April 27, Newcastle

April 13, Edinburgh

March 30, Belfast

March 23, Maidstone

March 16, Truro

March 9, Nottingham

March 2, London

February 24, Leeds

February 17, London

February 10, Birmingham

February 3, Brussels

January 27, Southampton

January 20, Liverpool

January 13, London

December 16, Leeds

December 9, Manchester

December 2, Cardiff

November 25, Birmingham

November 18, Durham

November 11, Maidstone

November 4, Glasgow

October 28, Southampton

October 21, London

October 14, Sydney

October 7, Manchester

September 30, Bournemouth

September 23, London

July 15, Belfast

July 8, London

July 1, Birmingham

February 10, Birmingham

This week the panellists were:

  • Malcolm McLaren, independent mayoral candidate
  • David Blunkett MP, Education and Employment Secretary
  • Angela Browning MP, Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary
  • Nick Harvey MP, Liberal Democrat
  • Ann Leslie, Daily Mail special correspondent

The topics discussed were:

Seeking asylum by hijacking planes?

Audience Question: Should the hijackers and hostages be given political asylum?

David Blunkett: No, they shouldn't. The hijackers committed a criminal act, the passengers they were on an internal flight on their way to a wedding in a provincial town. They were free to travel within Afghanistan.

Ann Leslie: They shouldn't be given asylum but we should be tougher on them than we usually are. They could be imprisoned for life for the offence of hijacking.

Nick Harvey: They are entitled to make their case but it's going to be an uphill task. If they've arrived here by accident it's hard to say they were fleeing.

Malcolm McLaren: There are some people in this world more desperate than others and you have to show some compassion. This country has a great tradition dissenters. They came to London because they think it's a great place. There's nothing wrong with being a soft touch, why do we have to be hardcore all the time?

Angela Browning: The home secretary will have to deal with charges of criminality before issues of asylum. Why didn't they seek asylum in Russia or Germany? Britain is a soft touch.

You said:

If I hijack a 'plane, can I have a hospital bed for my Granny? That appears to be what you have to do these days to get what you want!
Greg Evans, Cardiff

How does Malcolm McLaren think the rest of the citizens of the UK are going to pay for all the world's residents who would prefer to live here on state benefits.
Nigel Counihan, Sleaford

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Welsh Labour's political crisis

Audience Question: Does the panel think it is right to devolve power and then do whatever's possible to keep it devolved?

Nick Harvey: Devolution was one of Labour's brave projects. What happened in Wales is a triumph of devolution. If things are going to be the same in Scotland and Wales as it is in England then there's no point.

Angela Browning: In Wales the government are pretending they've given power to the Welsh but Tony Blair can't let go of power. Alun Michael was another of Tony's Cronies.

Ann Leslie: Devolution is a complete shambles. Tony Blair talks devolution but thinks centralisation.

Malcolm McLaren: In respect of the situation in London, I think the mayoral role should protect London from government.

David Blunkett: On these programmes those on government get a good kicking. We've provided the most substantial shift away from Westminster in 250 years. The PM has a right to promote the candidate who he thinks will work best as leader. You give away power and are accused of being a control freak.

You said:

Malcolm McLaren is wrong. These individuals have caused disruption, and have terrorised and threatened others. This is an unacceptable way to behave and those involved should be dealt with accordingly.

With the resignation of Alun Michael as first secretary of the Welsh assembly and the installation of Rhodri Morgan as acting first secretary, does this mark a sea change in the way devolved politics work from now? Will the centre no longer be able to impose their will on the rank and file membership and on the devolved bodies?
James Chespy, Chatham

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Clause 28 insults teachers?

Audience Question: Does the panel agree that keeping section 28 is an insult to the teaching profession?

Ann Leslie: This government is going back on an obscure article. Gay militants made it a big issue at the time. Teachers who say they can't stop homophobic bullying because they are afraid of Section 28 should give up their day job. Society is not getting any more homophobic.

Nick Harvey: If it makes no difference and no one has been prosecuted under it then why have it anyway? It's an anomaly. It is right that children should learn about all kinds of sexuality. It should be replaced with sensible guidance.

