Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight? Here’s your full guide
Tonight’s Question Time is a special one for the young people, with a virtual audience of under-30s asking the questions. But which hep cats, awesome dudes and bodacious babes are on the panel (note to subs – please check this is still how young people speak)?
Who? Chief secretary to the Treasury
A former (and the final) Brexit secretary, Barclay is set to thrill the youngsters tonight with his crazy, rock ‘n’ roll backstory: following a private education and time at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, he went to Cambridge, joined the Conservative Party, trained as an articled clerk and worked in banking before becoming an MP. Appearing on Question Time last month he boasted that 127,000 people had been tested for coronavirus the previous day when the actual figure had been 71,600. Corrected by Fiona Bruce he said ‘That’s right, that’s what I mean’ before trailing off. Still, considered a relatively safe pair of hands by Number 10, which is a polite way of saying he has no independent thought whatsoever – and that’s the way Dominic Cummins likes it.
Who? Shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding
Labour MP who is slightly closer to being a young person than Barclay – she’s 38, but she wears trainers – the MP for Birmingham Yardley ran a short but spirited campaign for the Labour leadership earlier this year but pulled out. Now shadow minister for domestic violence with an official role as The Funny One Who Can Do Shows Like The Last Leg. A thorn in the side of the Corbynistas during the Absolute Boy’s reign who once boasted of telling Diane Abbot to f*ck off in a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting. Asked what Abbot’s response was, Phillips responded: ‘She f*cked off’. A frequent target of online abuse, she has written two books, Everywoman, One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth, and Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on B.S.
Who? Retail magnate and entrepreneur
Also not a young person (he’s 60), Paphitis was also one of the few businessmen with a public persona to vote in favour of Brexit. The Dragon’s Den star wrote before the referendum that ‘I believe that if we vote to leave the EU there’s a very high chance that our friends in the EU will stop and smell the coffee and propose the sort of reforms that many would like to see and would make them comfortable to remain’, suggesting he might be better off sticking to flogging staplers. Later told Forbes Cyprus magazine that the handling of Brexit had had repercussions on the country’s overall business environment, saying: ‘We knew that it would hurt but, unfortunately, it hurts more than we had anticipated,’ A former financial backer of ex-Brexit secretary and golf club bore David Davis.
Who? Writer, author, speaker, broadcaster
An actual young person, Bain is a regular talking head on TV and radio, the founder of the website Young Money, Money Hacker in residence on BBC Radio 1’s Life Hacks show and ‘officially one of the UK’s top ‘cash queens’, according to the Sun’s Fabulous Magazine’. Wrote this week that around half of all 18-34 year olds in the UK had got into more debt during the Covid crisis just to pay for household basics, saying that lenders ‘often penalise young people for renting, moving housing regularly and working in the so-called gig economy’. Also – it’s all those avocados they buy, amirite Boomers?
George the Poet
Another actual young person (29) and his generation’s Pam Ayres, George – full name George Mpanga – has said that a poet’s role is ‘to provide thoughtful social commentary’, so what he’s doing on this inane bunfight is anyone’s guess. Described by the Daily Telegraph as ‘England’s most influential poet’ in 2015 to the bewilderment of retired colonels across the Home Counties. A former rapper, he last year turned down an offer to become an MBE, citing the British Empire’s treatment of his ancestral homeland, Uganda. The host of Have You Heard George’s Podcast on BBC Sounds, the audio app you almost certainly haven’t heard of due to the corporation’s reticence to publicising it constantly, across all its platforms. Mpanga has also written poetry for Sky Sports’ Formula One coverage because even a spoken-word artist has to eat.
Question Time is on BBC at 10.45pm tonight (11.25pm in Northern Ireland)