November 25, Birmingham

November 18, Durham

November 11, Maidstone

November 4, Glasgow

October 28, Southampton

October 21, London

October 14, Sydney

October 7, Manchester

Thursday 30 September, Bournemouth

Thursday 23 September, London

Thursday 15 July, Belfast

Thursday 8 July, London

Thursday 1 July, Birmingham

Thursday 24 June, Leeds

Thursday 17 June, Manchester

Thursday 10 June, Birmingham

Thursday 3 June, Norwich

Thursday 27 May, Bath

Thursday 20 May, Belfast

Thursday 13 May, Birmingham

Thursday 29 April, London

Thursday 22 April, Glasgow

Thursday 15 April, Cardiff

Thursday 25 March, Sheffield

Thursday 18 March, London

Thursday 11 March, Manchester

Thursday 4 March, Maidstone

Thursday 25 February, London

Thursday 13 May, Birmingham

Watch Question Time by clicking on Latest edition, and send in your email views on the topics discussed.

On the panel:

  • Margaret Beckett MP, Leader of the House of Commons
  • Michael Howard MP, shadow foreign affairs secretary
  • Menzies Campbell MP, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs and defence spokesman
  • The Rt. Rev'd Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester
  • Melanie Phillips, columnist, The Sunday Times


    Audience question: Given the recent verdict on Doctor Moor, does this now set a precedent for legalised murder?

    Melanie Phillips said: "I think it would be a disaster to go down the road of legalised murder, of legalised euthanasia. We would end up with the situation in Holland where people are now so desperate because of 'voluntary euthanasia' having got out of control, that people are now taking cards around with them saying, 'in the event of something happening to me I do not want to have euthanasia.'"

    Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said: "Human life is sacred. The job of doctors is to preserve life not to destroy it ... There is very little reason to hasten death."

    Menzies Campbell said: "The uncertainty which surrounds these matters is something which is not in the public interest ... We should be looking now to see if there is not some legal framework that we can provide for this ... At the moment we rely upon the Hippocratic oath of the doctors. I'm not sure that that is sufficient."

    Margaret Beckett said: "In the end it is going to come down to very difficult moral decisions, to very difficult choices. I certainly think that there is much to be done in terms of spreading the best understanding and knowledge about pain relief."

    Michael Howard said: "The real trouble with euthanasia is that although you can always find cases where it seems a sensible way out, it inevitably puts pressure on the weakest and most vulnerable people in the whole of our community. People who think they might be a burden on their relatives."

    You said:

    If euthanasia became legal, the goal posts would move and the moment people ran out of money or equity on their house (as used in nursing homes) they would be encouraged to be killed. This is what has happened with abortion which is now used as contraception rather than the original criteria where it should only be on medical grounds. Perhaps if euthanasia was carried out by shooting, people might see it for what it really is. If the body is still living, God must want it that way.
    Marcus Alexander

    Much is made of doctors abusing their power by taking unilateral decisions to hasten death. But subtle changes in society's moral and ethical perception of voluntary euthanasia may soon see the day where it is the patient who is empowered and we doctors become their tools. A position few of us relish, and one that pits the law against our patients' wishes. Crystal clear legislation will do little to chance society's slow, but gradual, acceptance of voluntary euthanasia.
    Dr Mark Porter

    When we say that a doctor can kill a patient, whether by the patient's own request, we are abnegating our responsibility towards the severely ill. If our society sanctions such murders, when then does a doctor start to cull the population of the elderly chronic patient who is not seen as being economically viable? Or the mentally impaired chronically ill patient who might be seen to eat up NHS resources? There are all sorts of scenarios that might be used, but it surely must be the thin end of the wedge when a society instead of giving excellent palliative care opts to sanction murder instead.
    Elizabeth Boyd Harvey