David Blunkett: The law is being misinterpreted as it stands at the moment. Young people need to grow up with respect and understanding in a stable, loving society because that's the best framework for bringing up children.

Malcolm McLaren: Kids get on with it anyway. Sexuality is a personal thing. They experiment with their own sexuality without fear. And teachers don't fear having a point of view. There's this sense that the world is growing up. You just have to let go, just let homosexuals do what they do.

Angela Browning: Teachers have to teach sex education sensitively and accurately. This is all about that word - the promotion of homosexuality. Sexuality of any kind doesn't need promoting.

You said:

I left school 2 years ago and have had feelings about my sexuality since the age of 12. I have now come to terms with my sexuality and admit that I am gay. If section 28 was not in place with the help of my teachers - who are around you for the best part of your teenage life - I would have been able to come to terms with my sexuality sooner, and been able to concentrate more on my school work.
Robert, Manchester

Even if people did decide to 'promote' homosexuality, it would have no effect on children whatsoever - that's why Clause 28 is nonsense. If the clause is repealed, youngsters all over Britain aren't suddenly going to turn into Boy George. When you do grow up gay, you face heterosexual propaganda every day of your life - most gay youngsters grow up in families with a Mum, Dad and straight siblings... it doesn't change the fact that they're gay.
Alan Shade, London

Only those individuals who support the notion that being gay is somehow inferior to being straight seek to maintain Section 28, and the prejudice it engenders.
Mark Edwards, Southampton

Did you see the results of an earlier poll this evening? 28% agreed with removing it and 72% want it to stay. No one wants a return to the days of illegal homosexuality but it seems that it is now almost compulsory. Us boring old straights resent having alternative sexuality preached at every opportunity.
Mike Noble, London

Surely therefore there should be a law to stop homophobia in schools. I went to a catholic grammar school where I was quite openly taught that homosexuality was immoral and such people would go to hell. Why should that be legal?
Mike, London

I don't want my children to learn about being gay. If they are that way inclined, they will find it out soon enough. Why do the current Labour government have to poke their noses into everything from Sport to sexuality?
Daren Strevens, Brighton

I'm a GCSE student in school at the moment and with regard to Section 28 think that the school shouldn't be involved in the promotion of homosexuality or heterosexuality. It's up to the individual and is not a government issue but a personal one. Young people should be allowed to make that decision themselves without any outside influence.
M Amherst, Tewkesbury

Why does the government want to abolish Section 28 when the majority of the voting public don't want it abolished?
J. Owens, UK

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Dome missed in Birmingham?

Audience Question: In hindsight would Birmingham really have wanted the Millennium Dome?

Malcolm McLaren: It went well over the top. It would have been better off outside London. Maybe we can give it to Belfast. I'm sad we weren't able to celebrate agriculture in the Dome. Instead, as you walk in, you've got McDonalds.

Angela Browning: It's so New Labour. It's short term, it's a disappointment and has cost us loads of money.

David Blunkett: I'm disappointed with the attendance. Now we have it we should ensure it works, and ensure people around the country can tap into it

Nick Harvey: I was against the Dome at the outset. Now we have spent the money, why as a nation do we have to knock it?

Ann Leslie: I love big shows. It would have been a passable event if it had cost 10m but it cost 758m.

You said:

The Dome has cost far too much to stage, so has bred resentment in those who feel the money could have been better spent. It now compounds this by asking us to pay not insignificant amounts to go to see it - especially for those of us who live outside London who must take travel/accomodation into account - when one feels one has already paid for it as a tax-payer & lottery player. I suggest they drastically drop the prices - say 10 for adults & 5 for children! With regard to quality of content, one should really judge this for oneself - the press are currently not the best source as they are bandwagoning on this issue. Our family will probably still go but I fear a dumbed-down, politically correct product will await us.
Charles Allison, Brechin, Scotland

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Direct rule in Northern Ireland

Audience Question: If direct rule is re-imposed in Northern Ireland do the panel feel we should put a hold on the release of any more prisoners?

Angela Browning: Absolutely. The government have failed to listen to the warnings. We've all been saddened in the Commons as we dealt with this legislation.

