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Question Time



Last Updated: Thursday, 25 January 2007, 16:25 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in High Wycombe on 25 January.

He was joined by Geoff Hoon MP, Nicholas Soames MP, the political commentator Matthew Parris, ballet dancer, writer and broadcaster Deborah Bull and the writer and broadcaster Anne Atkins.


Geoff Hoon MP

Title: Europe Minister

Career: Geoff Hoon was recently reshuffled to the Foreign Office as Europe minister but still attends Cabinet.

He was made secretary of state for defence in 1999 and spent six years overseeing British forces in military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He has suggested that Tony Blair should stand down before the elections in May saying that "a lot of people will be asking if it makes sense for him to carry on through those elections".


Nicholas Soames MP

Title: Former Armed Forces Minister

Career: Nicholas Soames was the Armed Forces Minister in John Major's government and is now Conservative MP for Mid Sussex.

The grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, he has been in parliament since 1983. He worked in the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food between 1992 and 1994 before becoming Minister for the Armed forces in 1994.

A former equerry to the Prince of Wales, he says of modern politics: "It produces inevitably a lot of very grey dull people who would die rather than go against their party's lineż I don't pay any attention to these rules."


Matthew Parris

Title: Journalist and Political Commentator

Career: Matthew Parris is a journalist and political commentator and was Conservative MP for West Derbyshire from 1979 to 1986.

He left politics to pursue a career in the media, first as the presenter of ITV's Weekend World, then as a parliamentary sketch writer. He went on to win awards for his coverage of elections in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has since appeared on a number of TV and radio shows, including Have I Got News For You.

He announced he was gay in one of his newspaper columns, and famously stated during a Newsnight interview in 1998 who the gay members of the then Cabinet were.


Deborah Bull CBE

Title: Writer and Broadcaster

Career: Deborah Bull is a ballet dancer, writer and broadcaster. She was a BBC governor from 2003 to December 2006.

She joined the Royal Ballet in 1981, becoming Principal Dancer in 1992. In 1999 she was invited to sit on Arts Council England, and from 2002 has been in charge of the Royal Opera Houses' ROH2 programme, which stages less conventional productions than the main house.

Her time as a governor of the BBC coincided with the Hutton Inquiry.


Anne Atkins

Title: Writer and Broadcaster

Career: Anne Atkins is a writer and broadcaster.

She is a committed Christian and an Anglican commentator, well known for her contributions to Radio 4's Thought for the Day, during which she once said that people who did not believe that Jesus had lived were "dafter than fried eggs".

She has also appeared on Newsnight and the Moral Maze, as well as regularly writing for the Daily Express.

Anne supports the Catholic Church's position on adoption by gay couples, and told The Sun in 1996: "There's no doubt that most people share my opinion that homosexual acts are wrong."

Question Time from High Wycombe

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

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