Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?
PUBLISHED: 13:07 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:34 24 January 2019
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 Winchester. But who will have their microphone turned down because the presenter’s husband worked for a firm who landed a government contract after he left - and who will just be rubbish? Here’s your guide to the panel and where they stand on Brexit...
Who? Conservative MP for Fareham
Where is she on Brexit? Fanatical Brexiteer and former chief of the hardline European Research Group of Tory MPs
A vocal and troublesome Brexiteer, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s predecessor at headbangers’ society the ERG was brought into government in a junior role in January 2018, recalling Lyndon Johnson’s quote about J. Edgar Hoover (“Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in”). That went well - Braverman quit in November over Theresa May’s deal with the European Commission, saying the backstop was “not what the British people or my constituents voted for in 2016”. Post-Brexit customs arrangements for Northern Ireland were, of course, foremost among the people of Fareham’s considerations when casting their ballot. As a minister her standard reaction to any fears from business was to point out that vacuum cleaner man James Dyson supports Brexit - she might downplay that tonight.
Who? Shadow housing secretary
Where is he on Brexit? Labour loyalist who toes the party line
One of the plodders who makes up the numbers in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, Healey isn’t a natural Corbynista - he served as a parliamentary private secretary to Gordon Brown as chancellor - but isn’t going to frighten the horses either. Will stick to the leadership line that what Labour wants is a general election but they aren’t necessarily taking a second referendum off the table, while Corbyn’s WhatsApp media outriders tweet that he is playing four-dimensional chess. Has broadly kept his head down and stuck to his portfolio since picking it up in 2015, initially as a shadow minister of state, but did break cover to tell the Rotherham Advertiser earlier this month: “The government have not got a good enough Brexit deal for Britain”. Buckle yourselves in - there’s plenty of that stirring rhetoric to come tonight.
Who? Chief leader writer at the Observer and deputy opinion editor at the Guardian
Where is she on Brexit? Anti. Supports a second referendum
As chief leader writer and a columnist at the Observer as well as being a freelance public policy and strategy consultant, Sodha is, on paper, a Brexiteer’s caricature of the London liberal elite. Centre-left and no Corbynista, she wrote the Observer leader earlier this month that said “the longer Corbyn puts off backing a referendum, the more he creates the impression that he too is simply letting the clock run down in order to avoid making a decision in the hope that voters will blame Conservatives for any Brexit fiasco. But if Labour enables May’s Brexit, history will not forgive the party”. Previously a senior policy adviser to Ed Miliband, running Labour’s Small Business Taskforce, Sodha now gets to pontificate on Question Time while Miliband is a backbencher with a funny podcast. Strange old world, eh?
Who? LBC presenter
Where is he on Brexit? Brexiteer. Says: “Were I to vote tomorrow, I’d vote Leave again”
The biggest name on the cabbies’ favourite radio station, Ferrari is often touted as a possible mayor of London (although LBC is a national station now, something it nods to by including the M62 in traffic reports). A vocal Brexiteer, he has said in a second referendum “I’d vote Leave because of the way the EU has responded. I think they have treated Britain appallingly. I think the way they ganged up on the prime minister was shocking.” But sympathises with the plight of EU citizens in the UK, telling an Italian caller to his show earlier this week: “I didn’t vote Brexit so that people like you would be treated in this fashion. I think it’s bloody disgraceful. Absolutely wrong.” A Sunday Express columnist, Ferrari’s greatest contribution to British culture is as the man who came up with Topless Darts for the late, unlamented TV channel L!ve TV.
Who? Executive chairman of communications and market research agency Cicero Group
Where is he on Brexit? Broadly anti, reflecting the views of the City
An expert in communications and public policy, the Conservative lobbyist also worked on Ken Clarke’s multiple bids for the party leadership, suggesting he is a glutton for punishment. A regular in lists of the City’s most influential financial PRs, he acts as a voice for the Square Mile, causing a few ripples when he wrote in The Times last year that his clients were exasperated with government inaction on Brexit, saying: “From the 2016 referendum to the endless EU summitry to those high-drama UK parliamentary votes I think we are all tiring of the political psychodrama. Certainly, I know business is heartily sick of it.” An ambassador for the LGBT charity Stonewall, he is not the lead singer of Jethro Tull, the first Iain Anderson to come up when you Google him.
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland)