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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 18:21 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in Liverpool on 25 November. He was joined for the interactive debate by Clare Short MP, George Osborne MP, Mark Oaten MP, the Right Reverend James Jones Bishop of Liverpool, and comedian Linda Smith.

Clare Short MP


Title: Former International Development Secretary

Career: Clare Short was a member of Tony Blair's cabinet until she resigned over the war in Iraq.

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First elected in 1983, she is regarded as one of the most forthright and plain-speaking members of the House of Commons. She resigned from the Labour frontbench three times.

Never afraid to take on the Labour leadership, she has been highly critical of Tony Blair over the war in Iraq and has called on him to stand down before the next election.

George Osborne MP


Title: Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Career: George Osborne cut his political teeth as former Conservative Party leader William Hague's speech writer.

After advising the then agriculture secretary, Douglas Hogg, during the BSE crisis, he won the safe seat of Tatton in 2001, replacing independent MP Martin Bell who stood down.

Mr Osborne is co-chairman of the "No" campaign against a regional north-west assembly and serves on the pro-Europe, anti-euro think tank, New Europe.

Mark Oaten


Title: Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman

Career: Mark Oaten this week accused the government of "talking up" the public's fear of crime and terror.

In 2001 he was elected chairman of the parliamentary party of the Liberal Democrats, a post he held until becoming home affairs spokesman in 2003.

He originally joined the SDP during the 1980s. On the right wing of the party, he supports private financing of public services and has campaigned on compensation for former prisoners of war.

Rt Rev James Jones


Title: Bishop of Liverpool

Career: Together with other Christian and Islamic leaders in Liverpool, the Bishop condemned the kidnapping of Kenneth Bigley in September.

Bishop of Liverpool since 1998, and Bishop of Hull prior to this, Mr Jones is deeply involved in urban regeneration. He broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 4's Thought For The Day.

He also lectures widely and has written several books. His latest, in 2003, looks at the relationship between Christianity and the environment: Jesus and the Earth.

Linda Smith


Title: Comedian

Career: Linda Smith is a regular on BBC Radio 4's News Quiz, Just A Minute and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.

Before breaking into radio comedy she performed at the Edinburgh Fringe for seven years running. She has also had her own Radio 4 show, A Brief History of Timewasting.

In 2002 she was voted "the wittiest living person" by listeners to Radio 4's Word Of Mouth, beating Stephen Fry to the title.

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


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