Who is on Question Time tonight and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s your guide…
The BBC’s flagship current affairs programme returns tonight from Cruise Terminal 1 of Dover’s Western Docks. With a list of issues longer than the backlog of lorries on Kent’s roads once the Hard Brexiteers get their way, who’s on the panel – and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s who you can expect…
Who? Secretary of state for transport
Where is he on Brexit? Long-time Brexit cheerleader
Grayling, whose regular Question Time and Today programme appearances suggest he is inexplicably seen as a safe pair of hands by Conservative Campaign Headquarters, is a Brexit supporter whose utopian stance seems to have softened since the referendum vote. The man who ran Theresa May’s Tory leadership campaign and was handed the role of transport secretary – a reward marginally higher than an Argos voucher – had previously claimed an out vote would make it easier for young people to get on the housing ladder and food shortages could be solved by farmers simply growing more. Now acts as a human shield against his harder colleagues each time May softens her stance.
Sir Keir Starmer
Who? Shadow secretary of state for exiting the European Union
Where is he on Brexit? Anti, but has urged Labour colleagues not to ‘look back in grief’ at the 2016 vote but instead try to fight for the best possible deal
Seen as one of the adults in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, the former director of public prosecutions has been steadily shifting Labour’s Brexit policy while his leader concentrates on the important business of having selfies taken. Sir Keir, on Labour’s soft left, has backed easy movement of EU workers after Brexit and has moved the leadership’s position from emphatic rejection of a customs union to backing it, if not yet the customs union. No natural Corbynista, he is highly unlikely to deliver Seumas Milne’s pre-show briefing on the Russian poisoning crisis wholesale.
Who? First vice president of the European Parliament
Where is she on Brexit? Strongly anti, she has described it as “an emotional issue” and warned it could destroy UK-Ireland relations
Described by the Irish World as “one of Ireland’s most prominent and most ambitious MEPs”, McGuiness has held the role of first vice president of the European Parliament since January 2017. A former presenter of RTÉ’s Celebrity Farm turned Fine Gael MEP, she has said the UK’s Brexit border plans “are more than the UK wanting to have its cake and eat it, it’s an attempt to have its cake and eat ours too”. Made headlines by claiming Britain’s exit would cause a more radical change in its relationship with Ireland than the 1916 Easter Rising or partition ever did.
Who? Scottish actor
Where is he on Brexit? Anti. Has said the Brexiteers played on people’s fears
A former Labour supporter who defected to the SNP, Cox is a vocal celebrity voice for Scottish independence. A star of Braveheart, the Bourne movies and Churchill, he has invoked the latter by saying he would be horrified at Britain leaving the EU. But he has also said “I think Brexit is going to be such a disaster unfortunately, but we will benefit from it,” meaning it would inveitably lead to a second indepence referendum, and has called for the Scottish Yes movement to ‘get our act together’. Don’t sing Things Can Only Get Better to him. That was the other Brian Cox.
Who? Presenter of Going Underground on the Kremlin’s favourite TV channel RT
Where is he on Brexit? Vocal supporter
The BBC’s latest ‘look, we can still be edgy and controversial’ QT booking, Rattansi is a former CNN, BBC and now-banned-in-the-UK Iranian mouthpiece Press TV journalist. Guaranteed to be a vocal supporter of the Russian line, Rattansi’s Twitter output is classic Corbynista with attacks on the BBC, “Blairite neoliberal apologists” and the EU. Likely to have some needle with Sir Keir Starmer, whose role in the “arbitrary detention” (ie hiding in a cupboard to avoid sexual assault charges) of Julian Assange he has questioned. Rattansi’s appearance on the programme has been questioned by Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston who has said other panelists should “walk out in disgust”. Will deliver tonight’s viral moment.