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 The Athenaeum in Bury St Edmunds, where Charles Dickens uses to give readings. But in this age of foolishness and epoch of incredulity, who’s on the panel – and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s who you can expect…
Who? Digital, culture, media and sport secretary
Where is he on Brexit? The George Osborne protégé was a keen Remainer who tweeted ahead of the referendum that he wanted to stay in “for a tolerant Britain” (a tweet described by curtain-botherer Kirstie Allsopp as ‘absurd and divisive’). Demoted as part of Theresa May’s clear-out of the Cameroons, he returned to the Cabinet table in his current role in January on the basis he seemed to understand what all these Facetimes and Twitterers were about. So achingly digital, earlier this year Matt Hancock launched a Matt Hancock app called Matt Hancock, which allowed users to watch live video streams of Matt Hancock and had to change its policies following concerns about its use of data. Has since suggested Brexit could free Britain up to impose new regulations on technology companies.
Who? Co-leader of the Green Party
Where is she on Brexit? Firmly against, Lucas was one of the few MPs to vote against triggering Article 50 and continues to urge resistance to Britain’s EU departure. Has described the EU as more democratic than Westminster, labelled the government’s interpretation of Brexit “extreme” and called its implementation “a tragic farce”. Has said of the Conservatives: “Their leadership of the country has utterly unravelled, and their arrogant insistence that ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and repeated refusal to rule out a ‘no deal’ scenario shows that they have been hijacked by the hardliners.” Has a habit of using her meagre media opportunities to bemoan the lack of media opportunities the Greens get.
Who? Shadow home secretary
Where is she on Brexit? What day is it? 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.” One of a handful of ultra-loyalists trusted by Team Corbyn on the media, Abbott wrote last month that Labour had “a positive vision for Brexit” and that “Jeremy Corbyn has offered a serious proposal to the EU27”. One fun drinking game tonight would be to neck a shot every time Abbott says “what Jeremy has said is…”, although The New European accepts no liability for any accidents/illnesses/death.
Who? Australian human rights lawyer
Where is she on Brexit? Doesn’t appear to have spoken a great deal on the subject, but is a supporter and representative of cupboard-dwelling Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who backed Brexit and accused David Cameron’s government of “us[ing] the EU as political cover for its own decision-making” (he also opposes the European Arrest Warrant, for some reason). Director of legal advocacy for the Bertha Foundation in London and an adjunct lecturer in law at the University of Sydney, Robinson was described in The Times at the weekend as “the most open, unstuffy lawyer you could hope to meet”. Made Sun headlines last year when she was snapped “canoodling” with Jeremy Corbyn’s married chief spin doctor Seumas Milne, only for “friends” of his to ungallantly brief he was ‘not a willing participant’.
Where is he on Brexit? Tends to be dubbed “the Brexit comedian” in the press, but actually a bit more nuanced than that. Has written: “In the comedy community, the perception seems to be that Brexiteers are poorly educated and probably racist… my hackles rise at that suggestion.” The presenter of Radio 4’s Simon Evans Goes To Market, he has been feted as a “right-wing comedian” by none other than Rod Liddle, which is probably unfair, even if he is unlikely to hang around at Latitude with Jeremy Hardy and Josie Long. Won Celebrity Mastermind with a specialist subject of Ernest Shackleton and voiced the fox in the Old Speckled Hen TV ads.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.15pm in Northern Ireland).