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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 June, 2004, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
3 June 2004
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme was chaired by David Dimbleby and broadcast from Darlington. He was joined by Nick Brown MP, Liam Fox MP, Baroness Shirley Williams, author and journalist Polly Toynbee and editor the Ecologist Zac Goldsmith.

Nick Brown MP


Title: Former Agriculture Minister

Career: Nick Brown has been a key supporter of Chancellor Gordon Brown since before 1994 when Tony Blair became Labour leader.

Viewed by many as a chief rebel over university top-up fees, Nick Brown made a last minute switch and backed the government's proposals after it was announced that concessions would be made.
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He shot to public prominence as agriculture minister during the foot-and-mouth crisis in 2001 and was famously hit by an éclair during a National Farmers' Union meeting. He later served as minister for work but returned to the back benches last summer.

Liam Fox MP


Title: Co-chairman of the Conservative party

Career: Liam Fox has set up a Target Seats Unit to focus campaigning on marginal constituencies in the next general election.

He was first elected to parliament in 1993 as MP for Woodspring in Somerset. Soon afterwards he was appointed as Michael Howard's Parliamentary Private Secretary and ran his Tory leadership campaign 10 years later.

Until late last year, the former GP was his party's health spokesman and was behind the Conservatives' "patients' passports" policy which would allow people to choose which hospital they want to be treated at.

Baroness Shirley Williams


Title: Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords

Career: Shirley Williams was one of the "gang of four" who founded the Social Democrat Party in 1981 after she became disillusioned with Labour.

The former education secretary, who became Baroness Williams of Crosby in 1993, ruled herself out of the running to become Oxford University chancellor last year as a protest against top-up fees.

Her mother, Vera Brittain, was a leading member of the pacifist movement, and Baroness Williams staunchly opposed the war in Iraq and the current US-led administration in the country.

Polly Toynbee


Title: Author and Journalist

Career: Polly Toynbee is an award-winning Guardian columnist known for her outspoken liberal views.

Her favourite targets for criticism include George Bush, the war in Iraq, the Conservatives and Tony Blair. She is herself a favourite target among right-wingers and critics of political correctness.

She has published several books including Hard Work: Life in Low-Pay Britain in 2002. While researching the book she spent time living on one of the worst council estates in Britain and took jobs that paid the minimum wage.

Zac Goldsmith


Title: Editor of the Ecologist

Career: Zac Goldsmith is a veteran environmental campaigner and son of the late business tycoon and founder of the anti-EU Referendum Party, Sir James Goldsmith.

He criticised the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development as an exercise that was doomed to failure before it had even begun.

He owns a farm in Devon and helped set up the campaign group FARM which aims to bring farmers closer to environmentalists, producers and consumers. His sister Jemima is married to the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.

BBC One's Question Time is broadcast on Thursdays at 2235 GMT.


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