BBC News

Question Time



Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, will be in Cheltenham on 11 October.

David Dimbleby will be joined by the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman, the chairman of the Conservative Party Caroline Spelman, the president of the Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes, the former editor of The Sun Kelvin MacKenzie and the principal legal advisor to the management committee of the Brownite pressure group and thinktank, Compass, Chuka Umunna.


Harriet Harman MP

Career: Harriet Harman is the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party as well as being Leader of the House of Commons and Labour Party Chair.

A close ally of the Prime Minister, she beat five of her colleagues in a close-run deputy leadership race in June.

During the contest, her remarks on Iraq drew headlines: "I voted for the war because I believed there were weapons of mass destruction. If I had known there were not weapons of mass destruction, I would not have voted for the war."

Last weekend she refused to rule out the possibility that shying away from a November election had been damaging to the Prime Minister's reputation, saying: "well, you know, we'll see."


Caroline Spelman MP

Career: Caroline Spelman is the chairman of the Conservative Party.

Following a career as an agricultural consultant, she was elected to parliament in 1997 as the MP for Meriden in the Midlands, and was promoted to Iain Duncan Smith's shadow cabinet in 2001 as shadow international development secretary.

She has also served as shadow environment secretary and the party's spokesperson for women.

In September, she said that the Tories were "confident" of winning a snap election, adding that Gordon Brown "can't erase his past. It was a Blair-Brown administration, he was in a very powerful position as Chancellor and people have not forgotten how that has impacted on their lives."


Simon Hughes MP

Career: Simon Hughes is the president of the Liberal Democrats.

After his election to parliament in 1983, he spent five years as environment spokesman for the SDP-Liberal Alliance, which became the newly formed Lib Dems in 1988.

He ran for the party leadership in 2006, coming third in the final vote.

Reacting to this week's announcement that Gordon Brown does not plan to hold an Autumn election, he said of his party: "We were ready for an election, we believed we would do well in an election."


Kelvin MacKenzie

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 Argentine 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.


Chuka Umunna

Career: Chuka Umunna is a member of the management committee of the Brownite pressure group and thinktank, Compass, and its principal legal advisor.

As editor of the online political magazine, TMP, he has written extensively on social and political issues and his articles have appeared in the Financial Times, the Guardian and the New Statesman, among other publications.

He is a specialist employment law solicitor by profession and is also a trustee of two youth charities.

Question Time from Cheltenham

Join the debate
08 Mar 07 |  Question Time

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific