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Question Time



Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 09:12 GMT
This Week's Panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, will be broadcast from Belfast.

He will be joined by Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain, Former First Minister of Northern Ireland Lord Trimble, Chief Negotiator of Sinn Fein Martin McGuinness, Leader of the SDLP Mark Durkan and Defence spokesman for the DUP Jeffrey Donaldson.


Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Wales

Title: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Wales

Career: A key ally of the Prime Minister in the Cabinet, Peter Hain was Leader of the House of Commons before taking on the Northern Ireland portfolio.

In September he became the first Cabinet member to launch his campaign for Labour's deputy leadership.

Last weekend he launched an outspoken attack on the Russian President, Vladimir Putin following the poisoning of the former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Mr Hain spoke of the "extremely murky murder of a senior Russian journalist" and the "huge attacks on individual liberty and on democracy" that have taken place under Putin.


Lord Trimble

Title: Former First Minister of NI and Former Leader of Ulster Unionists

Career: David Trimble won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 alongside John Hume of the SDLP after becoming the first UUP leader to negotiate with Sinn Fein, which resulted in the Good Friday Agreement.

He served as first minister until October 2002 when the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended. He was re-elected as party leader in 2004 but lost his seat in the House of Commons in 2005.

Shortly after he resigned as UUP leader.

He was made a peer in April 2006.


Martin McGuinness MP

Title: Chief Negotiator, Sinn Fein

Career: Martin McGuinness has been nominated by Sinn Fein as deputy first minister.

Last Friday, Michael Stone, who was freed from jail early under the Good Friday agreement, was arrested after a security breach at Stormont and was subsequently charged with attempting to murder Mr McGuinness and the Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams.

Ian Paisley said last week that "there can only be an agreement involving Sinn Fein when there has been delivery by the republican movement, tested and proved over a credible period in terms of support for the PSNI (the police), the courts, the rule of law, a complete end to paramilitary and criminal activity and the removal of terrorist structures."


Mark Durkan MP

Title: Leader, SDLP

Career: Mark Durkan succeeded John Hume as leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party in November 2001.

He was appointed minister for finance in the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1999 and elevated to Deputy First Minister in 2001.

At last year's general election he was elected to Westminster.

He is a Fellow of the British-American Project


Jeffrey Donaldson MP

Title: Defence spokesman for the DUP

Career: Mr Donaldson defected from the Ulster Unionists to the DUP in January 2004.

He was the leading anti Good Friday agreement voice in the UUP and led several challenges to the then party leader, David Trimble.

When he defected he took two fellow MLAs with him, claiming that "the Ulster Unionist leadership is no longer worthy to lead unionism".

His political career began in 1983 when he was appointed agent to Enoch Powell.

He was elected to Parliament in 1997 and was first elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1985 aged 22.

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