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Question Time



Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was broadcast from Tonbridge, Kent on 21 September.

David Dimbleby was joined by Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman MP, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy, Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission Sir Christopher Meyer and writer and broadcaster Tariq Ali


Harriet Harman MP

Title: Constitutional Affairs Minister

Harriet Harman announced last week that she is putting her name forward as a contender for the Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party.

She backs Gordon Brown as Tony Blair's successor and has said that the Prime Minister's approach to foreign policy has "become a symbol of mistrust and division".

She is married to the Labour Party's Treasurer, Jack Dromey, who accused Number 10 of "impropriety" during the "cash for peerages scandal".


Charles Kennedy MP

Title: Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Charles Kennedy made his so-called "comeback" speech at the party conference in Brighton this week.

He told the party faithful on Tuesday that the "best is yet to come".

He resigned the leadership of the Liberal Democrats last January after admitting he had a drink problem.

A poll earlier this year showed that the majority of people questioned thought that the Liberal Democrats were worse off without Charles Kennedy.


Anne Widdecombe

Title: Conservative


Ann Widdecombe said this week "if Islam does not disown violence as a means of spreading its faith, then it has no right to whinge about the Pope who at least has the guts not to shirk the issue".

She has served as an MP since 1987 and is well known for her forthright views on marriage, abortion and religion.

Ms Widdecombe was a member of John Major's government and in William Hague's shadow cabinet and is due to step down from Parliament at the next General Election.

She is a popular novelist and has participated in a number of television shows.


Sir Christopher Meyer

Title: Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission

Christopher Meyer is the former ambassador to the United States and has played a key role in much of recent British foreign policy including Kosovo, the Northern Ireland peace process, the war in Afghanistan and the run up to the war in Iraq.

He was previously John Major's press secretary.

In his recent controversial memoirs he labelled a number of current government ministers "'pygmies".


Tariq Ali

Title: Writer and broadcaster


Born and brought up in Pakistan, Tariq Ali now lives in London.

He is a long-time member of the editorial committee of New Left Review, and regularly contributes to The Guardian, Counterpunch and the London Review of Books.

His fiction includes a series of historical novels about Islam.

He is a high profile opponent of the Iraq war and has criticised the Pope's recent comments, saying that "Islam does not need pacifist lessons from the Catholic Church".

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