Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme was chaired by David Dimbleby and broadcast from Darlington. He was joined by Nick Brown MP, Liam Fox MP, Baroness Shirley Williams, author and journalist Polly Toynbee and editor of the Ecologist Zac Goldsmith.
NICK BROWN MP
Title: Former Agriculture Minister
Career: Nick Brown has been a key supporter of Chancellor Gordon Brown
since before 1994 when Tony Blair became Labour leader.
Viewed by many as a chief rebel over university top-up fees, Nick Brown
made a last minute switch and backed the government's proposals after it
was announced that concessions would be made.
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He shot to public prominence as agriculture minister during the
foot-and-mouth crisis in 2001 and was famously hit by an éclair during a
National Farmers' Union meeting. He later served as minister for
work but returned to the back benches last summer.
LIAM FOX MP
Title: Co-chairman of the Conservative party
Career: Liam Fox has set up a Target Seats Unit to focus campaigning on
marginal constituencies in the next general election.
He was first elected to parliament in 1993 as MP for Woodspring in
Somerset. Soon afterwards he was appointed as Michael Howard's
Parliamentary Private Secretary and ran his Tory leadership campaign 10
Until late last year, the former GP was his party's health spokesman and
was behind the Conservatives' "patients' passports" policy which would
allow people to choose which hospital they want to be treated at.
BARONESS SHIRLEY WILLIAMS
Title: Liberal Democrat Leader in the 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 opposed the war in Iraq and the current
US-led administration in the country.
Title: Author and Journalist
Career: Polly Toynbee is an award-winning Guardian columnist known for her
outspoken liberal views.
Her favourite targets for criticism include George Bush, the war in Iraq,
the Conservatives and Tony Blair. She is herself a favourite target among
right-wingers and critics of political correctness.
She has published several books including Hard Work: Life in Low-Pay
Britain in 2002. While researching the book she spent time living on one
of the worst council estates in Britain and took jobs that paid the minimum
Title: Editor of the Ecologist
Career: Zac Goldsmith is a veteran environmental campaigner and son of the
late business tycoon and founder of the anti-EU Referendum Party, Sir James Goldsmith.
He criticised the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development as an
exercise that was doomed to failure before it had even begun.
He owns a farm in Devon and helped set up the campaign group FARM which
aims to bring farmers closer to environmentalists, producers and consumers.
His sister Jemima is married to the cricketer-turned-politician Imran
BBC One's Question Time is broadcast on Thursdays at 2235 GMT.