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 Worthing Assembly Hall, home of the largest Wurlitzer organ in Europe. But what sort of tune should we expect from the panel on Brexit? Here’s who you can expect…
Who? Professor of American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities at the University of London
Where is she on Brexit? A firm Remainer who has described the UK as “disintegrating before our eyes, because a handful of Etonians decided to play Russian roulette with everyone’s futures, and because half the electorate is so angry, frustrated and disaffected that it just committed what might be the single largest collective act of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face in the history of humanity”. Not much ambiguity there, then. Her expertise is in 20th- and 21st-century fiction, which means she may be well acquainted with the journalistic output of the foreign secretary. Has described Donald Trump as “a carnival huckster running a three-ring circus”. Her most recent book explores the history of America First.
Who? American journalist and author
Where is she on Brexit? The second UK-based American on the panel, novelist Shriver is an ardent Brexiteer. Has described Europe in 2029 as: ‘One that is so overwhelmed with Africans and Middle Easterners that there isn’t a sort of Italy anymore, or a France, or a Belgium. It makes me a little sad, with the waffles and stuff.’ Told the BBC’s Any Questions? last month that the only reason talks around the Irish border issue in the Brexit negotiations were proving to be problematic was that the EU was trying to use it as an excuse to stop Brexit going through. Maybe that makes her a little sad, with the Guinness and stuff. Best known for her 2003 novel We Need to Talk about Kevin.
Who? Conservative MP for Broxtowe
Where is she on Brexit? Really? Oh, ok then. The effective leader of the small band of Conservative Remainers unwilling to toe the line, the former business minister has said she would be willing to join a new party to stop a Hard Brexit. Works alongside Chuka Umunna in the pro-European cross-party group, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations. Told Newsnight earlier this year: “If it comes to it, I am not going to stay in a party which has been taken over by the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson.” Received death threats after the Telegraph included her in its front-page list of “mutineers” as a result of her indicating she would be voting against the government’s efforts to fix the date of Brexit. Tonight’s appearance was described by one tweeter as the “most exciting thing to come to Worthing since the chilli fair last year”.
Who? Well, quite. Shadow Treasury minister
Where is she on Brexit? Bit woolly. Pro-Remain, but told an event last year that her Oxford constituents favoured trying to get the “least-worst Brexit” rather than stopping the process altogether (70% of Oxford voted Remain). A university lecturer and MEP elected to Parliament in 2017 who served 25 days on the backbenches before being promoted to Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow team, where she vies for the hotly-contested title of shortest Wikipedia entry. A Yvette Cooper supporter in 2015 who swiftly transferred her loyalty and politics to Team Jez, she makes her Question Time debut tonight in a bit of a Carabao Cup pick for Labour.
Where is he on Brexit? Fervent Brexiteer with an esoteric interpretation of the referendum result, writing in his Daily Mail column: ‘If it were not for David Cameron’s decision to legalise marriage between people of the same sex – a measure I supported – Britain would not now be on her way out of the EU.” One of the last few people to believe using the term “Remoaners” makes one a Jonathan Swift de nos jours, Lawson, like Shriver, has described the Northern Ireland border backstop as a “shabby plot to keep Britain a captive state of the vengeful EU” which “must be crushed”. Has described those who oppose Brexit as a “deluded, comical rabble”. Like his father, former chancellor and Hard Brexiteer Nigel Lawson, a climate change sceptic who has called the issue “far too important to be shut down by the scientists”. Tsk. Scientists, eh?
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.15pm in Northern Ireland).