Who is on Question Time tonight? Here’s your guide
Tonight’s audience-free Question Time virtually comes from Uxbridge – in that they won’t actually be in the West London town, but have sought out video questions from its inhabitants. But who’s on the panel? Here’s your complete guide…
Who? Northern Ireland secretary
One of the most regular media faces in last year’s general election campaign despite both looking and sounding like someone has typed ‘generic Conservative MP’ into a 3D printer and whacked whatever came out in front of a camera, the former Tory Party chair has a curious habit of looking on the verge of falling asleep, A Theresa May loyalist who acted as a buffer between the long-forgotten former prime minister and the pro-Brexit grassroots, he quickly transferred his loyalty wholesale to Boris Johnson. Campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum but following the result said he would now vote Leave, describing himself as ‘first and foremost a democrat’. A candidate for the cabinet’s most boring tweeter (although he did tweet this week that ‘Mrs Lewis has been busy baking a get well soon message for the PM borisjohnsonuk’), Lewis is seen as a solid nightwatchman.
Who? Shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
A Corbynsceptic MP who was condemned to the Gulag under the Absolute Boy’s regime, Reeves’ career has been resuscitated by Keir Starmer as he returns people who are vaguely competent to the frontline. Widely tipped to be shadow chancellor, she has been given the constitutionally important role of keeping an eye on what Michael Gove is up to. Shadow work and pensions secretary under Ed Miliband, she chaired the business, energy and industrial strategy effectively for the past three years, but her appointment has gone down particularly badly with the Corbynite media outriders, who are unaccountably still a thing. Decided she was Labour when she was eight years old and her dad pointed out Neil Kinnock on the television and ‘told us that was who we voted for’.
Who? Professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College
A clinician-scientist working in lung immunology, particularly defence against viral infections, Openshaw is the latest beneficiary of Question Time’s recent policy of sometimes booking guests who might actually know what they’re talking about. He created the academic department of Respiratory Medicine and the Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College and was elected President of the British Society for Immunology in 2014. One of the leading figures in a little-known network of British epidemiologists who have been quietly preparing for another pandemic since the swine flu outbreak of 2009-10, he bought his son the board game Pandemic for Christmas last year as a joke but is now spending ‘all my waking and sleeping hours’ gathering information on the new coronavirus.
Who? Rapper, social commentator and activist
Real name Darren McGarvey, the Glaswegian hip-hop musician and former rapper-in-residence at Police Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit won the Orwell prize for political books in 2018 for his examination of poverty in Britain, Poverty Safari. Used his Daily Record column today to say that ‘gloating about [Boris Johnson] being ill is not the most graceful way to behave, but the idea such sentiment should draw more condemnation than the policies that partly created it is ludicrous’, adding that ‘the well-to-do personalities in the media and online now so predictably corralling everyone to play nice… may have developed herd immunity to the scent of their own bulls**t’. A vocal supporter of Scottish independence, he said earlier this year that ‘strategically’ there should be no rush for another Scottish referendum, which went down about as well as Russ Abbot in a comedy tam o’shanter.
Question Time is on BBC One at 8.05pm tonight