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Question Time



Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 08:58 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political programme chaired by David Dimbleby, was in Colchester on 1 March.

He was joined by the Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain MP, the Conservative party chairman Francis Maude MP, the Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell, the soul singer Beverley Knight MBE and the journalist Cristina Odone.


Peter Hain MP

Career: Peter Hain MP is Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

A key ally of the Prime Minister in the Cabinet, he was Leader of the House of Commons before becoming Secretary of State for Wales in 2002, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in 2005.

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

Last month he made headlines with an interview in the New Statesman in which he referred to the Bush administration as "the most right-wing American administration, if not ever, then in living memory" and argued that "the neo-con agenda for America has been rejected by the people and I hope that will be the case for the future."


Francis Maude MP

Career: Francis Maude MP is Chairman of the Conservative Party.

He was shadow chancellor of the exchequer from June 1998 until February 2000 and shadow foreign secretary from February 2000 to September 2001.

He is regarded as a moderniser, and is the chairman of the think tank, Conservatives for Change.

Writing in The Telegraph after the 2005 election defeat, he urged the party to be "more successful at expressing the aspirations of modern Britain", suggesting that Conservatives "too often ...look and sound as though we regard the modern world as an aberration and look forward to the restoration of a lost golden age."


Menzies Campbell MP

Career: Menzies Campbell is leader of the Liberal Democrats.

He was elected party leader last March succeeding Charles Kennedy. He joined parliament in 1987 and gained a reputation as an expert in foreign affairs.

He has been an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq and has led calls for an inquiry into the conflict.

Speaking on Sunday about the government's announcement that extra troops are to be sent to Afghanistan, he said: "there is no doubt that this is in a different category altogether from Iraq and it is somewhere where we should be putting resources to bring about, as far as we can, a successful conclusion."


Beverley Knight MBE

Career: Beverley Knight is a Wolverhampton-born soul singer, whose ten-year career has produced a number of Top 40 hits.

She is an ambassador for Christian Aid, for whom she has travelled to areas affected by disease and poverty, and is an active campaigner for the anti-Aids charity, The Terrence Higgins Trust. She is also a vocal campaigner against homophobic lyrics in urban music.

Her charitable work was recognised in June 2006 when she was awarded an MBE in the Queen's 80th birthday honours list.


Cristina Odone

Career: Cristina Odone is a journalist and writer.

She was formerly editor of the Catholic Herald and deputy editor of the New Statesman.

She has written two novels, The Shrine and A Perfect Wife, and currently writes for The Observer and The Daily Telegraph.

She is a commited Christian, and gave the Church of England's annual Tyndale lecture in 2002, entitled: Why the chattering classes are afraid of Christianity.

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