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.
Former Big Brother contestant Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace is pro-Leave.
Labour peer and fertility expert Prof Lord Winston believes the UK would be much better remaining in the EU.
They went into the meal without knowing whom they would be meeting.
But did they get on?
Who are you? I’m Aisleyne. I work on TV but my main income is as a property developer.
What are your views on Brexit? We need to be able to stand alone. We need to shut the borders because we’re bursting at the seams financially and we need to fix our problems at home before we fix anyone else’s problems. [Being in the EU] is like having a broken leg and trying to carry another person with a broken leg to the hospital. It’s just not going to work.
What was your initial impression of Prof Lord Winston? I thought: “What a dapper gentleman, looking like Super Mario.”
How was your date? It was a pleasure to spend time with someone that’s so educated and for me to still be able to hold a decent conversation and not feel out of my depth. I’m just in awe of him and all the work he’s done with embryos – I saved him in my phone as “Lord Embryo”.
What did you talk about? The fact that he said all of his learned colleagues at [the hospital where he works] were already leaving the UK. That worried me a bit because I didn’t think that was happening. I don’t know if he was saying it for effect but he doesn’t strike me as the type of person to lie.
Any common ground? Just the fact that we both loved [hip hop artists] Tupac and Biggie – and our fascination behind reproduction.
Anything you didn’t enjoy? When he thought I was patronising him [when saying: “Thank you for your service,” after he explained his work in the NHS]. He said: “Don’t patronise me,” but it was really just a compliment, because I’d never want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Did he convince you of anything? I still believe that we can stand alone and we do need to fix our problems but he has made me think that it needs to be a little bit more tailored. Before, I thought: “[Let’s just have a] hard Brexit,” but he has made me realise the intricacies.
Did you convince him of anything? Just that I was fabulous – I think he really did stop and listen to what I had to say, which was a huge compliment.
Would you see him again? Yes – he took me to the House of Lords [since the blind date]. It was just fascinating. It was really eye-opening to see how the other half work. I just think he’s an absolute delight and what a pleasure to now be friends with him – he’s a really great person.
Describe him in three words: Genius, kind, learned.
Marks out of 10 for the date: I really want to say 10. I left feeling like I wanted to know more. I left feeling like I could hold a conversation with a lord.
Find out more
Watch the BBC’s 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 broadcaster June Sarpong met ex-Stig Perry McCarthy on Wednesday’s Brexit blind date.
Prof Lord Winston
Who are you? Robert Winston, professor of science and society at Imperial College in London, where I work on reproductive medicine.
What are your views on Brexit? I voted Remain. I see myself as a European. I’ve always felt that. Recognising what had happened to Europe, really from 1618 onwards, the time of the Thirty Years’ War, it seemed to me obvious that we actually need some form of better coalition between European countries. I think one of the very real reasons for wanting to be part of the union is to have a peaceful Europe, which has been highly successful. What was remarkable in the Brexit debate was this was seldom actually recognised.
How was your date? The food was OK. The soup was good but you can’t really talk and eat soup.
What did you talk about? The NHS, trade, Theresa May.
Any common ground? Not much.
What did you disagree about? Everything – one of the things that is always a problem in arguments, and I hear it in the House of Lords in debates, is when someone says: “I believe that so-and-so should happen’. The trouble is when you are arguing with or against belief, there is an emotional compound to it. That is a big problem when you are looking mathematically and rationally and in a dispassionate way. That’s the problem with Brexit – it has polarised communities and individuals in a way I don’t think anyone expected.
What did you learn about your date? I learned a whole lot of things. I didn’t know about her background, I didn’t know who she was – I didn’t know who I was meeting.
Would you see her again? We are going to meet in five years’ time, we’ve agreed – that’s a firm commitment. And I took her to the House of Lords so she can see Parliament in action.
Watch more Brexit blind dates
Find out what happened when Love Island’s Zara went on a date with Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid.