Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight? Here’s your full guide
It’s another virtual Question Time, with audience members submitting questions via video. But who’s on the panel? Here’s your complete guide…
Who? Junior Foreign Office minister
Former soldier Cleverly used to be a practically weekly presence on Question Time as party chairman, a pugnacious bruiser and little-remembered former prime minister Theresa May’s chief defender of the indefensible. Quickly transferring his personal loyalty wholesale from May to Boris Johnson, he was rewarded in February with the role of minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa, a role in Johnson’s Splendid Isolation Britain broadly on a par with minister for C60 cassettes. Not short of self-confidence, asked in 2015 who should succeed David Cameron as Tory party leader when he stood down, he responded: ‘Me.’ Has admitted smoking exotic herbal cigarettes and watching special adult film time online. Often referred to as living proof of the fallibility of nominative determinism.
Who? Shadow foreign secretary
Wigan MP who ran for the Labour leadership on a ticket of politicians having never been further from the people, despite the fact that it was well into the 20th century that MPs deigned to even regularly visit the constituencies they represented, let alone live in them or hold weekly surgeries. Rewarded with the relatively plum role of shadow foreign secretary by Keir Starmer. Shadow energy secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, she quit in June 2016 and later co-chaired Owen Smith’s campaign for the leadership. This week criticised Boris Johnson’s decision to improve Britain’s international development efforts by shutting down the department which deals with them, saying it was ‘extraordinary that in the middle of a global crisis, the UK is retreating from the world’, which rather suggests she hasn’t been paying attention to the government’s direction of travel over the past four years.
Who? Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman
Tonight’s second MP to represent a seat synonymous with one of the codes of rugby, Wilson succeeded Vince Cable in his Twickenham seat last year. A former tax consultant, lobbyist and former strategic account manager at NHS Digital according to a suspiciously thorough and well-maintained Wikipedia entry, she was handed the health portfolio by acting leader Ed Davey. Tweeted earlier this month that she had shown her husband, who had never heard of race-baiting 1970s sitcom Mind Your Language, an episode on YouTube, adding: ‘My dad used to watch it every week and thought it was hilarious’. As did, almost certainly, the claret-faced men who made up most of the pre-pandemic Question Time audience. This week’s worthy-but-unlikely-to-get-clipped-up-for-Twitter panellist.
Who? TV writer, producer, director and novelist
The creator of TV shows including Line Of Duty, Bodyguard and – probably less prominent on his CV – The Grimleys, Mercurio is also a former hospital doctor, so may be uniquely qualified to talk about handling of the coronavirus crisis. Retired from the profession after scripting the BBC drama Cardiac Arrest under the pseudonym John MacUre and has since gone on to create a heap of water cooler TV in the days we worked in offices and had water coolers. Tweeted last week that: ‘Good science could’ve saved thousands of UK lives. The reasons it didn’t, or wasn’t allowed to, are complex, important and must be examined.’ Has also said that ‘if Cummings asked them to, ministers would eat a bat on live TV’, and if anybody has the power behind the scenes to get such a programme commissioned, it would be Jed Mercurio.
Who? Businessman and part-owner and chairman of Crystal Palace FC
The chairman of the South London club, currently flying high in 11th place in the Premier League, Parish is also possibly the only person in football who believes Brexit will be good for the English game. Told the i newspaper: ‘Imagine the choice for me if I can sign an 18-year-old prospect from anywhere in the world, instead of realistically just from the two or three big leagues in Europe. Kids from America, kids from Peru, kids from Uruguay, kids from Argentina, kids from all over the world.’ So you might lose your job, but at least Crystal Palace will be able to sign more kids from America. Taking over the erstwhile ‘team of the eighties’ in 2010, he has been credited as one of the people who have got the Premier League up and running around so the nation could unite around a 0-0 draw between Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.25pm in Northern Ireland)