Who is on the panel for BBC Question Time tonight?
PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 May 2019 | UPDATED: 00:47 31 May 2019
Who is on Question Time tonight and where do they stand on Brexit? Here’s your guide.
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Tonight's Question Time is broadcast from Epsom, which voted Remain by 52.2%, but wider Surrey was divided and many nearby areas voted to leave.
Barry Gardiner is Labour MP for Brent North and shadow trade minister who voted to Remain and has been confusing people ever since. He publicly stood for Labour's muddled party line on Brexit - and had a hand in crafting it - but infuriated the party by letting slip what he really feels, which is that Labour's test of gaining the "exact same benefits" outside of the single market is "bollocks", and rubbished the Meaningful Vote on the basis that it wouldn't resolve anything. Reportedly an attack dog on camera, his last gaffe was telling a Tory guest that Labour was "trying to bail you guys out" in the Withdrawal Agreement discussions.
If Shakespeare wrote Brexit, he would have set it in the South East where both a Remainer Alex Phillips and a Leaver Alex Phillips became MEPs, and a hilarious farce of mistaken identity would ensue. It wasn't initially clear which one we were getting tonight, but this is Question Time, so it's Brexiteer Alex. She's a long-time Farage uberfan, previously UKIP's head of media, briefly a Tory and now a Brexit Party MEP. In 2017 she wrote of her concern for the primary victim of Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech, Enoch Powell. Tonight she will argue that we all voted, 100% and unequivocally, for a hard Brexit, in every election held since about 1912.
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Pinker is a rock star of cognitive psychology and really has one of the loveliest heads of hair known to man. A passionate defender of Enlightenment thinking, he has commented that "populists are on the dark side of history," and that Brexit is proving how rubbish populism really is. He has also been critical about the "relentless negativity" in the "intellectual elite" coverage of the Brexit/Trump era, that is, by comparison to the dark ages. His book Enlightenment Now points out that tribal attachments comes before reasoning, and that we make arguments mainly to signal whose side we're on, which really sums up Question Time perfectly.
Swinson is the bookies' favourite to be the next Liberal Democrat leader and could play 90s TV character Blossom if you gave her the right hat. She served as equalities minister in the coalition government and veers to the economic right of the party. Swinson holds a staunch pro-immigration, open and liberal view of Britain. She is currently riding on a pro-Remain surge in her party's EU election voters and will likely be trying to appeal to them, while not-so-covertly pitching at the Lib Dems who she hopes will make her leader.
Stewart is running for Conservative Party leader and doesn't stand a chance because he is extremely experienced and relatively coherent. Putting his canvassing videos on Twitter, he has tried to make the hashtag #RoryWalks happen, but someone just described him as "haunted Pinocchio inviting you to go dogging". He looks so profoundly unthreatening that he was the only Tory to be given a ministerial job by May while openly talking about wanting to be leader. On Brexit, he voted to Remain and has ruled out no deal, calling it "unpatriotic" and saying he could never serve on Boris Johnson's cabinet. His solution to avoiding it is not to rule out dialogue with anyone, even Farage.
- Question Time airs at 10.35pm on BBC One (11.15pm in Northern Ireland).
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