Who’s on the BBC’s Question Time tonight?

PUBLISHED: 11:07 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 19:17 28 May 2020

Fiona Bruce, presenter of the BBC's Question Time programme. Photograph: BBC.

Fiona Bruce, presenter of the BBC's Question Time programme. Photograph: BBC.

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Who is on the BBC Question Time panel tonight? Here’s your full guide

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Tonight’s Question Time comes virtually from Glasgow, with audience members submitting questions from the Dear Green Place via video. But who’s on the panel? Here’s your complete guide...

Helen Whately

Who? Junior health minister

Former deputy chair of the Conservative Party, Whately served as a junior arts minister from September last year to February before, having presumably made a massive impact on the the UK’s cultural life, she was reshuffled to health. Having graduated from the school of life (boarding school, Westminster School and Oxford) she was named by Tatler in 2008 as as one of 10 young rising stars of the Conservative Party and tipped as a future health secretary. Showed her independence of thought this week when she tweeted: “Dom Cummings has answered extensive questions about how he stayed within guidance and exercised his best judgement to care for his child; now let’s get on with what matters like saving lives, getting the economy going again and beating #Coronavirus”.

Ian Murray

Who? Labour shadow Scotland secretary

Labour’s shadow Scotland secretary by virtue of being Labour’s only MP in Scotland, Murray initially served in Jeremy Corbyn’s team but resigned following the Brexit referendum and later backed Owen Smith in his bid to unseat the Absolute Boy. A member of the Blairite Progress wing, Murray ran for deputy leader this year on an unashamed “hey guys, wasn’t it great when we won elections” ticket, only to finish fourth (leading Corbynista outrider and Canary editor Kerry-Anne Mendoza tweeted of her party’s only successful Caledonian candidate “I don’t even know who this guy is. I’m not even joking”). A former manager of a pizza delivery service and chair of the Foundation of Hearts, a bid by fans to buy out the beleaguered football club, he wrote today of the Scottish Government’s handling of the pandemic that “there is no doubt the first minister has been a more polished and clear communicator than the PM (which isn’t hard) during this crisis, but this doesn’t make up for the problems we have in Scotland.”

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John Swinney

Who? Deputy first minister of Scotland

Leader of the SNP for four years at the turn of the century - being sandwiched either side by Alex Salmond - Swinney has been Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy and the Scottish Government’s education secretary since 2016. Seen as the dry foil to Sturgeon’s more poetic campaigning, Swinney is responsible for deciding how and when to open Scotland’s schools, telling MSPs this week that he could not it happening any earlier than August 11. Also said £9m had been set aside to buy 25,000 laptops for pupils to help with “blended learning” which, if nothing else, should ensure Scotland is home to many of the world’s leading Fortnite players within the next couple of years. Has been highly critical of the UK government’s handling of the pandemic, branding messages coming from Westminster to English media as “disastrous” and a “foolish mistake to be made”.

Layla McCay

Who? Director of international relations at the NHS Confederation

Psychiatrist, former World Health Organisation and World Bank staffer and this week’s Person Who Might Actually Know What They’re Talking About, McCay tweeted following l’affaire Cummings that “we as a population know that social distancing is very hard but the right thing to do. Let’s not allow anyone else’s socially disengaged decisions to sway us from what we know to be good: looking after each other and the NHS”. But stressed it was a “personal view” as she was on holiday, something that, unlike Cummings, she showed evidence for by also tweeting a picture of the scones she had baked that day using Cunard’s recipe. Has held academic positions at Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Hong Kong University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, none of which will protect her from the pro-Boris Twitter brigade if she dares to question the government’s handling of the crisis.

Alex Massie

Who? Scotland editor of The Spectator

Writer for every title under the sun, accordingly to a remarkably well-maintained Wikipedia page, Massie is more specifically Scotland editor of the Spectator, a columnist for the Scottish edition of the Times and a shortlisted entrant for the Orwell Prize for political writing back in the simpler times of 2012. Remember 2012? Last appeared on Question Time in February when pro-independence Tweeters and newspaper The National got incredibly exercised by the fact that he had what appeared to be a brown sauce stain on his jacket. Has been the columnist doing much of the running on the ramifications for the SNP of a book Alex Salmond is writing about his acquittal on sex charges earlier this year, saying that “Mr Salmond’s allies have muttered darkly that the former SNP leader has been the victim of a conspiracy launched by people close to his successor”. That stain though.

Question Time is on BBC One at 10.45pm (11.25pm 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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