Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

This week's panel

Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme chaired by David Dimbleby, will be in Reading on Thursday 5 November.

The panel will include the Welsh Secretary Peter Hain MP, the shadow environment secretary Nick Herbert MP, the former Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair, the former MEP and broadcaster Robert Kilroy-Silk and the comedian Natalie Haynes.


Peter Hain

Peter Hain is a senior Labour politician, who has held a number of cabinet posts, including secretary of state for Wales, secretary of state for Northern Ireland and work and pensions secretary. He is also a former Europe minister.

He was born in Kenya and grew up in South Africa, and was famous for his involvement in the anti-apartheid movement.

Last year, he was forced to stand down from the cabinet after an investigation was launched into donations to his Labour deputy leadership campaign.

The investigation was later dropped with no charges and he returned to cabinet as Welsh secretary.

Last month, he was outspoken in his opposition to the BBC's decision to invite Nick Griffin on to Question Time claiming: "The BBC should be ashamed of single-handedly doing a racist, fascist party the biggest favour in its grubby history."


Nick Herbert MP

Nick Herbert is the shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

Before entering politics, he was the director of the think tank Reform, and was previously the chief executive of Business for Sterling, where he spearheaded a 'no' campaign against the Euro.

He also played a leading role in setting up the Countryside Movement, which became the Countryside Alliance.

He became the MP for Arundel and South Downs in 2005, and became the shadow police reform minister later that year.

Last month he wrote that he would support a repeal of the fox hunting ban, saying that: "Labour's contempt for the countryside is so brazen that rural communities have become almost inured to it".


Sir Ian Blair

Sir Ian Blair was the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police from 2005 to 2008.

He joined the Met in 1974 and served for 10 years in uniform and CID in Central London, rising up the ranks to become deputy Metropolitan Police commissioner.

Several months after he became commissioner, in July 2005, he became the subject of controversy when a young Brazilian, Jean Charles de Menezes, was shot dead by police who mistakenly believed he was a suicide bomber.

Speaking on the BBC at the weekend, he rejected the idea that he was personally "culpable" for Mr de Menezes' death, but said he did feel "personally accountable".

In October 2008 he announced that he would step down from the post of commissioner but he has claimed that he was forced out of the job by Boris Johnson "to show the power of the London mayoralty".


Robert Kilroy-Silk

Robert Kilroy-Silk is a former television presenter, best known for his daytime talk show Kilroy. He is also a former MP and MEP.

He became the UKIP MEP for East Midlands in 2004. In January 2005, however, after nine months in the European Parliament, he left UKIP and went on to launch a new party, Veritas.

He then became an Independent, and stood down as an MEP in July 2009.

He was back in the headlines last year when he appeared in the 2008 series of I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here on ITV.


Natalie Haynes

Natalie Haynes is a comedian and columnist for The Times. She is a regular contributor to Radio 4 and Newsnight Review.

She has been performing stand-up comedy since 1994 and was a member of Footlights at Cambridge University.

As well as being a regular contributor to The Times since October 2006, she also writes for the Sunday Times Magazine and has written for the Sunday Telegraph, The Big Issue, and Loaded.

Her first children's novel, The Great Escape, was published by Simon & Schuster in September 2007.

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