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Question Time



Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 12:56 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in London on 8 November.

On the panel were Home Office minister Tony McNulty, the senior Conservative politician Lord Heseltine, the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable, the British-Egyptian novelist and political commentator Ahdaf Soueif and the journalist and writer Douglas Murray.


Tony McNulty MP

Career: Tony McNulty is Minister of State for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing - issues which were at the heart of this week's Queen's Speech.

He was formerly the Immigration Minister.

Speaking over the weekend about how long terror suspects should be held he said the government wanted to extend the limit, "probably" to 56 days.


Lord Heseltine

Career: Michael Heseltine is one of the most senior Conservative politicians, whose political career has spanned four decades.

He became the Conservative MP for Tavistock in 1966 and served as a junior minister in Edward Heath's government, before being promoted to Secretary of State for the Environment, and later Defence Secretary, by Margaret Thatcher.

His challenge for the leadership of the party in 1990 triggered the resignation of Lady Thatcher, but he was beaten by John Major, who made him Deputy Prime Minister in 1995.

Upon retiring from the Commons in 2001, he was made a life peer in the House of Lords.

After backing David Cameron's election for party leader, he has led the Conservatives' cities task force, aimed at increasing Tory support in urban areas.


Vince Cable MP

Career: Vince Cable has been the acting leader of the Liberal Democrats since the resignation of Sir Menzies Campbell last month.

After a career as an economist, during which he worked for the World Bank and the UN and was Chief Economist of Shell, he was elected as the Lib Dem MP for Twickenham in 1997.

He has been the party's chief economic advisor since 2003, a role which he has used to argue that the Lib Dems should stand for "fairer taxes, not higher taxes".

He became deputy leader under Ming Campbell in March 2006, and has announced that he will not be running in the Lib Dem leadership race later this month.

He recently made headlines with his decision to boycott the visit of Saudi King Abdullah. Citing the country's human rights record, he said: "I think it's quite wrong that as a country we should give the leader of Saudi Arabia this honour."


Ahdaf Soueif

Career: Ahdaf Soueif is a British-Egyptian novelist, and political commentator.

Her novel The Map of Love was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1999 and subsequently translated into 16 languages.

She was born in Egypt and grew up in the UK, and now divides her time between the two countries.

She has written extensively on Middle-Eastern history and politics, and her articles have appeared in both English and Arabic publications, including al-Arabi, Cosmopolitan, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, and The Washington Post.


Douglas Murray

Career: Douglas Murray is a journalist and writer, who was recently described in the New York Sun as "Britain's only neo-conservative".

His book, Neo-conservatism: Why We Need It, was hailed as "the Right's answer to Michael Moore", and his comments about the rise of extremist Islam in Holland have led to his needing police protection when visiting the country.

In August he was the co-author of the report, Hate on The State: How British Libraries Encourage Islamic Extremism, published by the Centre for Social Cohesion, of which he is the director.

Last month he wrote in The Spectator: "Recognition of the superiority of [Western] values is made with people's feet every day in the one-way human migration to the West... In the face of one particular demographic which seems not at all afraid of being branded 'culturally imperialist', the West's inability to assert the superiority of its values is beginning to look not so much coy as selfish."

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