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Question Time



Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 17:56 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was broadcast from Dartford on 11 January.

He was joined by the Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne MP, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy MP, former International Development Secretary Clare Short MP and former editor of The Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie.


Lord Falconer

Title: Lord Chancellor

Career: Charles Falconer is a barrister and politician, who has been Lord Chancellor since June 2003. A childhood friend of Tony Blair, the pair shared a flat in the early days of their legal careers.

In May 1997 he became the first life peer created on Blair's recommendation, and joined the government as Solicitor General.

A long-time Labour activist, it was reported in The Times that he lost out on becoming the party's parliamentary candidate in Dudley East in 1997 after refusing advice from the selection panel to withdraw his four children from fee-paying schools.


George Osborne

Title: Shadow Chancellor

Career: George Osborne was the youngest Conservative MP in the House of Commons when he was elected in 2001 as the MP for Tatton.

He had previously entered politics as a speech writer and political secretary to former Conservative leader William Hague.

After a brief spell as Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, George was promoted to Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2005 at the age of 33.

He has been touted in the past as a future Conservative leader, but chose not to stand in the most recent leadership race, instead heading the campaign for his close friend David Cameron.


Charles Kennedy MP

Title: Former Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Career: Charles Kennedy is the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber. He resigned the leadership of the Liberal Democrats last January after admitting he had a drink problem.

Under his leadership, the party had their most successful election performance for 80 years when they returned 63 MPs in May 2005.

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

In a speech at the party conference in October, he told the party that the "best is yet to come".


Clare Short
Ms Short has been a thorn in the government's side.

Title: Former International Development Secretary

Career: Clare Short is the Independent MP for Birmingham Ladywood, having been elected as a Labour MP in 1983.

Touted as one of "Blair's babes", she became Secretary of State for International Development when Labour took power in 1997.

Having threatened to resign in March 2003 over the government's decision to go to war in Iraq, she remained in the government for a further two months, before accusing Tony Blair of being "obsessed with his place in history" in a resignation statement read in parliament.

In October 2006, Short announced she would give up the Labour whip in Parliament in protest at what she claimed had become an "arrogant, error prone government".


Kelvin MacKenzie

Title: Former newspaper editor

Career: Kelvin Mackenzie was the editor of The Sun from 1981 to 1993, during which time it established itself as Britain's best-selling tabloid.

His tenure as editor was not short of controversy, and he was responsible for the paper's famous "Gotcha!" headline in response to the sinking of the Argentinian battleship Belgrano, as well as its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster, which caused widespread outrage.

He returned to The Sun last year as an outspoken columnist. He made headlines in November for reportedly saying that he regretted his public apology for his coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

Question Time from Dartford 11-01-07

Dartford Q & A
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