Thursday 4 February, London

Thursday 28 January, Plymouth

Thursday 21 January, Leeds

Thursday 14 January, London

Thursday 17 December, Nottingham

Thursday 10 December, Manchester

Thursday 3 December, Southampton

Thursday 26 November, Newcastle

Thursday 19 November, Peterborough

Thursday 12 November, Glasgow

Thursday 5 November, London

Thursday 29 October, Birmingham

Thursday 22 October, Cardiff


Thursday 4 February, London

On the panel were:

  • Peter Lilley MP, deputy Conservative leader
  • Rosie Boycott, editor, The Express
  • Nick Harvey MP, Liberal Democrat chairman of campaigns and communications
  • Lord Haskins, chairman, Northern Foods
  • Amanda Foreman, writer and historian

    Glenn Hoddle's sacking as England football coach

    Audience question: Has the Hoddle fiasco shown that free speech is dead and that religious intolerance is alive in the UK today?

  • Audience question: Is it right for government ministers to voice opinions on Hoddle's position a the England manager prior to the FA reaching their own conclusions?

  • Audience question: Has the press gone too far, forcing people to resign unless they're whiter-than-white?

    Amanda Foreman said: "Free speech isn't dead, if you look at the letter pages in most of the newspapers today, the majority are in support of freedom of speech and are really quite worried about what's taking place. At first people were upset with Hoddle saying lunatic statements and now I think most people are upset with the way the media has conducted a witch-hunt."

    Rosie Boycott: "A lot of issues have got confused over Hoddle. If he'd won the World Cup then I think things would have been different. I think that they [the Football Association] were looking for a reason to get rid of him, I think he played into their hands."

    Lord Haskins said: "Hoddle's private beliefs are his private beliefs, but he did bring them into his public actions. In other words, he had Mrs Drewery involved in the training of the team so there was a public and a private factor in it."

    Peter Lilley said: "The test of your love of freedom is, are you prepared to stand by someone who you disagree with?"

    Nick Harvey said: "Hoddle should have walked before the FA had to push him."

    You said:

    The Glenn Hoddle fiasco - is this story really worthy of two/ three days' headline news? He was only a football coach not a political leader with influence over our lives. In this case, his comments would have been offensive but does this really make him unfit to coach a football team? Let's get this whole sport into perspective!
    Angus MacFadyen

    With regards to Glenn Hoddle, I think it is appalling that someone should be forced to resign over a personal belief, yet a Tory MEP can bring drugs and gay porn into the country and say he feels no need to resign because the drugs were obviously for personal use, and that he had forgotten about them. Surely society should take a tougher line on drugs than on personal beliefs.
    Chris Kiley

    Freedom of speech is sacrosanct, we all enjoy that right, but to put those views into the public domain and live by them is another matter.
    Noel Kelly

    I am disabled and you may be surprised that I was shocked to see Hoddle sacked under the grounds he was. I feel it was his own opinion and opinion only, therefore I was not offended by his comments. My research teacher on my GNVQ Advanced Business course says to us, opinions do not count for anything, facts count for everything. If Hoddle was going to get sacked he should have been done so for not picking the in-form players such as Andy Cole.
    Mark Morris

    Lord Haskins has displayed his ignorance from the start. He has a "handicapped" relative! Say no more!
    Bridget Peet

    If Glen Hoddle thinks that disabled people are paying the price for some sort of wrong doing in a past life, what cosmic reason would he use to explain the disappointing performance of the England football team?
    Joshua Sutton

    Rosie Boycott's comment that the Tory MEP had to resign because "he broke the law" seems grossly hypocritical considering one of the laws he broke was possession of cannabis - a law Rosie Boycott is a leading light in the campaign against.
    Simon Cooper

    Teenage pregnancy

    Audience question: Is it a good idea for young girls to be fitted with contraceptive implants, as suggested by an advisor to the Family Planning Association?

    Lord Haskins said: "These issues of contraception should be left to individuals to make decisions for themselves about it. And when the age of consent applies then they should make those decisions. I think it is completely outrageous that somebody could be making decisions on behalf of that child."

    Nick Harvey said: "I don't like the idea of this at all. How is it going to be decided who are the suitable cases? ... I think this is completely ridiculous."

    Amanda Foreman said: "Teenage pregnancy is a terrible problem ... and I have no problem with children, young girls, with the consent of parents and their own consent, being fitted a device - that seems to be completely fine to me."

    Rosie Boycott said: "We have to face reality. Girls do have sex very young, we have to try to protect them. Education is the ideal situation but given the facts let's try to help them as well."

    You said:

    In regards to the "implants" of school girls. It might stop pregancy, but what about STDs? If young girls are being pressured into early sex, then that is what we should be concentrating on. By accepting these implants we are accepting this behaviour and could be looking to further widespread AIDS to the younger generation.
    Daniel Francis

    Re: Girls of 12 years having birth control. It is illegal for children of that age to have sex, therefore we must not condone it. The law provides for adequate punishment for future prevention of this crime.
    Peter Kemp

    We seem to be missing a killer of our decade: AIDS. Where is the good old condom? What's the point of prevention if we sanction unsafe sex in this way? NO ONE TOUCHED ON THIS!
    Simon Clouter, father of triplet girls

    Interest rates and Europe

    Audience question: Does the 0.5% interest rate cut prove that the British economy is already being directed from Europe?

