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Question Time



Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2008, 09:42 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in Manchester on Thursday 6 March.

The panel included the Cabinet Office Minister Ed Miliband, the shadow home secretary David Davis, veteran politician Baroness Williams, the leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage and comedian and broadcaster Marcus Brigstocke.


Ed Miliband MP
Ed Miliband is Minister for the Cabinet Office. He was promoted to the cabinet when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, having previously been Minister for Charities.

Ed is the younger brother of Foreign Secretary David Miliband and the son of the celebrated Marxist historian Ralph Miliband.

Prior to his election in 2005 he worked as a special adviser to Gordon Brown in the Treasury, and is seen as one of the Prime Minister's closest political allies.

This week he said that "undoubtedly we have had a difficult six months with some of the events that have happened. But I think that, in the end, people judge prime ministers and governments on the big substantive issues, on whether they make the right long-term decisions for the country."


David Davis MP

Career: David Davis is the shadow home secretary.

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

In the next leadership race he did not run and was rewarded for his support for the winner, Michael Howard, with the post of shadow home secretary.

He famously lost out to David Cameron in the most recent leadership contest, having entered the race as the frontrunner.

This week he attacked the government claims on 24-hour drinking laws, saying that: "The damning evidence against the government's drinking policy is overwhelming and comes from all sides: from the police, local authorities, statistics on hospital admission and the Home Office itself."


Baroness Williams

Career: Shirley Williams is a veteran politician who was leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords until November 2004.

Originally a Labour MP, she was one of the "Gang of Four" rebels who left the party to found the Social Democratic Party in 1981, which later merged with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats.

She is also Emeritus professor of electoral politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.


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.

He has been a leading opponent of the Lisbon Treaty, which is being debated in parliament this week.

He claims: "The European Parliament has joined national governments in their gigantic deceit that pretends that this treaty isn't constitutional. They are too chicken to have a referendum, particularly in Britain, where they know they would lose."


Marcus Brigstocke

Career: Marcus Brigstocke is a comedian, writer and broadcaster.

Since winning BBC New Comedian of 1996, he has become a well-known voice on British radio and television, with regular appearances on Have I Got News for You and Radio 4 programmes such as Just a Minute, Newsquiz and The Now Show.

He has written for various publications, including The Guardian and The Independent. He also presents the Late Edition on BBC 4.

He is an active member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and a committed campaigner on green issues.

Last autumn he travelled to the Arctic to make a film about the effects of climate change, and he recently reported on the 100,000 "eco-makeover" of his London home in a feature for The Independent.

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