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Question Time



Last Updated: Friday, 22 June 2007, 06:09 GMT 07:09 UK
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in Aldershot on 21 June.

David Dimbleby was joined by Minister of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety Tony McNulty, shadow higher education spokesman Boris Johnson and veteran politician Baroness Williams.

Also appearing on the panel together for the first time were brothers and fellow journalists, Christopher and Peter Hitchens who have argued about everything from the war in Iraq to the existence of God.


Tony McNulty

Career: Tony McNulty is minister of state for policing, security and community safety, having formerly been the immigration minister.

Before his election to parliament in 1997, he was a lecturer in organisational behaviour.

Last month he was involved in a controversy over proposals to increase police powers to stop and question terror suspects, which led Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to say: "We have got to be very careful that we do not create circumstances that are the domestic equivalent of Guantanamo Bay."


Boris Johnson

Career: Boris Johnson resigned as editor of The Spectator magazine to become David Cameron's shadow higher education spokesman. He continues to write for the Telegraph.

Former Tory leader Michael Howard sacked Mr Johnson as shadow arts minister in November 2004 after press reports that he had had an extramarital affair.

He was re-elected as MP for Henley at the 2005 general election, a seat he originally inherited from Michael Hestletine in 2001.

Aside from politics, he is well known as a columnist and TV personality, most notably for his appearances on the BBC programme Have I Got News For You.


Shirley Williams

Career: Shirley Williams is a veteran politician who was leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords until November 2004.

Originally a Labour MP, she was one of the "gang of four" rebels who left the party to found the Social Democratic Party in 1981, which later merged with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats.

After retiring to the US for eight years, she re-entered British politics in 1993 when she was made a life peer in the House of Lords.

She is a committed Catholic, who explored the relationship between her faith and her public life in her book, God and Caesar: Personal Reflections on Politics and Religion.

She has been a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq since the coalition invasion and wrote in 2003: "The British government, with its American partner, must stop to think whether it is sowing the kind of resentment which is the seedbed of future terrorism."


Christopher Hitchens

Career: Christopher Hitchens is a celebrated author, journalist and critic who writes for a range of publications including Vanity Fair. His latest book, which has caused controversy on both sides of the Atlantic, is God is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything.

He is an old friend of Salman Rushdie, whose knighthood, announced last week, has sparked an international row.

Christopher was an active Trotskyist at Oxford University and worked at the New Statesman before emigrating in his 20s to the US, where he established himself as a leading left-wing polemicist, targeting Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger and even Mother Teresa.

After 11 September 2001, however, he has emerged as a leading advocate of the use of force against Islamic extremists, backing the "war on terror" and the Iraq conflict, turning his back on the left that, he claims, sees George W Bush as a greater threat than Osama bin Laden.

He invented the term "Islamo-fascist" - which was later used by President Bush himself - and in his book describes religion as: "A plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few non-events".


Peter Hitchens

Career: Peter Hitchens is a controversial columnist for the Mail on Sunday.

He is a former Moscow and Washington correspondent and has reported from many parts of the world.

He describes political correctness as the "biggest dictatorship of thought since the Reformation".

He recently reviewed his brother Christopher's book, God Is Not Great, calling it "wrong".

He went on: "If you do not worship God, you end up worshipping power, whether it is Kim Jong Il, Leon Trotsky or the military might of George W Bush. In which case, God help you."

Watch Question Time from Aldershot

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