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 Exeter’s Northcott Theatre, which next month plays host to The League of Gentleman. But who’s serving the special stuff – and who thinks Britain is a local country for local people? Here’s your guide…
Who? Parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Brexit department
Where is she on Brexit? Fanatical Brexiteer and former chief of the hardline European Research Group of Tory MPs
A vocal and troublesome Brexiteer, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s predecessor at headbangers’ society the ERG was brought into government in a junior role in January, recalling Lyndon Johnson’s quote about J. Edgar Hoover (“Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in”). With power dawns reality: having previously said leaving the EU with no deal would be ‘great’ for Britain, last month admitted it could hand over its £39bn Brexit divorce bill without securing any conditions for future trade. Has said that in 15 years’ time, Brexit ‘will be seen as the best thing that has happened to our country’. Standard reaction to any fears from business is to point out that vacuum cleaner man James Dyson supports Brexit – expect that one to get another airing tonight.
Who? Shadow Treasury minister
Where is he on Brexit? Soft remainer who resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet last year in response to the leadership whipping the party to support triggering Article 50. Returned to the frontbench earlier this year
A committed Corbynista who appeared to doubt his faith last year, Lewis quit the shadow cabinet over Article 50 and called for a vote on the final deal (“anything less will see our country hopelessly divided long into the future”). Following Labour’s unexpectedly strong general election showing, though, Lewis praised Corbyn’s ambiguous approach to Brexit, saying the result “vindicate[s] the leadership for taking the kind of position they have to try and hold both parts of the country together”. Said to be fiercely ambitious, he is now fully back on board with Project Absolute Boy. A former BBC journalist who has since admitted to inserting bias “in a very subtle way”, he got into trouble following an event at a Labour conference fringe event last year in which he told the actor Sam Swann to ‘get on your knees bitch’.
Who? Media personality, journalist, broadcaster and friend of Elton John
Where is she on Brexit? Not on the record how she voted
Incredibly for someone paid to loudly pontificate, Street-Porter’s view of Brexit isn’t that easy to gauge – last year all the Loose Women panellists said they were ‘too scared’ to tell viewers how they voted. Wrote after the referendum that “the result defies reason” and “flies in the face of expert advice from business people and thousands of sage words from the great and the good” and that farmers’ “ire should be directed at the supermarkets, not the EU”. But in the same piece said “what’s exhilarating about the result is this chance to enforce political change”. Last month wrote that the Today programme’s falling figures were the result of a Brexit obsession rather than focusing on the big issue – potholes. Former editor of the late Independent on Sunday. Friends with Elton John. Did you know that? She’s friends with Elton John.
Who? Deputy editor of the New Statesman
Where is she on Brexit? Remainer on Labour’s soft left
Former Daily Mail journalist who repented and joined the New Statesman, Lewis is, like her organ, unsurprisingly anti-Brexit and wrote this week that “the entire country is strapped to a runaway mine cart, and the only option seems to be clinging on and hoping that the eventual crash leads to injuries rather than fatalities. Bailing out would involve a precipitous drop into the unknown. There are no good choices”. Moving on next week to become associate editor of the New Statesman in order to work part-time and write a book and screenplay. You’ve worked out now I haven’t got a digital subscription to the New Statesman to lift more of her views on Brexit, haven’t you? Anyway, seems very thoughtful and sensible, so what she’s doing on this bilious squabblefest is anyone’s guess.
Who? Swedish billionaire businessman and chair and CEO of sportswear firm Head
Where is he on Brexit? Brexiteer who believes Britain holds all the cards in its dealings with the EU
A conservative who nevertheless served as a special representative on deforestation to then PM Gordon Brown (Gordon Brown! Remember him?) for three years, Eliasch is firmly on the ‘they need us more than we need them’ Brexit wing. Following the referendum called on the government to bypass EU institutions, “enter direct negotiations with Germany and France now, be sanguine about the risks of failure, and be quick to draw a line if talks then fail”. Which is fair enough if you’re a billionaire and don’t, say, work in a Welsh aerospace factory. Has ascribed the difficulty of the Brexit talks to “the petulance of eurocrats”. Conservative Party deputy treasurer from 2003 to 2007, he also served as a special advisor to Tory leaders William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, which went well.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.15pm in Northern Ireland).
At The New European, we pride ourselves on the high quality of our contributors and experts, and believe we play a valuable – and much needed – role in media plurality, offering an alternative perspective to the right-wing, anti-EU outlets dominating UK media. We depend on the support of our subscribers and readers to cover our costs. Your contribution, however small or large, will help ensure our sustainability. Please click here to choose a plan.