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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme, was in Stockton-on-Tees on Thursday, 1 June, 2006.

David Dimbleby was joined for the interactive debate by Labour MP Diane Abbot, shadow minister for housing Michael Gove MP, philosopher Alain de Botton, Assistant editor of the Times Mary Ann Sieghart and film director Michael Winner.

Diane Abbot MP

Title: Labour MP

Career: Diane Abbott made history by becoming Britain's first black woman MP.

A journalist by profession, she worked for Thames TV. She currently stars alongside Michael Portillo in BBC One's weekly politics show This Week.

She voted against the government on the Iraq war, foundation hospitals and student top up fees.


Michael Gove MP
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Title: Shadow Minister for Housing

Career: Michael Gove was elected last year to parliament after a high flying career in journalism.

He is a close friend of David Cameron's and is part of the so-called "Notting Hill set" of young Tories who are modernising the party.

Michael is also the biographer of Michael Portillo.

Alain de Botton

Title: Philosopher

Career: Alain de Botton has spent his career writing books that tackle questions of everyday life from a philosophical point of view.

Aside from writing, he has made a number of television documentaries for Channel 4 and frequently travels to lecture on his books.

His latest book is titled The Architecture of Happiness.

Assistant editor of the Times Mary Ann Sieghart

Title: Assistant Editor, the Times

Career: Mary Ann Sieghart is a columnist and leader writer for the Times and has been with the newspaper for over 17 years.

She recently went backpacking around Southern and Central America with her family for four months and reported regularly on her adventure.

Mary Ann has been an outspoken supporter of Tony Blair and his reform agenda.

Michael Winner

Title: Film Director

Career: Michael Winner is a prolific film director and producer and has worked with some of cinema's best known actors.

Recently Michael was offered an OBE for his campaigning work on behalf of the Police Memorial Trust but turned it down saying, "an OBE is what you get if you clean the toilets well at Kings Cross."

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


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