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 St Peter’s church in Notting Hill, home of artists, derivative romcoms and purged Cameroons (remember them?). But who’s on the panel – and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s who you can expect…
Who? Minister of state for housing and planning
Where is he on Brexit? A leading Brexiteer, the ultra-ambitious Raab is a loyal attack dog against anyone seen as seeking to derail the process – ironically, since he himself was floating a second referendum in the event his side lost in the days ahead of the vote. Put security at the heart of his campaign, claiming he had “evidence of a Cyprus estate agent journal advertising EU passports”. Forced to deny claims earlier this month from a former aide that he had the same lunch every day (Pret’s chicken Caesar and bacon baguette, superfruit pot and vitamin volcano smoothie). Asked last year what his new year’s resolution was, he said “I feel we will prove the doubters wrong in 2018 and there is actually a much better vibe among Conservative MPs than you give us the credit for”, which would have lost him the Turing test.
Who? Shadow home secretary
Where is she on Brexit? Last year wrote to constituents in Hackney promising she would support a second referendum on the final Brexit deal, only to change tack once reminded this wasn’t Labour’s policy, saying: “The Labour party does not support a second referendum – we’ve never supported it, and we don’t support it now.” Her second QT appearance in a month is a reminder that she is one of just a handful of ultra-loyalists trusted by Team Corbyn on the media. Wrote recently that Labour had “a positive vision for Brexit” and that “Jeremy Corbyn has offered a serious proposal to the EU27”. As ever, a fun drinking game tonight would be to neck a shot every time Abbott says “what Jeremy has said is…”, and, as ever, The New European accepts no liability for any accidents/illnesses/death.
Who? Former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
Where is he on Brexit? A Brexiteer – despite saying before the referendum that Britain’s security risk would rise after Brexit because it would create a “bureaucratic nightmare” and that leaving would mean an increased security risk for two years while renegotiations took place. Has since said he was “conflicted” on the vote but decided “that what mattered most of all was sovereignty. An unreformed EU from which we were diverging would be a significant threat to our future”. Made a life peer after completing his five-year tenure at the head of the Met, which was marred by controversies including the failed VIP sex abuse inquiry, last year. Humblebragged in his maiden speech that “I was good at arresting thieves and burglars”. His Question Time debut – also alongside Diane Abbott – last December was cut 20 minutes short when an audience member collapsed from an asthma attack brought on by a fellow attendee’s aftershave.
Who? Journalist, crossbench peer and former adviser to David Cameron
Where is she on Brexit? An unashamed Cameroon who will be at home in Notting Hill, the former Times associate editor and columnist is a Remainer who has called for a second referendum on Theresa May’s final deal. Wrote in the Financial Times last year: “It would be the grown-up thing to do. It might even start to heal some divisions. And it would be a great deal more impressive than hoping to get this over and move on.” Spent a year as head of David Cameron’s No 10 policy unit, where she is credited with pushing through the sugar tax on fizzy drinks, before following her boss through the door marked Do One following his failed referendum gamble. After initially taking the Conservative whip in the Lords she now sits as a crossbencher and holds the sort of politics which almost tick off Question Time’s Lib Dem quota for May.
Who? Guardian journalist
Where is he on Brexit? Remainer who wrote in today’s Guardian that “what is driving this country headlong into a chaotic and punishing Brexit is a blind desire to cut immigration”. Describes Brexit as “a synonym for keeping out foreigners”. A passionate Corbynista in danger of making Diane Abbott look a bit indifferent about the whole thing, Chakrabortty has said that Corbyn has “changed British politics for good” and “upended most of the rules of British electoral politics”. The Oxford graduate was previously a senior producer for Newsnight and the Ten O’Clock News. Will be tonight’s recipient of a rousing round of applause for an answer which involves a lot of pointing and the word “neoliberalism”.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.15pm in Northern Ireland).