    Euthanasia is a personal thing between family and patient. If we all are honest, we all wish to die with dignity and not pain. It's a fine line, but if I was suffering later on in life, like many people are, and I was strapped up to tubes and could come through it and survive then okay. But I would ask my doctor and family, if I could not come through it then I'd like to die with pride and no pain.
    Phillip Moulson

    What ticks me off is the lies being spread about Holland by the anti-porn/drugs/euthanasia lobby. It is all they can do in the face of the fact that repression doesn't work. Personally, I do not go around with a tag around my neck saying: "In the case of an accident, please don't euthanise me". And I don't know anyone who does. Euthanasia isn't the first choice of treatment when you end up in hospital. There aren't rows and rows of doctors just waiting for the chance to put you down. As far as I know, the law is still that someone has to:

  • make a personal request
  • be terminally ill
  • have the ok from two doctors
    It is totally patient driven - the doctor isn't the one who makes the decision - he has to choose if he goes along with the patient's request. The choice of euthanasia actually puts quite a few people at ease, making them more able to enjoy and less fearful of the time they have left.
    Alex van Deelen

    It not easy to imagine the effects of long term pain on the patient and the patient's family. As commented in the programme, palliative care is random and speaking from my own experience of watching a father dying rapidly from prostate cancer, in the final nine months of his life he had little or no respite from pain. When his death came I was left traumatised not only by the loss, but from a feeling of guilt of not being able to help my father conquer the pain. I believe that when medical science has failed us we should be given the option of choosing when to die. I feel sure that my father would have chosen a dignified exit, unlike the completely undignified and horrific death that he and my family had to endure. I will feel his pain for the rest of my life.
    John Williams

    Let doctors continue using their common sense. We cannot get away from the fact that they do have the power over life and death in many cases. There will never be a definitive answer as each case is different and, as medicine has advanced, the decisions have been taken out of God's hand.
    John Richardson

    There should be legislation to allow euthanasia by specified practitioners. This will enable people in immense pain from terminal illnesses to make their own choices. With doctors already able to extend life beyond natural limits, there seems no reason why they should not be able to end life in a dignified and comfortable manner.
    Karen and Ellie

    It does seem strange that we live in a society where a dying animal will be put down to end its misery, but a human being in pain is kept alive at all costs.
    Andrew Hartshorn, Derby

    Euthanasia cannot be legalised per se, but a few more doctors like Dr. Moor would do no real harm.
    David Perkins, Oxford

    When talking about euthanasia it should be remembered that death is NOT the worst thing that can happen to someone. Although perfectly healthy myself I can imagine circumstances whereby I would crave death as an ending to pain/ existence in a vegetative state.
    Nigel Jones-Morris

    Why is it that whenever euthanasia is discussed, it is always young healthy people doing the debating? Surely the people that need to answer the question of whether euthanasia is acceptable, are the people suffering from terminal illnesses that cause severe pain. Only then will we be able to judge whether some sort of framework to allow this could be set up.
    Gerd Ellsmore

    I think that the doctor who was proved innocent received the correct result in his recent court case. I, as well as my close family, would like the opportunity to have the decision and the right, to demand a doctor performing euthanasia. We all want to enjoy life and be healthy. If we were animals, we would be put down immediately! Why can't we decide our own fate?
    Steve Carless

    Euthanasia is a personal choice that can only be made on a personal level when you are in the situation for yourself. Until you are in a position of dying or living a life with no quality, no joy or release from pain, nobody can possibly say what is morally right. There should be controls of course, because our society is so screwed up that you cannot trust people or even family. What a sad reflection on our society.
    Rebecca Baxter

    Only God has the power to end a life, and I don't think doctors quite possess that criteria.
    Andrew Ross

    The comments concerning euthanasia from a member of the panel about Holland is incorrect. We are living in Holland and they do not under any circumstances administer a lethal injection unless it is really a last resort and agreed by the person in question or their family. In no way should it be suggested that the Dutch medical system administer lethal injections as a matter of course. One final point, we feel that having known people suffering with Cancer, the pain cannot be alleviated to an extent that is acceptable as I have witnessed with my sister and mother. We believe that the system in Holland is extremely fair and professional in allowing a possible relief from excess pain in extenuating circumstances.
    Paul Whitby

