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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 16:23 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in Plymouth on 9 December.

He was joined for the interactive debate by former Treasury aide Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor Oliver Letwin MP, Liberal Democrat chairman Matthew Taylor MP, Robert Kilroy-Silk MEP of UKIP and writer Germaine Greer.

Ed Balls with Chancellor Gordon Brown

ED BALLS

Title: Labour Parliamentary Candidate

Career: As chief economic adviser to the Treasury, Ed Balls was one of Gordon Brown's closest aides.

He quit the Treasury in July to stand for Labour in the safe seat of Normanton in West Yorkshire. His wife, government minister Yvette Cooper, is MP in neighbouring Pontefract & Castleford.

He recently dismissed claims that the reportedly strained relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair was harming the government.


Oliver Letwin MP

OLIVER LETWIN MP

Title: Shadow Chancellor

Career: Oliver Letwin last week accused the chancellor of increasing taxation and borrowing, and wasting taxpayers' money.

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He has recently resisted pressure from within his party to announce detailed plans for tax cuts should the Conservatives win the next general election.

He has had a meteoric rise through his party's ranks since entering parliament in 1997, but had to give up his job in the City when he became shadow chancellor to avoid any conflict of interest.


Matthew Taylor MP

MATTHEW TAYLOR MP

Title: Liberal Democrat Party Chairman

Career: Matthew Taylor is in charge of preparing the Liberal Democrats' manifesto for the next general election.

He was the manager of Charles Kennedy's successful leadership campaign and helped develop the party's policy of a local income tax to replace council tax.

When he entered parliament at the age of 24, he was the UK's youngest MP and has since held most major posts in the party.


Robert Kilroy-Silk

ROBERT KILROY-SILK

Title: Member of the European Parliament

Career: Robert Kilroy-Silk still wants to lead the UK Independence Party despite resigning the party whip.

After hosting his own programme on the BBC for 17 years, he left last January over a newspaper article where he called Arabs "suicide bombers" and "limb amputators".

Last week a protestor threw a bucket of farm slurry over him, saying he was doing it in the name of Islam.


Germaine Greer

GERMAINE GREER

Title: Writer, Broadcaster and Academic

Career: Germaine Greer first became famous when her book, The Female Eunuch, was published in 1970.

The feminist icon was born in Australia and studied English at Melbourne and Sydney Universities. She later won a scholarship to Cambridge and gained a PhD in 1967.

She is a professor of English literature and an accomplished author. She regularly sits on BBC Two's Newsnight Review panel and writes for the Daily Telegraph.


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

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