Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight? Here’s your full guide
Who? Well, quite. Junior justice minister
After a solid run of Cabinet big-hitters representing the government on Question Time, tonight it’s the turn of Chris Philp, a man not even a household name in his own household and most notable for clearly misspelling his surname. A junior minister since last September, Philp attended Oxford University, before becoming a businessman, chair of a Conservative think tank and then an MP – truly the stuff of fairy tales. During the coronavirus crisis has been dealing with both getting courts running again and dealing with the battalions of non-existent migrant boats Nigel Farage has been breaking lockdown to drive 100 miles to point at. According to his suspiciously lengthy and well-researched Wikipedia page, Philp is also ‘an outspoken critic of Govia Thameslink Railway’s ownership of Southern Rail’ and an ‘LGBT+ ally’.
Who? Mayor of Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester’s Liverpudlian mayor, Andy Burnham is an Everton-supporting former health secretary, one-time candidate for the Labour leadership and a man who’s such a bloody northerner that, asked Mumsnet’s traditional question of what his favourite biscuit was, replied ‘beer and chips and gravy’. The health secretary in 2009 during the outbreak of swine flu, Burnham has been a vocal critic of the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, accusing it of reverting ‘to the default, London-centric mode’ and warning that ‘if the government carries on in the same vein, expect to see an even greater fracturing of national unity’. Was favourite to be elected Labour leader in 2015 but ran a campaign so dispiritingly bland it allowed an eccentric backbencher with no experience of anything to win and lead the party to its most crushing election result in 84 years.
Who? Former prime minister of Denmark
A member of the UK Labour Party as well as the wife of a Labour MP, which, appearing alongside Burnham should be enough to get the pro-Boris Twitterati a-fumin’ about the licence fee for a week, Thorning-Schmidt was the prime minister of Denmark from 2011 to 2015. An MEP than MP before successfully running for leader of the Social Democrats and eventually becoming PM, she stepped down in 2015 and became the chief executive of Save The Children. Was announced earlier this month to have been appointed to Facebook’s new oversight board, helping steer the company’s policy on freedom of expression at a time when people are using the platform to encourage people to burn down 5G masts and drink Domestos. Attracted controversy in 2013 when, at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, she took a selfie with Barack Obama and little-remembered former British prime minister David Cameron.
Who? Associate editor of the Daily Telegraph
Associate Editor of the serious-newpaper-turned-Boris-Johnson-fanzine since 2018, Tominey is one of the triumvirate of posh right-wing female journalists, along with Julia Hartley-Brewer and Isabel Oakeshott, who were until the crisis reserved a weekly seat on QT. Detail-light but rhetoric-high, the hardline Brexiteer claimed to have been proved right in 2017 when she visited the EU’s seats of power in Brussels apparently for the first time and found it hard to walk around: ‘I must have covered several miles (in wedges), searching in vain for the Council building where President Donald Tusk was lunching the so-called EU27 in Britain’s absence (where’s a truffle hog when you need one?).’ Rivalling Allison Pearson for the Telegrap’s most slavish pro-Johnson columnist, Tominey also doubles as ‘This Morning’s royal expert’.
Accomplished writer whose political history plays can best be summed up as ‘actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that’, which makes him uniquely unqualified for the black-and-white world of Question Time. Has penned plays such as Quiz, Labour of Love, Ink and This House, as well as the TV drama Brexit: The Civil War which, by casting Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings, may ironically have contributing to the Messiah complex of the man now effectively at the helm of the country. Also penned the hugely successful television adaptation of Quiz, in which an idiot on a TV show struggling for answers is given help by a coughing member of the audience – something which, alas, won’t be an option for Camilla Tominey tonight. Tweeted that he’s on QT to talk about ‘the unique threat to what was our country’s fastest growing industry – culture, theatre, film’.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.50pm tonight (11.30pm in Northern Ireland)