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Guest editor: Shirley Williams


Baroness Williams' reflects on her programme

Each year, the Today programme hands over the editorial reins to six public figures, giving them a chance to decide what goes on the programme between Christmas and New Year.

Editing the programme on Saturday 2nd January was Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams. You can hear highlights from his programme using the links below.

Baroness Williams wanted to raise the issue of what politicians needed to do to restore trust in politics following the row over MP expenses. Former prime minister Sir John Major came onto the programme to discuss the issue, in an interview in which he laid out extensive criticisms of the build up to the war in Iraq.

She also hoped to draw attention to two political issues she feels have been overlooked in recent years.

Exploring the issue of nuclear proliferation she conducted a discussion with former British ambassador to the United Nations Lord Hannay and Gareth Evans, a former Australian foreign secretary. Later in the programme former defence secretary Des Browne gave his views on containing the nuclear threat from countries hoping to defy the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.

Baroness Williams is also a supporter of the Tobin Tax, a levy on global financial transactions. She spoke to FSA chairman Lord Turner about the prospect for an international agreement on bringing in such a measure.

A practicing Catholic, she also spoke to the former head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor about whether relations with Anglicans had been damaged in the past year.

Finally, Baroness Williams explored some of her non-political interests, asking author Lynn Truss why women in team sports do not receive the same attention as men, speaking to concert pianist Stephen Hough about the influence of different audiences around the world and asking arts correspondent Rebecca Jones to investigate whether British theatre was currently experiencing a golden age.


Baroness Shirley Williams is a senior Liberal Democrat politician.

From an early career as a Labour cabinet minister, Shirley Williams was part of the Gang of Four who split from the party to form the Social Democratic Party (SDP) - which later merged with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats.

After losing her seat in the 1983 general election, in 1988 Baroness Williams moved to the US to take up a professorship at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

As an internationally respected politician she has helped draft constitutions in Russia, Ukraine, and South Africa and serves as an advisor to Gordon Brown on Nuclear Proliferation.

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