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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 09:06 GMT
11 March 2004
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, is in Gloucester on 11 March. The panel joining him for the interactive debate are Beverley Hughes MP, Theresa May MP, Lord Razzall, Bruce Anderson and Alain De Botton.

Beverley Hughes MP

BEVERLEY HUGHES MP

Title: Immigration Minister

Career: Beverley Hughes is at the centre of a row over the alleged fast-tracking of some Eastern European immigrants, but says she did not know key checks were being waived.

Elected in 1997, the former probation officer took over responsibility for asylum and immigration following Stephen Byers' departure from government in 2002, and previously served as child protection minister.

Ms Hughes said the BBC's Asylum Day programme last year "trivialised" life and death immigration decisions and attacked a 2001 edition of Channel 4's Brass Eye, on paedophilia, as being "unspeakably sick".


Theresa May MP
THERESA MAY MP

Title: Shadow Environment and Transport Secretary

Career: Theresa May has criticised the government's recent decision to allow GM crops to be grown in Britain.

After becoming the first woman party chairman in 2002, she made headlines for wearing leopard-print shoes to that year's party conference, and warning that the Conservatives were seen as the "nasty party".

Mrs May also called on the Conservatives to modernise their image by selecting more women MPs and welcoming minority groups into the party.


Lord Razzall
LORD RAZZALL

Title: Liberal Democrat spokesman on Trade and Industry in the Lords

Career: Lord Razzall was appointed Lib Dem party treasurer in 1988 and was chairman of the 2001 general election campaign.

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Awarded a CBE in 1993, he had a successful career as a solicitor before starting his own company giving business advice to growing firms, and has held a number of company directorships.

Lord Razzall, who was made a life peer in 1997, was Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy's best man at his wedding two years ago.


Bruce Anderson
BRUCE ANDERSON

Title: Journalist and Writer

Career: Bruce Anderson has a column in the Independent, writes for the Spectator and is known as "The Beast" for his right-wing views.

Mr Anderson has argued that Clare Short should be arrested for breaking the Official Secrets Act, praised Tony Blair's relationship with US President George W Bush, supported the war in Iraq, and has called for the legalisation of drugs.

The former Sunday Telegraph assistant editor and Weekend World television producer worked in the Conservative Party research department in the 1970s and wrote a political biography of John Major in 1991.


Alain de Botton
ALAIN DE BOTTON

Title: Philosopher and Writer

Career: Alain de Botton has written many best-selling philosophy books that tackle questions of everyday life.

His writing has dealt with subjects ranging from travelling, relationships, architecture, philosophers and the affect of anxiety on people's lives. How Proust Can Change Your Life was turned into a BBC film.

Mr de Botton, who was born in Zurich, was awarded the Chavalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres, one of France's highest literary honours in 2003. He has presented two television series on philosophy.


BBC One's Question Time is broadcast this Thursday at 22:35 GMT.



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