Page last updated at 11:06 GMT, Thursday, 15 July 2010 12:06 UK

This week's panel

Question Time, the BBC's premier political debate programme comes from Bexhill-on-Sea on Thursday 15 July.

David Dimbleby will be joined by the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, former Respect MP George Galloway, Labour activist Sally Bercow, and the broadcaster Nick Ferrari.


Francis Maude MP

Francis Maude MP

Francis Maude joined the cabinet as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General in the wake of the formation of the coalition government.

In opposition he served at various times as shadow chancellor of the exchequer and shadow foreign secretary.

Speaking last week, he said that John Yates, the Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, was wrong to warn that cuts in police budgets would increase the risk of terrorist attacks: "I'd like to avoid public servants doing this kind of shroud-waving in public. There is a special responsibility on all public servants to be really careful what we say and what we do."

Mr Maude, who leads government work to make the public sector more efficient, said Mr Yates' remarks would "alarm" people.


Andy Burnham MP

Andy Burnham MP

Andy Burnham is the shadow health secretary and a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party.

After Gordon Brown became prime minister, Burnham entered the cabinet as chief secretary to the Treasury. In a re-shuffle in January 2008, he was appointed as secretary of state for culture, media and sport. He subsequently was promoted to health secretary in 2009.

Burnham currently has the support of 33 MPs in the Labour leadership contest - the same as Diane Abbott and Ed Balls. Prominent supporters include David Blunkett and Hazel Blears.

Speaking in the wake of the serialisation of Lord Mandelson's memoirs he said, "Never again can the people's party be run in this way, with egotistical factions and their friends in the media meeting on the London dinner-party circuit to plot each others' demise.

"The losers were the party members who were demoralised by the disunity at the top of the party while they were flying the flag for Labour on doorsteps across the country. Party members are fed up to the back teeth with the arrogance of those who say and write what they like while telling members how it's going to be."


George Galloway

George Galloway

George Galloway is the former Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. In the 2010 election, Galloway unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary seat of Poplar and Limehouse.

Galloway became the vice president of the Stop the War Coalition in 2001 and was an outspoken critic of the Iraq war, and of Tony Blair and New Labour.

Commenting on his election defeat he said, "We are bloodied, but we are unbowed."

Asked whether he might return to make a personal bid for the London mayoralty he commented, "I merely say this: if the rumours that we hear are true, that New Labour intends to put up Oona King to be the directly elected mayor in Tower Hamlets, well, I would find such a contest irresistible. So if New Labour wants to put her up, bring it on."


Sally Bercow

Sally Bercow

Sally Bercow is a Labour activist. She stood unsuccessfully as a Labour candidate for the St James ward of Westminster City Council in the 2010 election, and is currently backing Ed Balls in the Labour leadership contest.

Her husband, the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, has responded to criticisms that her outspoken political views are jeopardising the Speaker's impartiality, saying that, "The obligation of impartiality applies to the Speaker of the House of Commons. My wife is not my chattel. She is independent and entitled to her views."

She courted controversy with an interview in which she accused David Cameron of being "a merchant of spin. I think he's really an archetypal Tory. He favours the interests of the few over the mainstream majority."

The Tory MP Nadine Dorries claimed that her interview had "reduced the Speaker and his office to that of a laughing-stock.

"How can we ask the people to trust us, when the man who holds us to account has such poor judgement that he allowed his wife to give such an appalling, self-obsessed interview?"


Nick Ferrari

Broadcaster Nick Ferrari

Broadcaster Nick Ferrari has worked at LBC radio since 2001, hosting the weekday breakfast show which has won the Sony Radio Breakfast Show of the Year award.

He also worked in print journalism at the Sun, the Mirror and the News of the World before becoming vice-president of news and programming at Rupert Murdoch's Fox TV. He regularly appears as a commentator on ITV and Channel 4.

Ferrari considered a switch to politics to run for the Conservatives in the London mayoral race against Ken Livingstone.

He did not run in the end, and when asked about Mr Cameron's policy of trying to recruit more women and ethnic minority candidates he said, "It is a question for the Conservative Party. Would they rather go for a white, slightly heavy, but nevertheless good-looking and virile radio presenter who can win?

"Or - purely for the sake of argument - a black woman from the East End of London, who nobody perhaps had heard of, who ticked all the right boxes but finishes fifth."

Question Time will be on BBC One at 2235 BST on Thursday 15 July and available on BBC iPlayer after transmission.



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