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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 14:00 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in Northampton on 18 January.

He was joined by Jacqui Smith MP, David Davis MP, Nick Clegg MP, director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti and novelist and broadcaster Edwina Currie.


Jacqui Smith MP

Title: Chief Whip

Career: Jacqui Smith is MP for Redditch and sits in the Cabinet as the Chief Whip.

She worked as a teacher for 10 years before winning her seat in 1997. She then became Deputy Minister for Women and Equality, during which she was responsible for publishing the government's proposals for civil partnerships.

Before being appointed Chief Whip in 2006, she served as Minister of Schools in the Department of Education.


David Davis

Title: Shadow Home Secretary

Career: A member of parliament since 1987, David Davis has contested the Conservative Party leadership on two occasions, losing first in 2001 to Iain Duncan Smith, who then appointed him chairman of the party.

In the next leadership race he was rewarded for his support for Michael Howard with the post of Shadow Home Secretary in Howard's shadow cabinet.

In this role, which he continues to hold today, he has spearheaded the Tories' rejection of Labour's ID card policy.

He famously lost out to David Cameron in last year's leadership contest, having entered the race as the frontrunner.

During the campaign, he urged the Tories to seek a fresh start, telling them, "let's stop apologising and get on with the job".


Nick Clegg MP

Title: Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman

Career: Having begun a career in journalism, he entered politics via Brussels, becoming the East Midlands MEP in 1999.

At the 2005 election Clegg was elected Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, and promoted to Shadow Spokesman on Foreign Affairs in 2005.

Following the resignation of Charles Kennedy in January 2006, Clegg was touted as a possible leadership contender, but was quick to rule himself out, instead declaring his support for Sir Menzies Campbell. When Campbell was made leader, Nick replaced Mark Oaten as the party's Spokesman on Home Affairs.


Shami Chakrabarti

Title: Director of Liberty

Career: Shami Chakrabarti has been director of the human rights and civil liberties organization, Liberty since 2003.

A barrister by background, she was called to the Bar in 1994 and then joined the Home Office as a lawyer.

Shami Chakrabartim is married and has a young son.


Edwina Currie

Title: Novellist and Broadcaster

Career: Edwina Currie is a former Conservative politician. A minister in the Department of Health under Mrs Thatcher, she remains one of Britain's best-known political figures.

Never shy of controversy, Edwina famously advised the elderly to avoid hypothermia by wearing "woolly hats and jumpers", and was forced to resign as a government minister in 1988 when she declared at the height of a food scare: "Most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now affected with salmonella".

Since her political career ended at the 1997 election, Edwina has pursued a successful career as a novelist and television personality, most recently appearing on reality TV shows such as Celebrity Stars in their Eyes and Celebrity Wife Swap.

Watch Question Time from Northampton

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