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 Dulwich’s James Allen’s Girls’ School, whose alumni include the actress Sally Hawkins. But who will prove Happy-Go-Lucky about Brexit – and who will find themselves getting An Education from their fellow panellists? Here’s who’s who and where they stand on Brexit…
Who? Conservative MP for Spelthorne and parliamentary private secretary to the chancellor
Where is he on Brexit? A firm Brexiteer
A loyalist who has authored books on Margaret Thatcher, Kwarteng’s loud televised attacks on opponents tend to get glowing coverage on the Express’ website, which regularly breathlessly reports he had BLASTED or, more usually, SHUT DOWN Remainers. Has attacked the BBC for a perceived anti-Brexit bias, saying: “I think it’s very important viewers realise that the talks are going quite well.” Has said “huge progress” had been made by the government and “now we’ve got a very clear idea of where we’re getting to”, which is certainly one interpretation. Branded calls for a People’s Vote on the final deal “patronising” and “not very helpful to democracy”. A former financial services analyst thought to harbour big ambitions, Kwarteng was on the Trinity College team which won University Challenge in 1995 and DESTROYED their opponents.
Who? Shadow home secretary
Where is she on Brexit? “What Jeremy has said is…”
Last year wrote to constituents in Hackney promising she would support a second referendum on the final Brexit deal, only to change tack once reminded this wasn’t Labour’s policy, saying: “The Labour party does not support a second referendum – we’ve never supported it, and we don’t support it now.” One of just a handful of ultra-loyalists trusted by Team Corbyn on the media, hence a seat on the QT panel almost as permanent as the UN’s Security Council. Wrote earlier this year that Labour had “a positive vision for Brexit” and that “Jeremy Corbyn has offered a serious proposal to the EU27”. Once again, a fun drinking game tonight would be to neck a shot every time Abbott says “what Jeremy has said is…”, and, once again, The New European accepts no liability for any accidents/illnesses/death.
Who? First vice president of the European Parliament
Where is she on Brexit? Strongly anti, she has described it as “an emotional issue” and warned it could destroy UK-Ireland relations
Described by the Irish World as “one of Ireland’s most prominent and most ambitious MEPs”, McGuiness has held the role of first vice president of the European Parliament since January 2017. A former presenter of RTÉ’s Celebrity Farm turned Fine Gael MEP, she has said the UK’s Brexit border plans “are more than the UK wanting to have its cake and eat it, it’s an attempt to have its cake and eat ours too”. Made headlines by claiming Britain’s exit would cause a more radical change in its relationship with Ireland than the 1916 Easter Rising or partition ever did. Said last month: “I’m not going to speak directly to Brexiteers because every time I do they tweet things I’d rather not see, so with respect, I hope that they hear my words as honourable words.” Mairead, meet Kwasi.
Who? Journalist, presenter and author
Where is he on Brexit? Solid Remainer
Aaronovitch wrote presciently in his Times column of February 11, 2016, that Brexiteers “will tell you that the EU is fundamentally unsound and undemocratic and leading the European people to disaster, and then blithely assume that it should carry on once we have left and allow us to trade and co-operate with it on more advantageous terms”. Which makes him tonight’s Person Who Might Actually Know What He’s Talking About. A child of Communists who himself was active on the hard left in his younger days, Aaronovitch is now one of the few people in the public eye who wouldn’t recoil in horror at being accused of being a Blairite. Unlike Kwarteng, Aaronovitch hasn’t won Question Time – he was a member of the 1975 Manchester University team that lost in the first round after answering most questions with the name of a Marxist (“Trotsky”, “Lenin”, “Karl Marx” or “Che Guevara”).
Who? Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto
Where is he on Brexit? Brexiteer. Told the BBC he had “sympathy with people’s desire to disentangle themselves from rulers who are too far away in the power hierarchy from them”
Tonight’s “ooh, edgy, this-will-get-them-going-on-Twitter” QT booking, Peterson is a right-wing academic and self-styled philosopher who riles Guardian-reading types while simultaneously winning hero status among a certain section of internet-obsessed young men who find talking to girls a tad tricky. Has more than 1.5m subscribers on YouTube, to whom he treats to broadsides against political correctness, left-wingers, human rights organisations, gender-neutral pronouns, anti-Islamophobia campaigners, and – who knows? – probably the Care Bears too. Tabatha Southey, a columnist for the Canadian magazine Macleans, has said “Peterson’s secret sauce is to provide an academic veneer to a lot of old-school rightwing cant”. Has himself said he has “a tremendous amount of faith, all things considered, in the people of the UK to muddle through properly”.