Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?
PUBLISHED: 00:00 09 January 2020
Who is on Question Time tonight? Here’s your guide...
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The BBC's flagship current affairs programme tonight comes from Oxford, hometown of Hugh Laurie. But who will be a runaway hit like House - and whose appearance will be swiftly consigned to history like Maybe Baby? Here's your complete guide to the panel...
Who? Minister of state for security
One of the most regular media faces in the general election campaign despite both looking and sounding like someone has typed "generic Conservative MP" into a 3D printer and whacked whatever came out in front of a camera, the former Tory Party chair has a curious habit of looking on the verge of falling asleep, A Theresa May loyalist who acted as a buffer between the long-forgotten former prime minister and the pro-Brexit grassroots, he quickly transferred his loyalty wholesale to Boris Johnson. Campaigned for Remain in the EU referendum but following the result said he would now vote Leave, describing himself as "first and foremost a democrat". Seen as a bit of a slowpoke by colleagues and foes alike, he tweeted this week that "today is committee stage of the legislation to deliver on our promise to #GetBrexitDone & I'll be speaking later today to outline our determination to also deliver for our EU friends & colleagues who live & work in the UK with our #SettledStatus scheme". For most politicians that would be a sure sign an aide was managing his social media but no, that's genuinely how Brandon Lewis speaks.
Who? Shadow sustainable economics minister
The candidate for the Labour leadership you're least likely to remember briefly stood for the Labour leadership by the Spring, Lewis is a firm supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, a man of unique virtue unparalleled in human history, and the man battling with Rebecca Long Bailey to carry the Absolute Boy's torch. A fervent Remainer, he said prior to the election that Labour was "leading the fight against this damaging hard-right Brexit, both inside and outside of parliament". Now says the party must "champion the benefits of internationalism, put forward the economic and cultural case for migration, and build solidarity between our diverse communities through greater social and economic equality" to win back power. A former BBC journalist, he has a habit of getting himself into trouble, once being accused of "mocking suicide" by appearing to simulate shooting himself during a debate in the Commons and being forced to apologise after a video emerged of him saying "Get on your knees bitch" to a man at a Momentum-backed event in Brighton. Unlikely to get the 22 MPs and MEPs' nominations to get onto the ballot form for the leadership election.
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Who? Military historian and former editor of the Daily Telegraph
Former Torygraph editor who has done more to raise the Bufton Tuftons' blood pressure than most by fervently opposing Brexit, saying that "Britain is not an important country any more and we are going to find it difficult. I never suffer from nostalgia. I never kidded myself that it was better to live in the second World War or to live in the time of Downton Abbey." Further enraged editors and readers by laying into their pin-up Boris Johnson, who he employed as the paper's Brussels editor, saying "while he is a brilliant entertainer who made a popular maître d' for London as its mayor, he is unfit for national office, because it seems he cares for no interest save his own fame and gratification" and that the then future PM "would not recognise truth, whether about his private or political life, if confronted by it in an identity parade". Finally added: "I have a hunch that Johnson will come to regret securing the prize for which he has struggled so long, because the experience of the premiership will lay bare his absolute unfitness for it." Max Hastings is unlikely to be elevated to the peerage anytime soon.
Who? Chief executive of think-tank the New Economics Foundation
A former head of cities in the Cabinet Office's policy unit and director of policy and research at the Institute for Public Policy Research, Fahnbulleh is the second Corbynista on tonight's panel, which at least will give Julia Hartley-Brewer something to tweet about. Arrived in the UK from Liberia in 1986 with her family successfully claiming asylum and settling in famed centre of radical thinking Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Tipped by the Guardian in 2017 to "clearly have a huge role in influencing the economic policy" of John McDonnell in a future Labour government, she has since urged the party not to move away from the teachings of Jeremy Corbyn, a man of unique virtue etc and so on. Wrote after the election that "abandoning Labour's entire policy programme - as some of those who reject Corbyn wish to - and replacing it with an agenda that seeks incremental changes to the status quo would be a big mistake". Says that "the next election will be fought after we have left the European Union and the promise to 'get Brexit done' has inevitably but tragically failed to deliver the positive change those who voted for it want". Unlikely to crack many jokes.
Who? Journalist and senior editor at The Economist
Experienced and respected journalist who has been at the magazine which continues to mystifyingly insist it's a newspaper since 2009, McElvoy is also a columnist at George Osborne's Lahn E'ning Stannah. Her columns in the capital's paper, post-election, tended to be "soft Remainy". But The Economist came out early and firmly against Brexit and continues to rage against it in its pages. McElvoy wrote at the end of the year that "to recover relevance, liberalism needs to change the way it sounds and how it thinks about itself, to make the arguments that matter - on how societies heal and flourish, the balance of state and market, and the need to engage voters fully on climate change - without alienating them by preachiness". Added: "Lesson one: cheer up a bit. Then figure out how to take on the battle of ideas that still counts." Proved her cheering up by accidentally saying "shit" on a celebrity edition of University Challenge aired over the festive period, a faux pas which led to "a hard Paddington stare from Paxo, who announces that I have 'given the producer something to do'".
Question Time is on BBC One at 10.35pm tonight
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Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter