Guests on the current edition

Ben Bradshaw, MP, junior foreign office minister
Ben Bradshaw, junior foreign minister, clashed with MP George Galloway over military action in Iraq this week when he branded the Labour backbencher "not just an apologist, but a mouthpiece, for" Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime. Mr Galloway shouted back: "Liar."

Mr Bradshaw joined the government last year as a junior minister in the foreign office.

He was parliamentary private secretary to the then health minister John Denham MP before the 2001 election.

Mr Bradshaw said Britain would join Australia and Canada in urging Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth last month. He said: "Britain shares the view of Australia and others that countries which violate the values of the Commonwealth should not have a seat at that table."

He was educated at the University of Sussex.

Before becoming an MP he was a BBC correspondent. He first worked in local radio before becoming the BBC correspondent in Berlin (1989-91), covering the fall of the Berlin wall and German unification. He went on to become a reporter for BBC Radio 4's World at One and World This Weekend programmes (1991-97) and has been MP for Exeter since 1997.

He was consumer journalist of the year 1988, Anglo-German foundation journalist of the year 1990 and won the Sony news reporter award in 1993.

Before entering government, he was Parliament's most enthusiastic champion of cycling and cyclists' rights.


Julie Kirkbride, MP, Conservative Party
Julie Kirkbride was elected MP to the safe Bromsgrove seat in the 1997 general election.

She was selected as a candidate on the first attempt, against heavy male competition. Although there were over 100 new women Labour MPs in 1997, Ms Kirkbride was one of only five new women Tory MPs.

Ms Kirkbride held a press conference last month as part of her campaign against the MMR vaccine. But she was accused by Labour's Dr Stephen Ladyman of choosing the same day as a conference on autism to highlight alleged links between autism and the MMR vaccine. She denied she was aware of the clash and said: "...the fact is that the campaign to try to get the government to change its mind to allow parents the right to choose single vaccines for their children is ripe now..."

Ms Kirkbride was educated at Cambridge University and Berkley, USA.

She worked as a journalist for Yorkshire Television and the BBC in the 1980s and ITV until 1992.

She joined the Daily Telegraph as a lobby correspondent for four years going on to become social affairs editor for the Sunday Telegraph before standing for parliament.

She married Andrew Mackay MP (former shadow Northern Ireland spokesman) within a year of entering the Commons.


Shirley Williams, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords
Baroness Williams was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords last November. She was previously deputy leader.

Baroness Williams' victory in the two-horse race makes her the third successive member of the SDP 'gang of four' to take the post. Her predecessors Bill Rodgers and Roy Jenkins were fellow members of the quartet that broke away from Labour in 1981 to found a new party aimed at displacing it.

As a senior member of the Liberal Democrats Baroness Williams' support for Charles Kennedy's candidacy as leader was invaluable.

Once tipped to be Britain's first female prime minister, she speaks strongly on social injustice, poverty and women's rights.

Indeed, she has first hand experience of being a single mother while a minister in Jim Callaghan's Labour government.

Since 1992 she has sat in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat life peer with the title Baroness Williams of Crosby.

She is married to the American academic, Richard Neustadt, and they divide their time between the US and Britain.

As well as foreign affairs spokeswoman she is a board member of the International Crisis Group.

She is an active campaigner for Britain to join the single currency, and is a member of the Britain in Europe campaign.


John Edmonds, general secretary, GMB
John Edmonds has been general secretary of GMB, the UK's general union which covers several production and service sectors and trades, since 1986.

Last week trade unions threatened to ballot more than 1m public sector workers on industrial action in a dispute over pay in what could be the first national strike in more than 20 years. "If ministers sat down and put together a sensible industrial policy rather than simply running around branding public sector workers wreckers, situations such as this could be avoided," said Mr Edmonds, referring to comments made by Prime Minister Tony Blair at last month's Labour party spring conference.

It was reported in one newspaper that Downing Street is keen to see the back of Mr Edmonds, a vocal critic of new Labour, attacking privatisation and manufacturing job losses. The GMB is partially withdrawing funds from a Labour Party that it is said advocates increased private sector involvement in public services.

Mr Edmonds was educated at Oriel College, Oxford and joined the General and Municipal Workers' Union in 1966 becoming national industrial officer in 1972.

He has been a member of the Council at Acas since 1992 and was president of the TUC (1997-98).

He is a trustee at the Institute of Public Policy Research and the NSPCC.


Antony Worrall Thompson, restaurateur and celebrity
Antony Worrall Thompson is a restaurateur and celebrity.

His first successful venture as a chef-restaurateur was Menage Trois in Chelsea, which was famous in the 1980s for serving only starters and puddings, and was a big favourite with Princess Diana. His current venture Wiz is supplied by his organic mini-farm.

Described by chefs Delia Smith as "dreadful, just repulsive" and Gordon Ramsay as "the squashed Bee Gee" Mr Worrall Thompson said in a newspaper interview last summer: "'I take it on the chin. I take on all comers. I'm a bit of a Jack Russell."

He is a columnist for the Sunday Express and his appearances on various BBC TV shows include Ready Steady Cook and Food and Drink.

He is president of the Campaign for Real Food.

He has been awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne 1987 and won the Mouton Rothschild menu competition in 1988.

He has written a number of recipe books and his autobiography Raw is to be published in May 2002.

A member of the Tory party, he appeared on the platform at the Conservative Party Conference in 2000. "I would like to be a politician some day," he announced in a newspaper interview at the time.







Question Time Home | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


Link to BBC Homepage