Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?

PUBLISHED: 13:54 14 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:54 14 March 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 Ealing, the home of the oldest film studios in the world, best known for their comedies. The most famous, of course, is Passport to Pimlico, in which the small area of central London declares independence from the rest of Britain only for a host of crises to ensue including power, water and deliveries of food being cut off and the district becoming quickly flooded with black marketeers. The wacky scenarios these filmmakers come up with! Anyway, here’s your panel and where they stand on Brexit...

James Cleverly

Who? Deputy chair of the Conservative Party

Where is he on Brexit? A backer of the hardline Leave Means Leave group, he is an enthusiastic backer of “reconnecting with the Commonwealth” with its “shared language, common law tradition, diaspora networks and historic cultural links”

A former soldier, Cleverly was handed the role of Tory deputy chairman a year ago on the basis they were hopeless on social media and he appeared to know how to work Tweetdeck. A partisan bruiser, he has publicly questioned whether a no-deal Brexit would really harm the economy, although his position in the party means he has urged wavering Brexiteers to stand by Theresa May’s deal. Said after it was rejected for a second time it “was an opportunity for people who campaigned passionately for Brexit, we could have secured Brexit, got it done. Not perfection, but if you strive for perfection, you will be constantly disappointed in life.” Not short of self-confidence, asked in 2015 who should succeed David Cameron as Tory party leader when he stood down, he responded: “Me.” Has admitted smoking exotic herbal cigarettes and watching special adult time online.

Clive Lewis

Who? Shadow Treasury minister

Where is he on Brexit? Remainer who resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet in 2017 in response to the leadership whipping the party to support triggering Article 50. Returned to the frontbench last year

A committed Corbynista who appeared to doubt his faith a couple of years ago, Lewis quit the shadow cabinet over Article 50 and called for a vote on the final deal (“anything less will see our country hopelessly divided long into the future”). After wavering following the Absolute Boy’s unexpectedly strong election showing in 2017, is now firmly opposed to Brexit, tweeting of his leader’s reported talks with former Tory ministers on ‘Common market 2.0’: “This would be a grave error on our part. It’s not @UKLabour job to help the Tories deliver Brexit. We tried, they blew it. They now own this mess. It’s our job now to stop it.” A former BBC journalist, he has a habit of getting himself into trouble, most recently last November when he was accused of “mocking suicide” by appearing to simulate shooting himself during a debate in the Commons.

Ian Blackford

Who? Leader of the SNP group at Westminster

Where is he on Brexit? Along with the overwhelming majority of his party, anti. Urged MPs this week to “act to stop the greatest act of self-harm to our economy” by voting down the withdrawal agreement.

SNP Westminster leader and co-star of the most dispiriting section of prime minister’s questions each week, when he asks a perfectly reasonable question and May responds with a completely unrelated answer about Scotland rejecting independence in 2014. Has said Britain is “in a constitutional crisis at the making of a prime minister that has run down the Brexit clock” and that “if Westminster continues to prove incapable of respecting Scotland’s wishes - Scotland will move to protect our own interests”. Has struggled to fill the boots of his predecessor, Angus Robertson, who lost his seat in 2017, to the extent Newsnight last year used a picture of Robertson to illustrate the SNP’s main man in London. Led a walk-out of SNP MPs from prime minister’s questions last June over some arcane procedural objection even those involved probably can’t remember.

Julia Hartley-Brewer

Who? Right-wing radio presenter and commentator

Where is she on Brexit? Really?

Part of the triumvirate, along with Isobel Oakeshott and Camilla Toveney, of posh Tory women journalists now apparently reserved a weekly seat on the QT panel. Hartley-Brewer is a former Sunday Express political journalist turned shock jock, now plying her trade on talkRADIO. While ministers and civil servants grapple with the numbers, Hartley-Brewer has only one and that’s SEVENTEEN POINT FOUR MILLION and that’s THE MOST PEOPLE WHO HAVE EVER VOTED FOR ANYTHING and WHY CAN’T YOU REMOANERS GET THAT INTO YOUR THICK HEADS. Called for a no-deal Brexit this week, saying it was time to “cut our losses” and walk away from EU “bully boys” with our “heads held high”. Has yet to treat her listeners to the detail on how she envisages just-in-time trade arrangements and roll-on-roll-off freight operations at Dover to function once we’ve done so, so maybe we’ll get that tonight.

Catherine Barnard

Who? Professor of European Union Law and Jean Monnet chair of EU Law at the University of Cambridge

Where is she on Brexit? Remainy. Has called on Theresa May to abandon her red lines and establish a Royal Commission to consider the matter

One of the UK’s leading experts in the European Union and EU law who has bafflingly chosen to give up a Thursday night to sit in a hall in Ealing and have Julia Hartley-Brewer shout out her for an hour about how she’s wrong about everything and is part of the Remoaner elite. The author of no fewer than 12 books on European law, she is a leading researcher working on the issues surrounding the Brexit negotiations and grew up amid the troubles in Northern Ireland. Has warned that it “isn’t going to be straightforward” should the government decide to revoke Article 50 ahead of March 29. One of QT’s irregular bookings of People Who Actually Know What They’re Talking About. Pray for Catherine tonight, people. Pray for her.

Question Time is on BBC One at 10.35pm tonight (11.25pm in Northern Ireland)

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