    I have been caring for the elderly and terminally ill for the past eight years. To me my job is to make an elderly person's last few years or days as comfortable as possible. If a person dies peacefully then I have done my job. If he/she dies in pain I have failed that person. In a previous employment a terminally ill resident on Morphine was screaming in pain. We sat down as a team and discussed should we give her a boost of medication to ease it that would probably kill her. We were all in agreement, and yes that person died but at least she left this world pain-free. If a person is convicted of this then where will it end? If we end up with these drugs being banned to prevent euthanasia, where will the terminally ill be then?
    Amanda Armstrong, Newbridge, South Wales.

    The argument against euthanasia seems to be entirely religious. Religion is over represented in the law making machine of our society. Death is natural. Suffering is painful and in-humane. We treat animals better than humans in this respect. Michael Howard would be a dangerous man if he had some real power.
    D Keely

    I work in a hospice and believe that much suffering is relieved. I think it is a myth, however, that hospice care is the answer to everything - it is not all nice smells, bubble baths and tranquillity. Many still die in a degree of pain and abject misery.
    Melissa Martin

    The argument put forward against the actions of a doctor who was doing what doctors do every day, was not put by somebody who has watched another person suffer. In any palliative care setting, medicine is administered in doses that are fatal, but at the same time alleviate pain and, more importantly, distress both for the dying and their families.
    Richard Hopkins

    As a patient of Dr. Moor's and also a colleague in the health service with a considerable knowledge of the effects of opiods, in this case diamorphine, I am incredibly disappointed in the way the outcome of the trial is being portrayed in the media. Whilst I accept this raises the issue of euthanasia, for those who have any notion of why this came to court, the issue is about how a doctor balances dignity, respect, care, and most of all, pain relief, with the inevitability of death in the terminally ill. It is well known that diamorphine has the effect of respiratory depression as well as increased tolerance in continued use (hence the substantial number of accidental overdoses recorded in regular users). Does this mean that in order to prevent further charges of murder coming before the courts, GPs will have to skimp on or ignore pain relief for those who are genuinely suffering?
    J. Brown

    I have witnessed pain and suffering in fatal and terminal illnesses in the cases of two close family members: my mother and my daughter. I also have personal knowledge of other children who have been terminally ill, and of the terrible pain and suffering they have experienced leading to death, and that their parents have helplessly witnessed and subsequently lived with. In response to Michael Howard's comment on euthanasia and the administration of pain killing medication which may hasten death, I wholly agree that it is the object of the medical decision which is of primary importance. The situation presenting the highest degree of conflict of medical and moral dilemma seems to be where the administration of pain relief may hasten death. Decisions made in these circumstances are subjective, depending upon the moral stance of the doctor and the level of influence and persuasion upon the doctor by the family or others. At such a time, it is extremely difficult to be objective, in a situation where objectivity and the interests of the patient are vital for appropriate treatment decisions. Some guideline should be given to doctors in this situation. It is my opinion that if the patient is experiencing pain and suffering that cannot be relieved without administering pain killers which side effect may be to hasten death, then the medication should be administered. I do not believe that administering pain killing drugs which may have the effect of hastening death constitutes euthanasia.
    Luisa Sadler, Lincoln

    I have been suffering from HIV for 18 years or more and all my doctors and friends know that if I suffer any illness/condition where I cannot care/look after/cope with my illness then, besides pain killers, they are not allowed to treat me in any other way. I believe that the majority of people feel this way and that to keep these people alive to suffer a life of "non existence"is wrong.
    Ken Baxendale

