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 Nottingham, home of comedy actor Mathew Horne. But who will capture the nation’s hearts like Gavin & Stacey – and who will be an ignominious flop like Lesbian Vampire Killers? Here’s who’s on the panel and where they stand on Brexit…
Who? Crime minister
Where is she on Brexit? Remain backer who said staying in the EU would mean ‘more jobs, lower prices and greater security’. Now a loyal backer of Theresa May’s widely unloved withdrawal deal
A little-known minister who only entered Parliament four years ago, Atkins was an ardent Remain backer who says she accepts ‘I was on the losing side of the argument’. Now says: ‘The agreement reached provides a pragmatic way for the UK to leave the EU, it releases us from the European Union structures whilst protecting people and jobs.’ Expect more of that fiery rhetoric tonight. Made headlines last year when she confessed she didn’t know how many police officers there are in the country, saying: ‘It’s um, um, I’m not going to hazard a guess.’ The daughter of former Tory MP Sir Robert Atkins, the plummy minister is a relative centrist seen as a safe if soporific media performer by spin doctors. Possibly the single only interesting thing about her is she once told Parliament she owns a cat called Gaston the Turbo Snail.
Who? Shadow health secretary
Where is he on Brexit? Said before the referendum that a Leave vote could lead to the ‘unravelling’ of the EU and precipitate ‘decades of darkness’ for the continent. Now a softer Remainer ambivalent on a second referendum
Jon Ashworth. You know, Jon Ashworth? The shadow health secretary? The Labour frontbencher has remained largely imperceptible to the electorate despite shadowing the subject routinely shown to have the most emotional heft. Backed Yvette Cooper for the Labour leadership, but has since been to a re-education camp and is a loyal Corbyn backer. Has described Brexiteers as ‘a bunch of clowns’, saying that ‘these guys have landed us in this mess. They’ve told we are going to have all this money for the NHS with their stupid bus’. Says of any second referendum that ‘the Labour Party is a party in favour of Remain, so I think we’d campaign to Remain. We would have a democratic discussion in the party but I am pretty convinced.’ Which is reassuring. Once caught out when he didn’t know how much an NHS prescription cost, saying ‘God, that’s terrible, that is’.
Sir Vince Cable
Who? Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Where is he on Brexit? Arch Remainer. Lib Dems like to sing ‘Theresa May’s not strong and stable, exit Brexit with Vince Cable’
Former business secretary who was elected leader in July 2017 and immediately embarked on some kind of Rip Van Winkle impersonation, the Lib Dems are nevertheless the only mainstream party going into May’s election unequivocally in favour of revoking Brexit. Said last September he would quit ‘once Brexit is resolved or stopped’, but has since said he will step down after May’s polls, saying: ‘It now looks as if it will be a protracted process, and may never happen.’ Has attacked Change UK and the Greens for refusing to field joint candidates in the European elections, saying it ‘would be better, I think, from the point of view of the supporters of British membership of the EU if we were fighting together under the same banner’. Published a novel, Open Arms, in which he said the sex scenes were ‘very discreet’.
Who? Green MP for Brighton Pavilion. No longer the party’s leader, although everyone thinks she is
Where is she on Brexit? Firmly against, Lucas was one of the few MPs to vote against triggering Article 50 and continues to urge resistance to Britain’s EU departure
The two-time and almost certain future Green leader has described the EU as more democratic than Westminster, labelled the government’s interpretation of Brexit ‘extreme’ and called its implementation ‘a tragic farce’. Has said of the Conservatives: ‘Their leadership of the country has utterly unravelled, and their arrogant insistence that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and repeated refusal to rule out a ‘no deal’ scenario shows that they have been hijacked by the hardliners.’ On Corbyn – who she oddly backed for the Labour leadership – has said ‘on this, I think he’s got it wrong, he’s letting people down and he’s letting his own party down’. Has an unfortunate habit of using her meagre media opportunities to bemoan the meagre media opportunities the Greens get.
Who? Welsh actor best known for the Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones films
Where is he on Brexit? Hardline Brexiteer who supports no deal. Says ‘there was never a good Brexit deal to be had. The EU has nothing to gain by letting Britain get away from it’
The 74-year-old best known for playing Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy says Theresa May ‘either goes down as a Remainer and keeps digging in, in which point she’ll merit a very small footnote as a totally useless prime minister. Or she will go down in history as being the woman who actually brought Britain out of the EU and, no matter whether it’s disaster or victory, she will merit a chapter as being the most significant British politician since Winston Churchill’. Sparked a storm in 2004 when he told an interviewer that Europe’s Muslim population was a ‘demographic catastrophe’ threatening ‘Western civilisation’, comments that saw him appearing on BNP leaflets handed out to cinema-goers. Attempted to defend himself by saying he didn’t want to live in a society where ‘my granddaughters have their fingernails pulled out because they are wearing nail varnish’.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.35pm tonight