Who is on Question Time tonight and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s your guide…
David Dimbleby hosts the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme for the final time tonight, before a much-hyped, budget-blowing CGI scene in which he regenerates as Fiona Bruce. But aside from a final chance to hear the only man left in Britain to still refer to glasses as spectacles, who’s on the panel – and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s your guide to the line-up in Southwark, South London…
Who? Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden
Where is he on Brexit? Arch-Brexiteer who served 16 months as Theresa May’s Brexit secretary, during which time his resignation threats literally outnumbered his meetings with opposite number Michel Barnier
A lifelong Eurosceptic, Davis has campaigned for Britain’s exit from the EU his entire political career, making the arguments, playing a prominent role in the referendum campaign and eventually being handed the opportunity by Theresa May to be the man to implement it – only for it to turn out he couldn’t be arsed. An esoteric choice for one of May’s most important Cabinet roles – he was previously best-known for resigning as an MP and sparking a by-election in 2008 for reasons he himself would probably be stretched to remember – he boasted he wasn’t appointed for “my intellect” and that he “doesn’t have to be very clever” to do the job. Was later pictured sat opposite a well-prepared Barnier and his team clutching hefty folders while Davis himself did not have so much as a pen. Continued to show his grasp of the brief last month when he claimed the UK would still be able to enter a post-Brexit transition phase even if it failed to reach a withdrawal agreement with the EU.
Who? Shadow education secretary
Where is she on Brexit? Remainer whose Tameside constituents voted heavily for Leave and as such wears her leanings lightly
A tribally loyal Labourite, Rayner is not unique in the shadow cabinet in that her ability to bash her Tory opponents about the head is considerably better than her ability to articulate anything approaching a coherent alternative. Expect lots of talk of “chaos” and “shambles” and demands for a no-confidence vote, while simultaneously holding to the line Labour could achieve all the benefits of being in the EU while leaving if only the Absolute Boy and his winning smile were conducting negotiations in Brussels. Self-described “soft left”, she backed fellow professional northerner Andy Burnham for the Labour leadership in 2015 only to be one of just 18 MPs to throw her weight behind Jeremy Corbyn when challenged the following year. One of the few genuinely working-class voices at Westminster, she was dubbed “Grangela” after becoming a gran at the age of 37.
Who? Conservative MP for Loughborough
Where is she on Brexit? Firm Remainer and one of the awkward squad christened “Brexit muniteers” in a Daily Telegraph front page last year
The chair of the Commons Treasury Select Committee has one of the most powerful parliamentary watchdog roles and uses it to forensically examine some of the more fantastical claims of May (who sacked her as education secretary) and the Brexiteers around her. A former City lawyer, she has said that “jobs and the economy should be prioritised — and not immigration”. Has publicly backed May’s floundering Brexit deal, saying “the most likely alternative is we leave the EU with no deal at all. And I believe that would be deeply damaging to our economy and our constituents”. But has simultaneously mused vaguely about a government of national unity or “a special select committee of senior members of parliament to hammer out what we mean”. Warned today that some of the most hardline Brexiteers were ‘going to walk’ from the Tory Party, without sounding unduly concerned.
Who? Green MP for Brighton Pavilion
Where is she on Brexit? Ardent Remainer and campaigner for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal
The two-time leader of the Green Party – who most people probably think still is the leader, as much as anyone thinks about who the leader of the Green Party is – is one of the most articulate voices calling for a People’s Vote while Jeremy Corbyn tends to his allotment and Vince Cable does whatever it is Vince Cable does these days. Won plaudits during Channel 4’s recent and futile debate show by reminding Jacob Rees-Mogg that he himself had once called for a second referendum and then, when the haunted tree denied it, producing a transcript of the comments showing he did. Told a rally earlier this year that it was a ‘precious gift to be able to travel, work, study and live and love in 27 countries’ and that “we should be celebrating freedom of movement, not apologising for it.” Fulfils Question Time’s green quotient for the next couple of years.
Who? Comedian, writer and actor
Where is she on Brexit? Remainer. One of almost 300 artists who signed a letter opposing Brexit in the run-up to the referendum, causing the vein in Paul Dacre’s neck to pulsate more violently than normal
Part of the Saturday Night alumni who caused an entire generation of older men to spend the 1980s shouting “alternative comedy? It’s an alternative to comedy” at the television in the 1980s, Brand is a Labour supporter turned backer of the Women’s Equality Party. Has said that “many families were split by the Brexit vote and, as far as I’m aware, quite a few family members are still not talking to each other”. Hit the headlines earlier this year when she rebuked Have I Got News For You panellist Ian Hislop for not taking sexual harassment seriously enough (later said “my daughters couldn’t believe it because I trended on Twitter for the day”). The presenter of the Great British Bake Off’s Extra Slice, she recently confessed she doesn’t actually like cake. Likely to win tonight’s most theatrical eye roll as Davis explains how the Irish border problem is actually pretty simple and can be sorted with drones.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland)
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