    Does not the patient have a say in what happens to them? Unless you also condemn suicide, a doctor assisting a patient to end their life in circumstances where the patient fully understands all the options, must be the patient's choice and not one where the doctor should be condemned for assisting the patient to realise their wishes.
    Graham Tapper

    Who has the right to end a life? We cannot create life by our selves, so we should not have the right to end it. How ever you look at it it is killing.
    Dan Steel, Loughton

    The right to end your life is still up to the person whose life it is. If that person is willing and wanting to die, and is competent, they should be able to die with dignity.
    Adrian Lees

    I have personally witnessed the painful death of a family member. Why is it that we are allowed to put animals to sleep as it is "cruel to keep them alive" and yet this is not the case with humans?
    Donetta Lancaster

    Surely if someone wants to end their life they have that right, and if you think that a suicide should be considered to be murder of the self, then why not allow someone incapacitated from doing so with the help of their helper.
    Mark Casey

    I think that doctors and all professional medics should be allowed to help people die.
    Neil Mercer

    Cross-party views on Nato

    Audience question: Is the parliamentary opposition justified in criticising the present political leadership of Nato?

    Michael Howard said: "We're not only justified in doing it, it's what we're there to do. Parliament in this country is not a rubber stamp. We are a parliamentary democracy."

    Margaret Beckett said: "There is a balance that has to be struck and it's a difficult balance, but it's a balance where I strongly believe that anyone, and that includes a parliamentary opposition, has also a duty to try to bend over backwards to make sure that they don't do anything that undermines the perception of support, particularly when you have troops in conflict."

    Menzies Campbell said: "The opposition's position now is that they would support the use of ground troops even if they had to operate in a hostile environment. In that sense I think the official opposition has failed to discharge its duty and responsibility, because if you have a duty to ask questions, you've certainly got a duty, it seems to me, to provide some answers as well. When British forces are engaged in events in which their lives at risk the general duty of support transcends all of this."

    Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said: "You cannot continue to inflict casualties on civilian populations and at the same time say you are not going to commit your soldiers to the war. I cannot see how the conflict will be resolved without ground troops in some form being committed."

    Melanie Phillips said: "They are certainly justified in criticising it ... This war has been absolutely disastrous and criminally inept."

    You said:

    The Opposition has a perfect right to question the Government over Kosovo or any other matter. If parliament wasn't bypassed by Tony Blair and proper debate had taken place we probably wouldn't be in the mess we are in now.
    Marcus Alexander

    This is an email from Oz. We have been watching all the stuff on Serbia, and it is very clear that Nato has become a real sham, under the influence of a President that has been proved a liar in his own country. Nato has stirred up a hornet's nest, displaced millions, killed thousands of civilians ... and all we get is a shady presentation from Shea who contradicts himself every other day. He has to disguise civilian killings by such words as "collateral damage" - does he think the public is stupid? Surely, the BBC has a duty to show integrity to state what world opinion is thinking and seeing ... that Nato has caused a mighty mess. They do not even have UN approval for their actions. No one likes what was happening in Kosovo - or anywhere else - but the UN should be active in this or is it just a lame donkey? The world- view of Britain and Nato is becoming more negative daily.
    P. Scott

    This is my justification for using ground troops now. There is no other way, and it is why we tax payers support an army in the first place. Kosovo is Europe, that makes it our problem this time. We do not need the USA to agree to help. If we Europeans decide to solve this issue, we will solve it, and the Americans will join in, because they will have to then. I would give my blood for this, and I am sure most of my peers would too, not because of the shock or the horror of what is happening, but because it is our historic duty to end fascism in Europe every time it shows its head and forever.

