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50 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 22 April 2011

Jonathan Dimbleby chairs the live debate from Brick Lane Music Hall in Silvertown London with panellists Sayeeda Warsi, Chairman of the Conservative Party; Alan Johnson, former Labour Cabinet minister; Rod Liddle, columnist; and Philippe Sands, Professor of International Law at the University of London.

Producer: Victoria Wakely.

  • This Week's Panel

    Sayeeda Warsi is Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party and Minister without Portfolio. A former vice-chair of the Conservative party, she was created a life peer three years ago and made Co-Chairman in May 2010. Upon her appointment as a shadow minister, she became the first Muslim member of any Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet. She had served as an advisor to Michael Howard on community relations, in 2005 going on to contest the parliamentary seat of Dewsbury. In 2007 she was involved in successful negotiations to release a British teacher who had been held in Sudan. A solicitor by profession, she has worked for the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, and for several years managed her own law firm in Yorkshire. She has also worked overseas for the Ministry of Law in Pakistan and is Chair of the Savayra Foundation, a women’s empowerment charity based in Pakistan. She has campaigned for stronger legislation to prevent forced marriages.

    Alan Johnson is Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle. A former postman, in 1995 he became joint leader of the Communication Workers Union. He was elected MP for Hull West and Hessle in 1997, taking on his first ministerial job two years later at the Department of Trade and Industry, where he dealt with employment relations. Under Tony Blair he had been appointed Secretary of State for Education in 2006. In 2007, he was favourite to win his party’s election for deputy leader but, in the end, he was narrowly pipped at the post by Harriet Harman who got 50.4% to his 49.6% when second preferences were taken into account. He was made Secretary of State for Health after the creation of Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet in 2007. He then became Home Secretary in June 2009, shadowing the role for five months after Labour’s defeat at the General Election. When Ed Miliband became leader of the opposition, he became Shadow Chancellor, a role which he resigned from for personal reasons in January 2011.

    Rod Liddle is associate editor of The Spectator where he writes the Liddle Britain column. He is also a regular correspondent for Country Life and The Sunday Times. He was editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme for four years until his resignation in 2002. He had previously edited Radio 4’s The World Tonight. He went on to present a politics show for BBC Two and The Talk Show for BBC4. Before joining the BBC he was a speech writer for the Labour Party. He made his debut as an author with Too Beautiful for You: Tales of Improper Behaviour, a collection of short stories. He says as a cub reporter his heroes were Woodward and Bernstein. “They made us proud to be journalists and instilled in me a thesis about journalism which I've never lost, which is that a journalist is someone quite pure and someone dedicated to rooting out hypocrisy, venality, wrong-doing and political corruption. At least professionally. I would never claim to be pure in my private life.”

    Philippe Sands is Professor of Law at University College London, and a lawyer at Matrix Chambers. He is a regular commentator on the BBC and CNN and writes frequently in the press, as well as authoring several high profile books. He lectures around the world and has previously held academic positions at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, Kings College London and Cambridge University. He was co-founder of FIELD (Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development), and established the programmes on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. He is a member of the Advisory Boards of the European Journal of International Law and Review of European Community and International Environmental Law. In 2007 he served as a judge for the Guardian First Book Prize award. He has held the post at UCL since 2002, but is currently on sabbatical as he writes a book on the making of modern international law.



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