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Question Time



Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 17:49 GMT
This week's panel
Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, is in Glasgow on Thursday 22 November.

On the panel are Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander, Scotland's Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP, Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie, Lord Steel former leader of the Liberal Party and David Aaronovitch columnist for The Times.


Wendy Alexander MSP

Career: Wendy Alexander is the leader of the Labour Party in the Scottish Parliament. She has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament since it was created in 1998, and served as a minister in the Scottish Executive from 1999 to 2002.

She entered Scottish politics as an advisor to the late First Minister Donald Dewar, when he was Secretary of State for Scotland, and was part of the team under Dewar that paved the way for devolution.

When the then Labour leader Jack McDonnell resigned in August 2007, she was the only candidate in the campaign to succeed him, and became Labour leader in September, urging the party to "change how we behave, change how we engage and change how we respond to the people we represent."

She is regarded as a close ally of Gordon Brown, and is the sister of Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.


Nicole Sturgeon MSP

Career: Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party and Minister for Health and Wellbeing.

She was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, becoming the SNP spokeswoman on justice, and later on education and health.

After the resignation of SNP leader John Swinney in 2004, she initially announced her intention to run for the leadership, but then stood, and won, as deputy leader alongside leader Alex Salmond.

Sturgeon says she believes the case for an independent Scotland "is positive and forward-looking. It is based on the modern values of self-determination, equality, co-operation and mutual respect."


Annabel Goldie MSP

Career: Annabel Goldie is leader of the Scottish Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament.

After graduating from the University of Strathclyde she worked as a solicitor, entering politics with her election to the Scottish parliament in 1999.

She held the posts of Scottish Conservative spokesman on economy, justice and home affairs, before becoming party leader in November 2005.

On the West Lothian question, she says "It has to be addressed. It will fester and eat away the aggregate of mutual benefit that we feel as part of the UK. We simply cannot ignore it because it will become a lurking difficulty".


Lord Steel

Career: David Steel was the leader of the Liberal Party from 1976 to 1988, and the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 to 2003.

He became involved in Liberal politics as a student at Edinburgh University, but worked as a journalist at BBC Scotland before being elected as the youngest MP in the House of Commons in 1965.

As an MP he was best known for introducing the Abortion Act in 1967, and became leader of the Liberal Party in 1976, at the age of 38.

He oversaw the SDP-Liberal Alliance in 1981, which fell apart during the 1987 election, after years of difficult relations between Steel and David Owen. The parties merged into a single party, the Liberal Democrats, in 1988.

Lord Steel has announced that he is supporting Chris Huhne in the current Lib Dem leadership battle, describing his opposition to the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system as the "policy matter which motivates my choice".


David Aaronovitch

Career: David Aaronovitch is a regular columnist for The Times. He has also written extensively for The Independent, the New Statesman, The Guardian and The Jewish Chronicle. He won the George Orwell prize for political journalism in 2001 and was the What the Papers Say Columnist of the Year for 2003.

He became involved in left-wing politics at university, but has since angered left-wingers by becoming an outspoken supporter of controversial government policies such as control orders and ID cards.

He supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, dismissing left-wing opposition to the war by saying: "There is, on parts of the Left, a long and ignoble tradition of trashing democracy."

He recently gained unparalleled access to Tony Blair for a series of interviews with the former Prime Minister in the BBC series The Blair Years.

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