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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 23:39 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in Warrington on 24 February.

He was joined for the interactive debate by Alun Michael MP, Theresa May MP, Norman Baker MP, comedian Mark Steel, and writer and broadcaster Anne Atkins.

Alun Michael MP

Title: Rural Affairs Minister

Career: Alun Michael has presided over the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales which came into force last Friday.

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He was first minister for Wales from 1998 to 2000. Though supported by Tony Blair, he resigned as leader of the Welsh Labour Party before losing a vote of no confidence.

A Blairite loyalist, Mr Michael is a member of the left-wing think tank the Fabian Society.

Theresa May MP

Title: Shadow Family Secretary

Career: Theresa May was appointed shadow secretary of state for the family in July 2004.

She has called for a change in the family justice system, advocating the use of mediation and saying that "the courts should be the last, not first option".

Mrs May became the first woman party chairman in 2002. She has previously called on the Conservatives to update their image by selecting more women MPs and welcoming minority groups.

Norman Baker MP

Title: Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesman

Career: Norman Baker believes the Kyoto treaty is "the most significant issue for the human race in the next half-century".

He has a reputation for his parliamentary questions, and is credited with triggering Peter Mandelson's second departure from the cabinet in 2001 with questions about the Hinduja brothers.

Mr Baker, who once admitted he had "listened to Queen's Speeches since I was in short trousers", was elected in 1997 as the first non-Conservative MP for Lewes since 1874.

Mark Steel

Title: Comedian

Career: A stand-up comedian for 20 years, Mark Steel is known for his political satire as well as his work mixing comedy with historical topics.

He has a weekly column in the Independent, and has written three books, the most recent - Vive La Revolution - examining bizarre occurrences and characters within the French Revolution.

Aside from his work, Mark spends time watching Crystal Palace play football during the winter or following Kent County Cricket Club in the summer.

Anne Atkins

Title: Journalist, Broadcaster and Writer

Career: Anne Atkins is a well known commentator on the family, theology, modern manners, morality and a variety of ethical issues.

She is the author of several books, most recently Child Rearing For Fun, in 2004. She has written columns for various national newspapers, including as "Agony Atkins" for The Daily Telegraph.

The devout Christian is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought For the Day and has appeared on television programmes such as Kilroy, Newsnight, and The Heaven and Earth Show.

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


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