Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?

PUBLISHED: 10:38 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:07 05 March 2020

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? Here’s your guide...

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The BBC's flagship current affairs programme tonight comes from Tunbridge Wells, the one-time home of the Reverend Thomas Bayes. Bayes became famous for his theorem that the probability of an event is based on prior knowledge of conditions that might be related to it - grist to the mill of the QT audience, who like to rely on good old-fashioned British gut instinct. Here's your complete guide to the panel...

Matt Hancock

Fiona Bruce introduces Question Time. Photograph: BBC.Fiona Bruce introduces Question Time. Photograph: BBC.

Who? Health secretary

A one-time candidate for the Conservative leadership, he dropped out of last year's race after coming sixth in the first ballot of MPs with 20 votes. Said during the campaign that the idea of suspending parliament "goes against everything those men who waded onto those beaches fought and died for - and I will not have it," an opposition that he dropped rapidly once appointed to Boris Johnson's cabinet and the PM did indeed suspend Parliament. Like Groucho Marx, Hancock has principles and, if you don't like them, he's got others. Once the proud purveyor of a Matt Hancock app called Matt Hancock, which allowed users to watch live video streams of Matt Hancock and had to change its policies following concerns about its use of data, he also boasted he was prepared for a no-deal Brexit as he was the world's largest buyer of fridges. Now worryingly in charge of dealing with coronavirus.


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Margaret Beckett

Who? Labour MP for Derby South and former foreign secretary

Veteran Labour MP who held high office in the days when the Scissor Sisters and Snow Patrol ruled the airwaves, Christiano Ronaldo was the young player of the year, Jeremy Corbyn was an ignorable oddball and leaving the EU a niche pursuit. The woman who famously said "f**k" upon being handed the Foreign Office was the MP who conducted Labour's official report into why it lost the 2015 election, attributing to a failure to build trust on the economy, an inability to connect with centre-ground voters, a leader judged to be insufficiently strong and a fear of the SNP. Then was one of the Labour MPs who lent Corbyn her nomination for the 2015 leadership election to "broaden the debate", later labelling herself, not inaccurately, a "moron" for doing so. "At no point did I intend to vote for Jeremy myself - nice as he is," she explained.

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Layla Moran

Who? Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman

Only a Member of Parliament since 2017, Moran was quickly talked up as a future leader, choosing not to stand last year and currently keeping the nation on tenterhooks as to whether she'll throw her hat in the ring in the current race, currently scheduled to end around 2023. Has suggested the Lib Dems could become a rejoin-the-EU party withing a year, saying last month: "If we do end up going off the cliff edge of no-deal, I can envisage as soon as 11 months' time us moving to a position where that is what we want to avoid that cliff edge." Announced earlier this year that she identifies as pansexual after apparently being threatened to be outed by the Mail on Sunday, the majority of whose readers would have no idea what that is and only buy it for Fred Basset.

Tim Stanley

Who? Journalist and historian

A Brexiteer who once penned a Telegraph column headlined "Brexit isn't about nostalgia. It's about ambition. Trust me, I'm a historian", Stanley is a columnist and leader writer for the increasingly unhinged newspaper and a regular Thought for the Day and Moral Maze contributor. Stood for Labour at the 2005 general election before taking the full-on Melanie Phillips route and eventually transferring his allegiance to the US Republican Party. Wrote in 2016 that the "one thing I find most exciting about Brexit is it gives us the chance to start over again, to write a new chapter in our country's history". Tweeted this week that he hadn't been on Question Time for two years and "I thought my phone had been disconnected". Looks like Justin Trudeau, which must really, really annoy him.

Xand van Tulleken

Who? Doctor and TV presenter

Sounds like an Arsenal reserve goalkeeper, but van Tulleken is actually a doctor who trained at Oxford and specialised in tropical medicine. The coronavirus outbreak means that Question Time producers have had to begrudgingly book somehow who might actually know what he's talking about rather than, say, Julia Hartley-Brewer blaming it all on Remoaners refusing to eat a patriotic breakfast. An identical twin whose brother Chris is also a doctor, the pair present Operation Ouch on CBBC, which "explains biology but in a really fun way". "When we were filmed producing a huge sneeze painting, Chris kept imagining how embarrassing it would be doing this whilst drinking tea with the Queen. I was laughing so hard that I had snot running all down my face," explains Xand.

Question Time is on BBC One at 10.35pm tonight (11.15pm in Northern Ireland)

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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.

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