    Margaret Beckett's comments on the need for all parties to be behind Nato forces goes against the very plinths of democracy. The entire situation is reminiscent of the groupthink which caused the Bay of Pigs disaster and I for one believe our actions in the Balkans are equivalent to the Serbian ethnic cleansing policy. Are we not just cleansing the Serbians from Kosova? We need to stop the murder of innocent civilians and once more try to bring a superior morality to the situation than the Serbians. I am sick of being a pawn in an American power struggle.
    Paul Haigh

    The government insists on maintaining they have the backing of the British public and yet even after a major propaganda campaign, polls still show that only around half of people support the air strikes. When will the government or opposition party start listening to, acknowledging and representing this considerable number of anti-Nato voices?
    Kate Thomas

    If the basic plan is fundamentally flawed, it is the duty of the opposition to oppose it. Messrs. Blair, Clinton and Schroeder have put Nato in a conflict that will destroy it. Nato has become a dirty word in only a few weeks. The oppositions in all countries should do whatever it takes to end this stupid, shameful war.
    James Raymond, USA

    My opinion is that Nato attacks against Yugoslavia is a brutality never seen before. The chiefs of the governments involved must be prosecuted by an international court as cowards and criminals of war.
    Sergio Andrade

    I agree that it was very short sighted of the Prime Minister when he said at the beginning of the conflict that ground troops would not be deployed. This gave Milosevic an open invitation to pursue his policy of ethnic cleansing and calculated resetting of the regions 'history' and. This 'throw away' comment could have been the catalyst for the terrible suffering and tragedy we see now.
    Andrew Salt

    I agree, "This war has been absolutely disastrous and criminally inept."
    Paula Morrow

    The shadow cabinet should stop undermining the power of Tony Blair and his command of British forces ... we are at war!
    Derek Laird

    Nato should not have attacked in the first place, as it was obvious the atrocities would be worsened and now Britain is involved in a worldwide incident rather than a civil war which had nothing to do with Britain.
    Michael Jones

    Both Clinton and Blair are looking for their niche in history, neither has any military experience. Blair has a man in the house with wide military experience, namely Mr Ashdown. Why not use him? I am not a Liberal Democrat.
    Frank Mayfield

    Nato is trying to fight evil with evil. This is never justified morally (see Bible). We are all responsible for a greater evil if we allow these actions to go unchallenged.
    G. Robinson

    At a time of crisis in Kosovo when, at last, we have a true international leader at the head of our government, it is totally unacceptable to me to have an opposition party undermining our nation's, Nato's and our Forces' position.
    Richard Jones, Blackburn

    I believe that the Conservatives, by not giving total cross-party support. are not backing our forces in the Kosovo crisis. We must not allow ethnic cleansing under any circumstances and should be able to pay the price to uphold the principle.
    Dhiru Galani

    Does Michael Howard realise that he is playing into the hands of Slobodan with his open criticism of Nato and the government in their prosecution of the war? He is speaking of past errors, they should be analysed after the war is over. He is in danger of prolonging the war if Slobodan feels that our own parliament is split on the issues.
    Tony Atkinson

    Proportional representation

    Audience question: Does the need for deals in the Scottish and Welsh assemblies mean an end to talk of proportional representation (PR) for Westminster?

    Margaret Beckett said: "At some point there will be a referendum on this matter and then the people will choose and if that's what the people want to do then it's up to them."

    Michael Howard said of PR: "It's a bad thing, it's a negation of democracy. My party, very exceptionally, disagrees with a system which benefits us electorally. But we still prefer a first-past-the-post system because we think that is the most effective form of democracy."

    Menzies Campbell said: "The Labour government has a manifesto commitment to have a referendum on PR in the course of this parliament. I believe that what we've seen inn Scotland will encourage them to fulfil this commitment and that people in the United Kingdom will vote in favour of a system of proportional representation."

    Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said: "The basic principle about PR is that it more accurately represents the will of the people."

    You said:

    I hope to see that the major benefit from PR is a government of common sense decisions through all-party debate.
    Ian McConnachie

    Is it not the case that any student at a Scottish Uni will be on the Electoral Roll and therefore (by the definition given) be resident in Scotland? English born students should therefore be just as exempt from tuition fees as their Scottish colleagues.
    Dr Ian Cresswell, Birmingham

    Changes to the national curriculum

    Audience question: Are politicians the right people to determine what is 'good citizenship'?"

    Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali said: "Politicians are the right people to determine it should happen. I'd be very sorry if they should also prescribe what should happen because, of course, good citizenship is a matter for discussion, for debate."

    Melanie Phillips said: "We're in danger now of [adding] on to a curriculum that is in adequate ... an opportunity for propaganda."

    Margaret Beckett said: "One of the most useful things that education can communicate is teaching people to understand the difference between evidence and opinion."

    Michael Howard said: "It's particularly unfortunate that this proposal is being made at the exact same time that team sports are not being made compulsory."

    Menzies Campbell said: "Don't you think it's right that young people growing up in great Britain at the start of the next century should understand that they live in a global community?"

    You said:

    Never mind about 'citizenship lessons', which sounds like dangerous nonsense. The subject that should be on the curriculum which isn't now, is Economics. If everyone knew how supply and demand works, how taxation relates to spending and what a PSBR is, our democracy would be in much ruder health. Voters could make much more informed decisions, starting with kicking the single currency into touch forever.
    R Lewin

    How can we expect teachers to teach us how to be good when they are simply human beings? The only way to get students to question their surroundings is by providing them with original and imaginative lessons and not just constant rote learning, reading any old book and emphasis of fun through games lessons. Unfortunately the curriculum shows no evidence of providing anyone with imaginative and inspiring lessons, so it looks like no-one will question their environment anymore then we have been doing.
    Nina Dluzewska

    Would it not be necessary for us all to become citizens rather than subjects? I'm sure good citizenship should be a product of home, family, school and examples within the media.
    Philip Hunt

    Surely, the morning registration periods include information and debates on society and 'good citizenship' (whatever that is!).
    Dean Russell

    MI6 agents revealed on the internet

    Audience question: What is the implication for national security after the release of names on the internet of MI6 officers?

    Margaret Beckett said: "Anybody could put out what they claim is a list of people who are agents, who then may well, in various ways, be at risk and that also has enormous dangers. So I think it has very serious implications for security."

    Menzies Campbell said: "We have to find a way to ensure that whenever someone falls out with the security services about some question of employment, they're not then able to go out of this country and take actions which are deeply damaging to fabric to the fabric of the society of the United Kingdom."

    You said:

    I think it's everyone's right to know the web site address disclosing MI6 agents details. It should be published on your home page or a relevant link made.
    Attique Shafiq

    This whole story about the MI6 list and that publishing it on the Internet will endanger the lives of those upon it: Do you not think that influential parties interested in this data would not have already paid highly for this information instead of waiting for it to be shown publicly? This attitude of 'if it isn't shown in public then no-one knows about it' is foolhardy. It's about time that people realised it isn't the Internet that's the problem but the attitude the world has towards information. All the internet has done is show how readily available this sensitive information is.
    Marcus Bowkett

    We live in a technological age and it is unlikely that there will be any significant security improvement anytime soon. So the internet will continue to have information that should not be public published on it. Why did this person who was apparently unsuitable and high risk have access to such sensitive information in the first place and why did the government not tell the press that the list was inaccurate and leave it at that?
    Nina Dluzewska

    Once again we hear demands for the regulation of the internet. If MI6 is an intelligence organisation, it will be familiar with techniques of disinformation. Is the list of names available on the net accurate? If one wants to hide something, one simply surrounds it with similar things. The best aspect of the net is the overwhelming quantity of information; the worst aspect of the net is the overwhelming quantity of information. My message to all the technophobes is stop worrying - start thinking.
    Phil Walters

    Hopefully Richard Tomlinson's act of treason will bring about speedier and much needed reform of the Data Protection Act and not foolish, mis-informed criticism of the internet.
    Mark L. Curtis

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