    Nick Harvey said: "I certainly don't think we're being ruled from Europe in this regard all. It's true we do have to get our interest rates down ... Because the interest rate within the Euro zone is considerably lower than ours we have got to get our interest rate down ... My view is that we have to start making some preparations and accepting the reality of life and sooner or later, it looks quite likely, that we'll end up going in."

    Lord Haskins said: "It's very encouraging for the economy. I think this is an excellent move towards us joining the Euro, I don't think it is a direct effort from the government ... The prospects of the economy in this country today look as good as any time they've looked since the war."

    Amanda Foreman said: "The European question is being decided above the heads of the populace - and historically governments never lose referendums."

    You said:

    Eddie George lowered UK interest rates in the face of evidence that the UK economy was facing slowdown. If we were part of a single currency and our economy was sluggish then he would not be able to do this. Britain would then suffer increased unemployment and a deep recession. We must not join the single currency. I imagine Beaverbrook did a 180 degree spin when Rosie Boycott said she was in favour of joining it.
    RD Lewin

    If our interest rates are being directed from Europe, this is expressly contrary to the Bank of England Act 1998, under which the Monetary Policy Committee sets interest rates with the objective of meeting HM Treasury's inflation target, currently 2.5%. The only reason for the Bank to cut rates is that domestic economic conditions demand it. It cannot be said often enough that having one's own currency is essential to be able to set economic policy to suit domestic conditions. The people of Ireland are soon going to experience the uncontrolled boom followed by catastrophic bust that is inevitable if monetary policy is too lax. They're in the same position as we were in in the late 80s and early 90s. The difference is this: we escaped, they can't. Watch and learn from Ireland's avoidable sorrow.
    Austin Spreadbury, Enfield, Middlesex

    The Conservative party's policy on marriage

    Audience question: Are tax incentives enough to make people fall in love?

    Peter Lilley said: "Marriage at heart is not a bit of paper, it's a commitment, two people to come together to bring up a family. It's very valuable not just to them, but to society if it succeeds. But it's very difficult and anything we can do to help sustain marriage must be a good thing."

    Nick Harvey said: "Yes, of course marriage and families are a good thing but there are many people who either by choice, or they just don't have the good fortune or they've tried it and it's failed, are not in marriages. And if we start going out of our way positively to give advantages to those who are, then by definition you are disadvantaging those who are not."

    You said:

    I think that marriage should be supported by government but I do not think that this should include substantial tax gains. There are many people in our country today that have children and bring them up successfully but are not married. They may be couples who just do not wish to get married for whatever reason; they may be single mums or dads. It is not a signature of equality that people should be favoured in this way just because they do not agree with marriage or are not in a position to be married. Indeed, it would be the children in such relationships that would suffer the most from this favouritism.
    Darren Brook

    Genetically modified food

    Audience question: Is there a contradiction in the fact that there is a continued ban on beef-on-the-bone but not on genetically modified foodstuffs?

    Lord Haskins said: "Like all scientific developments there's uncertainty ... The potential benefits of genetically modified food are very real, particularly in developing countries, in poor countries, where with this science poor people would be able to grow crops which they cannot grow in the climates they're in at the moment ... there's no evidence of any human risk with genetically modified food."

    Rosie Boycott said: "What appalls me is why can't we learn a lesson? Do we have to go through this again?"

    Nick Harvey said: "I think there is evidence of considerable public concern, I am concerned about genetically modified foods ... the feeling that these are going to creep into the food chain in a way that we don't know about."

    Amanda Foreman said: "A lot of these experiments and a lot of these genetically modified foods are for countries in the developing world ... It isn't just about having redder tomatoes, it's about feeding starving people ... This isn't for us, it's for them."

    You said:

    I would just like to say that I think it is really ironic that as a vegetarian I show an obvious concern for the environment and on the subject of gentically modified foods I find that the food group Soy is mainly produced from genetically modified crops! As vegetarians we can't win!
    Annie Tollafield

    General comments

    This was the weakest edition of the programme I have seen for some time. It was dominated by the Hoddle fiasco and neither the historian nor the businessman had anything valid to say. Can't we have some better panels with three or more well known political figures? At least then we might get some proper debate. And, PLEASE put Question Time on earlier - say 9pm on BBC Two.
    S Rich

    I have watched Question Time for many years and I have to say that the level of debate and type of guests has sunk to an all-time low. The questions are trivial, poorly debated, and I rarely finish the programme feeling thatIi have learnt anything. The new set seems to reflect the current status aptly. Please try and sharpen up the whole programme. Sadly, it's not what it was.
    James Fletcher






  • Question Time Home | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage


    Link to BBC Homepage