Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

This week's panel

Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, will be in Llandudno on Thursday 29 October.

The panel will include the former home secretary Jacqui Smith MP, shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan MP, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Lembit Opik MP, Plaid Cymru's Elfyn Llwyd and the broadcaster John Sergeant.


JACQUI SMITH MP

Jacqui Smith MP

Jacqui Smith is the former home secretary and MP for Redditch.

She was made home secretary in Gordon Brown's first cabinet, becoming the first woman to hold the post. During her tenure, she introduced controversial plans to hold terror suspects without trial for 42 days and made headlines with her admission that she would not feel safe walking the streets of Peckham at night.

Earlier this year her expenses were investigated by the parliamentary commissioner for standards, and it emerged in the press that she had designated her sister's house as her main home, rather than her family home in Redditch. When the standards commissioner ruled that her constituency home was in fact her main home, she apologised to the House of Commons, but said that she was "disappointed that this process has not led to a fairer set of conclusions, based on objective and consistent application of the rules as they were at the time".


CHERYL GILLAN MP

Cheryl Gillan MP

Cheryl Gillan has been the Conservative shadow secretary of state for Wales since December 2005.

She had a career in marketing before her election as MP for Chesham and Amersham in 1992.

She joined the Conservative front bench in June 1997 as spokesman for trade and industry and in June 1998 she was appointed frontbench spokesman for foreign and Commonwealth affairs. From September 2001 to June 2003, she was an opposition whip.

Following the European election results in the summer, she said that "Gordon Brown has gone down in history as the first Labour prime minister to have 'lost' Wales".

She has repaid the £4.47 she claimed for dog food as part of her parliamentary expenses.


LEMBIT OPIK MP

Lembit Opik MP

Lembit Opik is the Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire. He has been the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the party's spokesman on housing.

Born in Northern Ireland to Estonian parents, he entered parliament in 1997, immediately becoming the party's spokesman on Northern Ireland and young people.

Once described in the Guardian as "an exotic, soft-spoken, political gypsy", his private life has been the subject of much press coverage.

He has twice stood unsuccessfully for the presidency of the Liberal Democrats, most recently losing out to Baroness Scott last year.

He acknowledged that his public profile may have contributed to his defeat, saying: "I personally felt it would be valuable for the party to have someone whose image stretches beyond politics, obviously the party does not think so… I am dead serious about my politics but I do it with a smile. Sadly some people have mixed up my political narrative with my high national profile."


ELFYN LLWYD MP

Elfyn Llwyd MP

Elfyn Llwyd is the leader of the Plaid Cymru group in Westminster and Member of Parliament for Meirionydd Nant Conwy.

Prior to his election in 1992, he worked as a barrister.

In 2004, he and other Plaid Cymru politicians famously launched a campaign to impeach then prime minster Tony Blair for his role in the Iraq war.

Along with the two other Plaid Cymru MPs, Mr Llwyd claimed £1,500 for legal advice regarding the attempt to impeach Mr Blair for misleading parliament over the war.


JOHN SERGEANT

John Sergeant

John Sergeant is a journalist and broadcaster.

He started his career at the Liverpool Echo, before joining the BBC in 1970, where he worked as a foreign correspondent. In 1981 he became a political correspondent. He has been both the BBC's chief political correspondent and the ITN political editor.

After retiring from political journalism, he has appeared on programmes such as Have I Got News for You and QI, and is a reporter for The One Show.

Last year he became a star of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One. Although he repeatedly finished last on the judges' votes, the public continually voted to keep him in the competition.

He pulled out of Strictly Come Dancing in November 2008, saying that he had a real chance of winning and "even for me, that would be a joke too far".



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