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Question Time



Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 12:43 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, is in York on Thursday 29 November.

On the panel are Minister of State for Employment Caroline Flint, Conservative Shadow Secretary for Business Alan Duncan, Lib Dem Shadow Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills Sarah Teather, UKIP leader Nigel Farage and businessman Paul Myners.


Caroline Flint MP

Career: Caroline Flint is the Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform, and MP for Yorkshire and the Humber.

She was previously minister for Public Health, and was responsible for overseeing the introduction of the smoking ban in England in July.

Having been elected as an MP in 1997, she served as a private secretary to Peter Hain in both the Department of Trade and Industry and the Foreign Office.

In 2002, she moved to work under John Reid when he was Leader of the House of Commons, before joining the Home Office in June 2003.

Last month she was forced to defend her department when it was revealed that the number of foreign workers in the UK was 300,000 more than previous government estimates, saying: "I do accept it is a big mistake."


Alan Duncan MP

Career: Alan Duncan is Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

He has been an MP since 1992, and has held a number of positions in government and opposition, including shadow health secretary and vice chairman of the party.

He has been an outspoken critic of Gordon Brown, saying this week: "Instead of the new-style, open government promised earlier this year, it seems that Brown's bully-boy tactics are still going strong. How can we get trust back into politics when Gordon Brown treats people in this way?"

In his student days, he was president of the Oxford Union, which made headlines this week when it invited BNP leader Nick Griffin and the controversial historian David Irving to speak at a debate.

Alan Duncan defended the Union's decision, saying: "Education is about teaching people how to think, not teaching them what to think, and I don't think the mob should have the right to insist that students should have to adopt hand-me-down opinions."


Sarah Teather MP

Career: Sarah Teather is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Innovation, Universities and Skills, having previously been their education spokesperson.

She was first elected to parliament aged 29, at the 2003 Brent East by-election, becoming the youngest member of the House of Commons.

Before entering politics, she trained as a scientist and worked for Macmillan Cancer Care Relief, where she advised on health and social policy.

Following the resignation of Charles Kennedy, Sarah supported Menzies Campbell in his successful leadership election campaign and was promoted to the front bench earlier this year.


Nigel Farage MEP

Career: Nigel Farage is the leader of the UK Independence Party.

Having joined the Conservative Party as a schoolboy, he left in 1992 in protest over John Major's signing of the Maastricht Treaty and went on to found UKIP in 1993.

In 1999, and again in 2004, he was elected to the European Parliament and currently leads UKIP's 10 MEPs, as well as being co-leader of the multi-national Eurosceptic group Independence and Democracy.

In August it was announced that UKIP would have to forfeit 18,000 in "impermissible donations" from a donor who was not on the election register. At the time, Nigel Farage said: "We may have broken the letter of the act but we did not break the spirit of the act."


Paul Myners

Career: Paul Myners is one of the country's leading businessmen and a close supporter of - and donor to - Gordon Brown.

He is chairman of the Guardian Media Group, the Low Pay Commission (which sets the minimum wage and advises the government on its implementation), and chair of the trustees at the Tate.

He is also a member of the Court of Directors of the Bank of England. He has previously been Chairman of Marks & Spencer, and an Executive Director at NatWest.

He is a Trustee of the Brownite think tank The Smith Institute and has been dubbed "Gordon Brown's favourite businessman".

He is also part of the management team put together by US private equity house JC Flowers which is bidding to take control of Northern Rock.

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