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Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 10:02 UK

This week's panel

Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, will be in Bexhill on Thursday 26 June.

The panel will include the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Yvette Cooper, the Conservative shadow security minister Pauline Neville Jones, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for home affairs Chris Huhne, contemporary artist Grayson Perry and the veteran journalist Ann Leslie.


Yvette Cooper MP

Career: Yvette Cooper is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. She entered the cabinet last year when Gordon Brown made her housing minister in his first cabinet.

In 1992, after a brief spell as an adviser to the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, she began working with Gordon Brown. She had previously spent two years as an economics researcher for the former shadow chancellor John Smith.

She became an MP in 1997 and joined the government in 1999 as parliamentary under secretary of state for public health.

She is married to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury Ed Balls, who is widely regarded as Gordon Brown's closest ally in the cabinet.

As the chancellor's deputy, she has echoed Alistair Darling's call this week for pay restraint, telling the Financial Times: "It is important we don't repeat the mistakes of the 1970s and 1980s. The challenge is to avoid the sort of accelerating wage increases we saw then. The important thing at the moment and over the next few months is a disciplined and responsible approach to pay in the public and private sector."


Baroness Neville-Jones

Career: Pauline Neville-Jones is the Conservative shadow security minister and David Cameron's advisor on national security. She was formerly the first woman to chair the Joint Intelligence Committee.

She served in the UK Diplomatic Service for over 30 years, working in a number of places, including Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Washington.

In the 1990s she joined John Major's government as a foreign affairs advisor and went on to become political director of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, leading the British delegation to the Dayton negotiations on the Bosnia peace settlement.

She was a governor of the BBC from 1998 to 2004 and was famously involved in the resignation of director general Greg Dyke following publication of the Hutton Report.

In January 2006, she was appointed by David Cameron to head the Conservative Party's National and International Security Policy Group and in July 2007 she became shadow security minister.


Chris Huhne MP

Career: Chris Huhne is the Liberal Democrat spokesman on home affairs. He was formerly the party's environment and rural affairs spokesman.

He was the runner up in last year's Lib Dem leadership contest, losing to Nick Clegg by just 511 votes. He had previously run for the party leadership in 2006, coming second behind Sir Menzies Campbell.

Before entering politics he worked in the City and has written a number of books on economic and development issues. After five years as the MEP for South East England, he was elected as the MP for Eastleigh in 2005 and served as a shadow treasury spokesman under Charles Kennedy.

He has led his party's opposition to the government's proposals to hold terrorist suspects for up to 42 days without charge, which were successfully voted through the commons earlier this month.

He has dismissed the plans as "entirely arbitrary" saying: "MI5, the director of public prosecutions and senior police officers think that this is an unnecessary extra power."


Grayson Perry
Career: Grayson Perry is one of the UK's best known contemporary artists and was the first ceramics artist to win the Turner Prize in 2003.

He was an arts correspondent for the Times until October 2007, giving up his column "because it takes me away from my first love and main business, making art".

He is currently curating the Unpopular Culture exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, which he says examines a time "before British Art became fashionable."

An autobiographical account of his formative years, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl, was published in 2006.

Last year, he wrote: "Because I occasionally enjoy a dig at pseudo-academic trendiness, some culturati, devout believers in the progressive orthodoxy, assume I am Conservative with a big C. This amuses me, as holding even mildly right-wing views is just about the only thing that will get the unshockable contemporary art establishment on to its hind legs. The intellectually driven art world likes to think of itself as left-wing. This seems to be related to the curious belief that just by loving art you are a better, more moral, person."


Ann Leslie

Career: Ann Leslie is a veteran journalist and Daily Mail columnist. She was a distinguished foreign correspondent for over 30 years and has reported on conflicts in around 70 countries, including Zimbabwe, China and South Africa.

She joined the Daily Express after graduating from university and was given her own column at the age of 22. She moved to the Daily Mail to cover foreign affairs in 1973.

She has won numerous awards for journalism, including several British Press Awards, the Variety Club Woman of the Year Award for services to journalism and broadcasting, the London Press Club's Edgar Wallace Award for outstanding reporting and the James Cameron Memorial Award for international reporting.

What the Papers Say gave her a lifetime achievement award in 2001 and she is one of only six women in the recently established Newspaper Hall of Fame.

She was awarded a Damehood on 30 December 2006 for services to journalism and said when collecting the honour: "I don't talk about great achievements. It's just the old thing about journalism being the first rough draft of history."

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