Nick Harvey: The peace process is a package. If it all grinds to a halt then prisoner releases have to stop too.

David Blunkett: If the process is suspended then we'll go into a review period.

Malcolm McLaren: Anyone who brings people together has my support. There should be a lot less posturing going on. I'm not sure anyone can trust Peter Mandelson.

Ann Leslie: The British government has been making all the concessions. The appeasement of Sinn Fein IRA has to stop. Even if we have to return to the days of terrorism.

You said:

So what has happened to the all-party support for N.Ireland issues? Once again we see the conservatives criticising the government. It's this unthinking gung-ho attitude of Hague's that would have seen the Good Friday Agreement collapse long ago if the Tories had been handling it.
Peter Hardy, London

That the question chosen on tonight's programme in a 5min. segment at the end of the show on such a crucial issue as the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly was the vacuous one of whether the release of prisoners should continue in the event of a suspension is further evidence of dumbing-down at the B.B.C. The intelligence of people in both parts of this island was further insulted by the inane comments of Ann Leslie: having given all those concessions enough is enough and a halt must be called "even if we have to return to the days of terrorism". This tripe is the stuff of Sun journalism and it is to the shame of those connected with this once-respected programme that it has been allowed to descend to such a level.
B Gallagher, Mullingar Repub., Ireland

Yet again, English politicians display complete ignorance of basic human nature. Every single human being has been taught a particular social code. This code is defined entirely by our environment. Why does this not apply to the people of Northern Ireland? Why are these people treated as pawns in a political game? The troubles in Northern Ireland have always been more than political agendas or a fight for identity or equality. Emotion cannot be wiped out by an agreement or a deadline. Give the people of Northern Ireland time to deal with the troubles. Then the problems may be solved.
Aiden Flynn, London

Why should the IRA give up any guns when there are more than 150,000 guns legally registered to unionists?
Caoimhin, Northampton

Why do the loyalists want to be British and yet retain an armed police force? We don't have one in the rest of the UK. Surely if they agree to immediate disarming of their police force then the IRA will no longer have any reason or argument in favour of keeping their arms.

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Your general comments:

What a complete waste of a very good programme to have such idiots as Malcolm McLaren and Ann Lesley on Question Time. Sadly they have appeared on earlier programmes, in Lesley's case too many times, and they should not appear again. McLaren's constant interruptions and lack of anything sensible to contribute to the debate made a mockery of Question Time . Even David Dimbleby found him difficult to control. Surely there are many other national figures out there who would like to appear, who would provide the necessary balance and make a useful contribution? The next time either of these characters appears, I will chose to have an early night.
Roy Edwards, Hook Heath,Woking

I would be interested to know whether Malcolm McLaren feels that his proposal to stand for the London mayoralty represents anything more than an awareness that there is a need for a comic dimension to the proceedings? It might be said that his position in the mayoral race may say something symbolically about mainstream Britain encapsulated in London life at the turn of the millennium - that is, the transition from a genuinely radical and alternative lifeview to a wholesale prostitution before the face of an all providing capitalism which meets the needs of the prosperous middle age, suddenly calling oneself "Sensible" .
Captain Stupid, London

Ken Livingstone may not be the sort of person one wants for high administrative office, but he needs some kind of recognition. He filled the role of left-wing bogey so well that - with the help of Arthur Scargill - he succeeded in keeping Mrs Thatcher in power many years beyond her time. I therefore propose he should be knighted, receiving a special title (without duties) to suit the nature of his contribution. I suggest he should be known as *Knight-Mayor of London*. And perhaps Arthur Scargill could be Knight-Mayor of Tunbridge Wells (or somewhere similar). Baroness Thatcher has herself now become a most effective right-wing bogey, so she should not be left out. How about Dame-Mayor ... of Scunthorpe, perhaps?
Derek Brooke-Wavell, Reading

It maybe that Scunthorpe is not among the most interesting of towns in Lincolnshire, but it is set amongst some beautiful and peaceful countryside. Derek Brooke-Wavell should visit and see for himself before using it as a term of derision. He might even want to move up from the rat race.
John Smith, Lincoln

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