What happens when two strong-minded individuals from opposite sides of the Brexit debate sit down for dinner? To find out, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme has organised a series of blind dates.
Love Island’s Zara McDermott, who recently quit her role as a policy adviser in the civil service so she can now speak freely on politics, is pro-Brexit.
Magid Magid, Lord Mayor of Sheffield, supports the Green Party and wants another referendum.
They went into the meal without knowing whom they would be meeting.
But did they get on?
Describe yourself: I’m Zara, I was on Love Island this year. I used to be a civil servant, but I’ve chosen to resign. Do you know how weird it is to be able to talk about my political opinion? I’ve been holding it in for three years now.
What are your views on Brexit? I support it, but I’m hoping for a good deal. I think it’s all a bit unsettling at the moment.
What was your initial impression on seeing Magid? I was quite surprised. I was expecting a suited and booted minister. When he said he was a mayor, I thought, ‘Gosh, he’s really different’. But that’s good, that he’s bucked the trend.
What did you talk about on the date? He said he supported a second referendum. But you can’t keep having elections until you get a desired outcome. You’ve got to to stick through it as a country. There are going to be people who never understood the full consequences, but you vote for an outcome, not a process.
What was the best thing about the date? I’ve now made a friend, and my friend is Lord Mayor! Our personalities got on very well. There are not many people you can open up to politically, but I could with him.
What was the worst thing? The anticipation of who it was going to be. I thought it was going to be Jeremy Corbyn.
What was your biggest disagreement? His support for lowering the voting age. I think it would be amazing to have 16-year-olds able to vote, but I don’t think we’re there yet. The first step is to educate young people, and try and engage them in politics. Don’t run before you can walk. I’ve spoken to thousands of young students [doing talks in schools], and some have no idea what government is and what it consists of. And I fear some would be coerced by what they see on social media.
Any awkward moments? I think when he brought the flowers in at the start of the date! I was like, ‘I have a boyfriend’.
Describe him in three words: Charismatic, intelligent, and funny.
Rate the date out of 10: For the fact the intention was to have a nice, lively discussion, I’d give it a 10.
Find out more
Watch the Victoria Derbyshire programme on weekdays between 10:00 and 11:00 GMT on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.
And find out what happened when Labour peer Prof Robert Winston met former Big Brother star Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace on Tuesday’s Brexit blind date.
Describe yourself: My name is Magid, Lord Mayor of Sheffield. But I don’t fit the mould of what someone would expect from a Lord Mayor. People either generally really quite like me, or they just kind of loathe me.
What are your views on Brexit? I think we should let the people decide. Give more control back to the people – rather than politicians. Even if I was a Brexiteer, I’d want another referendum. It’s the sensible thing to do.
What was your initial impression on seeing Zara? Thank God it wasn’t Katie Hopkins.
You chose to bring flowers? Yeah. I’d like to think they were appreciated. It was almost a peace offering, an olive branch to begin our chat. They had a hint of the EU in them too with the colours, but I don’t know if she got that.
How was your date? I probably didn’t learn anything new, but it was interesting. There are no Tories in Sheffield, so it was good to get a different view on things. You can get stuck in your own echo chamber sometimes.
What was the best thing about the date? Just her. She was the best thing. She was understanding – a lovely, sweet person.
Any awkward moments? Just at the very beginning, we were probably thinking, ‘Who the hell is that person?’ I’m not a Love Island viewer. But I tried to not make it awkward.
Any common ground? Yeah, that politics should be part of the curriculum. I like that she’s trying to engage young people in politics. And also we both thought that Theresa May is not doing the best job, though for different reasons.
What was your biggest disagreement? That she wasn’t in favour of young people [aged 16 and 17] having a vote. I completely disagreed with that. And that older people are able to make a more informed vote. Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you’re smarter. How are we going to get new thinkers and progressives otherwise? We’ve got too many old people making decisions, especially if young people have to pick up the pieces.
Would you see her again? Yeah definitely. If she’s ever in Sheffield she should swing by.
Describe her in three words: Interesting. Lovely. Funny.
Rate the date out of 10: To give 10 out of 10 she would have had to have seen the light – tell me ‘I’m no longer a Tory!’. So I’d say 7.3 out of 10.
Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46222589