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Will Self and Shami Chakrabarti on Stortford Question Time panel

By Paul Winspear

David Dimbleby will be hosting his penultimate Question Time in Bishop's Stortford on Thursday Picture: BBC (5727123)
David Dimbleby will be hosting his penultimate Question Time in Bishop's Stortford on Thursday Picture: BBC (5727123)

Novelist, journalist and TV and radio personality Will Self and Labour peer and civil liberties advocate Shami Chakrabarti are to appear on BBC TV's Question Time when it is broadcast from Bishop's Stortford College on Thursday (Dec 6).

Chakrabarti, the Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales, was director of Liberty, which promotes civil liberties and human rights, from 2003 to 2016.

During this time, she campaigned against "excessive" anti-terror legislation and was described in The Times as "probably the most effective public affairs lobbyist of the past 20 years".

Between 2014 and 2017 she served as Chancellor of the University of Essex.

Chakrabarti was one of the panel members of the Leveson Inquiry into press standards throughout 2011 and 2012.

In April 2016, she was invited by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to chair an inquiry into alleged anti-semitism in the Labour Party, and she presented its findings in June. That August, she was the only person nominated by Corbyn to receive a life peerage in the Prime Minister's Resignation Honours.

Aged 49, she is divorced and has one son.

Will Self, who voted Labour in the 2015 General Election, will be making his sixth appearance on Question Time in 10 years. He currently writes a column for the New Statesman, whose editor, Jason Cowley, lives in Bishop's Stortford.

He is the author of 11 novels – as well as collections of shorter fiction, novellas and non-fiction writing – whose work has been translated into 22 languages. His 2002 novel, Dorian, an Imitation, was long-listed for the Booker Prize and his novel Umbrella was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Self is a regular contributor to publications including The Guardian, Harper's and The New York Times, and over the years he has been a columnist for the Observer, The Times and Evening Standard.

A former stand-up comedian, he has appeared on TV comic panel shows including Have I Got News for You and Shooting Stars. He has since appeared on current affairs programmes such as Newsnight and Question Time. Self is also a frequent contributor to the BBC Radio 4 programme A Point of View.

Aged 57, Self is separated from his second wife, The Guardian journalist Deborah Orr, and has four children.

The three other panellists will be representatives of the three main political parties: Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat.

Bishop's Stortford College is hosting what will be 80-year-old broadcaster David Dimbleby's penultimate Question Time as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations. The BBC One political debate programme will be broadcast from the Prep School Hall at the independent school in Maze Green Road on Thursday December 6.

It has been presented by David Dimbleby since 1994, but in June the BBC announced that he would be leaving. His last broadcast on the show will be in London on December 13.

The audience will consist of selected people to ensure political balance and a range of voices. Successful applicants are also given an opportunity to put a question to the panel. Those who have applied to be on the programme will be informed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.


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