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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 15:57 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in Slough on 15 January. The panel joining him for the interactive debate were David Miliband MP, George Osborne MP, Baroness Williams, Dr David Starkey and Claire Fox.

David Miliband MP

Title: Schools Minister

Career: David Miliband was nicknamed "Brains" when he was head of the Downing Street Policy Unit, a post he earned after editing the influential book Reinventing the Left.

He proved he could also handle the cut and thrust of politics when, as schools minister, he survived the A-level controversy that contributed to the downfall of education secretary, Estelle Morris in 2002.

Mr Miliband's father, Ralph, was a prominent Marxist theorist, and his brother, Ed, is an advisor to Chancellor Gordon Brown.

George Osborne MP

Title: Shadow Minister for Economic Affairs

Career: George Osborne cut his political teeth as former Conservative party leader, William Hague's political secretary and speech writer.

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After advising the then agriculture secretary, Douglas Hogg during the BSE crisis, he was rewarded with the safe seat of Tatton where independent MP Martin Bell stood down ahead of the 1997 election.

Mr Osborne is co-chairman of the "No" campaign against a regional north-west assembly and serves on the pro-Europe, anti-euro think tank, New Europe.

Baroness Williams

Title: Liberal Democrat leader in Lords

Career: Shirley Williams was one of the "gang of four" who founded the Social Democrat Party in 1981 after she became disillusioned with Labour.

The former education secretary, who became Baroness Williams of Crosby in 1993, ruled herself out of the running to become Oxford University chancellor last year as a protest against top-up fees.

Her mother, Vera Brittain, was a leading member of the pacifist movement, and Baroness Williams staunchly opposes the war in Iraq and the current US-led administration in the country.

Dr David Starkey

Title: Historian, author and TV presenter

Career: Dubbed "the rudest man in Britain" by the Daily Mail, Dr David Starkey became the best paid British television presenter in 2002.

The self-styled "academic thug" campaigns for gay rights within the Conservative Party as a vice-president of the Tory Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

Dr Starkey moved into broadcasting as a guest on BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze programme in 1992 and went on to present a number of popular historical programmes, including Elizabeth I and The Six Wives of Henry VIII.

Claire Fox

Title: Director, Institute of Ideas

Career: Claire Fox founded the Institute of Ideas which provides the public a forum for debate through conferences and discussions.

The former co-publisher of Living Marxism magazine is a passionate supporter of the arts, and a critic of Labour's plans to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Before becoming a journalist, Ms Fox worked as a mental health social worker and later as a lecturer in English Literature.

BBC One's Question Time is broadcast on Thursdays at 2235 GMT.


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