Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 17:12 UK

The Stevenage panel

Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from Stevenage on Thursday 1 April.

The panel are Home Secretary Alan Johnson, the shadow business secretary Ken Clarke, the Liberal Democrat housing spokesman Sarah Teather and the broadcasters and writers Richard Littlejohn and Victoria Coren.


Alan Johnson MP

Alan Johnson is Home Secretary and MP for Hull West and Hessle.

He left school at 15 to become first a Tesco shelf-stacker, then a postman. He went on to become the youngest head of the Communication Workers' Union.

In 1997, he was selected to stand for Parliament. He entered the cabinet in 2003 as secretary of state for work and pensions and supported the Iraq war. He moved to the DTI in 2005, before being appointed education secretary a year later. After Gordon Brown became leader, Johnson became health secretary and in June last year he was appointed home secretary.

He has been tipped as a future leader of the Labour Party and in an interview with the New Statesman said "I can't look you in the eye and say, hand on heart, I will never be leader of the Labour Party if that means I would never under any circumstances run for the leadership. But I can look at you, hand on heart, and say that I do not believe I could do the job better than Gordon Brown."


Ken Clarke MP

Ken Clarke is the Conservative MP for Rushcliffe and the shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills.

Since becoming an MP in 1970, Clarke has served as junior transport minister and minister of state for health and employment minister.

He was famously the first cabinet minister to advise Mrs Thatcher to resign after her inadequate first-round Conservative leadership election performance in November 1990. In 1993, Clarke became chancellor.

A few months ago he remarked that a hung parliament would be a "bigger disaster" than an outright Labour victory.

He has since said that "I do think a hung parliament would be a spectacular disaster. If too many people voted for the Liberals or all these fringe parties, you'd have a government which did not have the authority to take tough and necessary decisions all the time."


Sarah Teather MP

Sarah Teather is the Liberal Democrat housing spokesman and MP for Brent East. At 35 she is one of the youngest MPs in the Commons.

She was first elected in 2003 in the Brent East by-election and re-elected with an increased majority in the 2005 general election. She became housing spokesman in 2008, leaving her position as spokesman for business, enterprise and regulatory reform.

Brent East and neighbouring Brent South are to be abolished at the next general election. Teather will stand for the new Brent Central constituency against Labour MP Dawn Butler, the current MP for Brent South.

At the recent Liberal Democrat conference, she stated that "I am left wondering what the point is of a Labour Government. They raise taxes on the poor. They let the poorest children fail at school. They stand idly by while families are destroyed by housing misery that they could easily fix."


Richard Littlejohn

Richard Littlejohn is an award-winning but controversial British journalist, broadcaster, and author. He has been named Fleet Street's Columnist of the Year and Irritant of the Year by the BBC's What The Papers Say awards.

He currently writes a twice-weekly column for the Daily Mail but he has also written for the Evening Standard, Punch and The Spectator. He also spent over a decade as one of The Sun's most popular columnists.

Writing about Tony Blair this week he said "under him and Gordon Brown, social mobility has gone backwards. Labour's lumpen proletariat has been condemned to a desolate life on sink estates, slumped on sofas, gawping at daytime television, stuffing themselves with fast food, using welfare payments to subsidise their drink and drugs habits."


Victoria Coren

Victoria Coren is a writer, satirist, broadcaster and poker player.

She is currently writing a weekly topical column in The Observer and a weekly poker column in The Guardian. She is also the presenter of the BBC Radio 4 comedy show, Heresy.

Coren has been playing poker since she was a teenager and has been taking part in international tournaments since 2001. She became the first ever woman to win the European Poker Championship in 2006.

Writing in the Observer, she said of a future Conservative government "our finances will still be horrible, our ecosystem will still be screwed, "our boys" will keep dying in Afghanistan, our bank holidays will stay rainy. Perhaps there will be a small tax break for anyone who uses a bicycle to get to the third runway at Heathrow."

Question Time will be on BBC One at 10.35pm on Thursday 1 April and available on BBC iPlayer after transmission.

The progamme is repeated on BBC Parliament on Sunday evening at 6pm.

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