Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight?
PUBLISHED: 12:42 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:59 16 April 2020
Who is on Question Time tonight? Here’s your guide
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Tonight’s audience-free Question Time virtually comes from Wolverhampton - in that they won’t actually be in the West Midlands city, but have sought out video questions from its inhabitants. But who’s on the panel? Here’s your complete guide...
Who? Justice secretary
Mid-ranking Cabinet minister who was a media regular for the Conservatives during last year’s election campaign as he was considered a safe pair of hands - a polite way of saying that Buckland is almost unbelievably dull. A Remain backer in the referendum who performed an about-turn upon discovering the remarkable effect being a Brexiteer had on one’s career, the Welshman was a barrister and a serial election loser before successfully contesting Swindon South in 2005 and has since slowly risen without trace, serving as solicitor general and a no-doubt-transformational two months as prisons minister before being promoted to the Cabinet by Boris Johnson. Announced earlier this month that up to 4,000 prisoners in England and Wales could be released early amid fears that coronavirus would spread rapidly through crowded jails and put increasing strain on the NHS. Called in the police during the general election campaign after Anglo-Saxon pranksters changed his election poster to read “Robert F*ckland”.
Who? Shadow foreign secretary
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Wigan MP who ran for the Labour leadership on a ticket of politicians having never been further from the people, despite the fact that it was well into the 20th century that MPs deigned to even regularly visit the constituencies they represented, let alone live in them or hold weekly surgeries. Rewarded with the relatively plum role of shadow foreign secretary by Keir Starmer. Shadow energy secretary under Jeremy Corbyn, she quit in June 2016 and later co-chaired Owen Smith’s campaign for the leadership, a move which left her “genuinely frightened” by the abuse she received from practitioners of the Absolute Boy’s kinder, gentler politics. This week criticised President Trump’s decision to strip funding from the World Health Organisation, saying: “International institutions will only ever succeed with progressive global leadership, not cynically trying to shift the blame.” But also stressed the need for the government to support rugby league during the crisis, because she’s from Wigan.
Who? Businessman and crossbench peer
Founder of the curry lubricant Cobra Beer and an active crossbench member of the House of Lords, Bilimoria was handed the peerage in 2005 under Tony Blair, making him the first Zoroastrian Parsi to sit on the red benches. Made his fortune after coming up with the idea of Cobra at university in Cambridge, noting that regular lager was too gassy and bloating to be enjoyed with food, while ale was too bitter. Now chancellor of the University of Birmingham and vice-president of the CBI, an appointment reported as being “interpreted as inflammatory by some in Downing Street” when it was made last year as Bilimoria was a fervent Remain backer. Also an ardent critics of suggestions the House of Lords could be moved to York, saying: “It’s beyond a joke, it’s ridiculous and not thought through at all.” Quite. It should be in Wigan.
Who? Physician specialising in palliative care for the NHS
A former current affairs journalist who retrained to work as a doctor in 2009, Clarke is the latest beneficiary of Question Time’s change in policy in occasionally booking People Who Might Actually Know What They’re Talking About, after a return to the mean last week with a Scottish hip-hop artist. A regular media voice in the government’s 2015 dispute with junior doctors over pay and conditions, a row which now seems approximately 100 years ago, she went on to write the Sunday Times best-seller Your Life in My Hands: A Junior Doctor’s Story. Has been a vocal critic of the government’s provision of PPE, saying “I simply cannot understand why I am not an infection risk to other staff and patients when only a skimpy plastic apron covers my body”, which should annoy the pro-Boris cheerleaders on Twitter who equate any questioning of the government’s approach with basically being Lord Haw-Haw.
Question Time is on BBC One at 8.05pm tonight