Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?

PUBLISHED: 12:32 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:49 18 January 2019

Fiona Bruce, presenter of the BBC's Question Time

Fiona Bruce, presenter of the BBC's Question Time

BBC

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 Derby, the city whose football team is managed by Champions and Europa League winner Frank Lampard. But who’s looking to remain competitive in Europe for as long as possible - and who just wants to get knocked out? Here’s your guide to the panel and where they stand on Brexit...

Rory Stewart

Who? Prisons minister

Where is he on Brexit? A Remain voter and campaigner who declared after the referendum that “Britain must now make the best of Brexit... the decision is made, and we should be energetic and optimistic”

Considered a rare and exotic beast at Westminster, in that he did something before entering politics, Stewart served as deputy governor of two Iraqi provinces after the 2003 invasion and later walked across Afghanistan. Tweeted today that “No Dealers must acknowledge that, if there is no majority for a deal at the moment, there’s very unlikely to be a majority for any specific deal after a hard Brexit, no majority for a Canada deal with the EU or indeed for any particular deal with the US”. Theresa May raised eyebrows last year when she moved Stewart from a role across the Foreign Office and International Development (in which he is one of Parliament’s few experts) to prisons (of which he isn’t). Said on his appointment he would resign in a year if he failed to reduce drugs and violence levels in 10 target jails, so enjoy him while you can.

Diane Abbott

Who? Shadow home secretary

Where is she on Brexit? “What Jeremy has said is...”

Abbott famously 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. Since more vocally sceptical, boasting during last week’s debate on the Withdrawal Agreement: “I have an immaculate record of voting against all measures of further EU integration.” One of just a handful of ultra-loyalists trusted by Team Corbyn on the media, hence a seat on the QT panel almost as permanent as the UN’s Security Council. Wrote last year that Labour had “a positive vision for Brexit” and that “Jeremy Corbyn has offered a serious proposal to the EU27”. Once again, a fun drinking game tonight would be to neck a shot every time Abbott says “what Jeremy has said is...”, and, once again, The New European accepts no liability for any accidents/illnesses/death.

Kirsty Blackman

Who? Deputy leader of the SNP in the Commons

Where is she on Brexit? Like the overwhelming majority of her party, anti. Has described a no-deal exit as an “absolute nightmare scenario”, saying: “I can’t think of a country in history that has brought such foreseeable ­economic harm on itself”

Having cut her teeth as the organiser of local activists in the 2014 independence referendum, Blackman was elected to the Commons in 2015 and is now, the SNP says, the first woman to be any party’s lead spokesperson on the economy. Says: “We [the SNP] have that absolute consistency that we believe we should be members of the European Union; if we’re not going to be members of the European Union we should be members of the single market and the customs union.” Said in the December debate on Brexit: “Back in 2014, Scotland was promised the strength and security of the UK, but the reality has been Westminster collapse and chaos.” Previously hit the headlines when she brought her two small children along to a meeting of the Scottish Affairs Committee, during which they sat on her lap and caused her to be censured by fusty Commons officials.

Isabel Oakeshott

Who? Journalist, it says here

Where is she on Brexit? Passionate Brexiteer and official chronicler of Nigel Farage and Arron Banks’ Leave.EU campaign

Self-described “passionate Brexiteer” who has said there is no evidence Russia influenced the referendum vote, which coincidentally is exactly the same amount of evidence for the story of David Cameron and a pig’s head she used to flog her widely-derided biography of him. Made herself the story last summer after admitting that, while sifting through the old photos, schoolbooks and toys from cereal packets clogging up her attic, she discovered paperwork showing that Leave.EU’s leading lights had met with the Russian ambassador rather more times than originally stated. Previously better known for being the journalist whose private email correspondence with a source was handed over to police, ultimately leading to both former cabinet minister Chris Huhne and ex-wife Vicky Pryce being jailed for perverting the course of justice over a speeding offence.

Anand Menon

Who? Professor of European politics and foreign affairs at King’s College London and director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative

Where is he on Brexit? Says he is impartial, but obviously anti-hard Brexit, describing the no-deal proponents as “snake-oil salesmen”. But opposes a second referendum, calling it “a rerun, with arguments about an ill-defined future between camps who no longer listen to each other”

As one of the leading academic voices on the UK’s departure from the EU - dubbed “the Brexpert’s Brexpert” - Menon knows what he is talking about, and thus was presumably booked by mistake. Maybe Arg from TOWIE was unavailable. Said earlier this month that “of course the EU has much to lose from no deal. But both sides know, and have known all along, who has more to lose. As we get closer to March 29 – and even more so, in the weeks after, as reality bites – our negotiating position becomes weaker, not stronger. Our basic choices and trade-offs will not have fundamentally changed – they will just have become even more constrained.” Will spend tonight explaining what trading on WTO terms means while Isabel Oakeshott repeatedly shouts “17.4 MILLION PEOPLE”.

Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm tonight (11.20pm in Northern Ireland)

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