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Panel spar over tax avoidance at BBC Question Time from Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:38 13 February 2015 | UPDATED: 08:38 13 February 2015

David Dimbleby, 3rd right, chairing the panel for Question Time, filmed at St Andrews Hall. From left, Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat MP, energy secretary; Armando Lannucci, satirist; Sarah Wollaston conservative MP; Suzanne Evans, deputy chairman UKIP; and Chris Bryant, shadow culture minister, Labour. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

David Dimbleby, 3rd right, chairing the panel for Question Time, filmed at St Andrews Hall. From left, Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat MP, energy secretary; Armando Lannucci, satirist; Sarah Wollaston conservative MP; Suzanne Evans, deputy chairman UKIP; and Chris Bryant, shadow culture minister, Labour. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2015

Political leaders clashed over the issue of tax avoidance when the long-running BBC show QT visited Norwich following recent revelations over the HSBC scandal.

Political leaders clashed over the issue of tax avoidance when the long-running BBC show QT visited Norwich following recent revelations over the HSBC scandal.

Armando Iannucci, co-creator of comedy Alan Partridge and the only panel member who is not a politician, told the audience at St Andrew’s and Blackfriar’s Hall that people were frustrated that politicians did not seem serious about eliminating tax avoidance.

The debate came after a week of allegations that HSBC’s Swiss private bank helped clients evade tax, with Prime Minister David Cameron coming under fire for appointing former trade minister Lord Green, who was chief executive of HSBC from 2003 to 2006, and the bank’s chairman from 2006 to 2010, as a trade minister.

Health select committee chairman Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative on the panel, said tax evasion was illegal, adding: “Let’s face it - fines are not doing the trick here”.

Foreign affairs also featured during the hour-long show, with the panel questioned on whether the west was effectively appeasing Russia in regard to Ukraine, amid a ceasefire agreement aimed at ending the war in Eastern Europe. Shadow culture minister Chris Bryant accused Prime Minister David Cameron of initially misjudging Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The controversial Labour pink van, touring the country to attract women voters, was also discussed by the panel. Mr Bryant came under fire over the colour of bus stereotyping women from both UKIP deputy chairman Suzanne Evans and Dr Wollaston, but Mr Bryant defended Labour’s record citing Dorothy Jewson, one of his party’s first female MPs who came from Norwich. He said: “We could fill that bus with women MPs and there aren’t any other parties who could do that.”

The panel also included Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey MP. The show was recorded in front of a live audience at around 8.30pm, but broadcast laster. Question Time was last in Norwich in January 2014 and was held in King’s Lynn last June. Do you have a politics story? Contact annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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