On Politics UK this week we ask why Westminster is angry about the allegations that forged British passports were used in the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai. A man who lost his job on the Misuse of Drugs Council explains why he thinks politicians routinely misuse expert advice. And was Prime Minister Gordon Brown right to let us share his pain about the death of his daughter in a television interview?

The knowledge that forged British passports may have been used in a plot to assassinate a Hamas commander has caused alarm and anger at Westminster. Labour MP Kim Howells, a former minister in the Foreign Office, thinks there should be a full investigation.

Twenty respected economists wrote a letter to the Sunday Times newspaper last weekend, stressing the urgency of reducing Britain's budget deficit. The opposition Conservative Party claimed the letter was an endorsement of their economic policy, but some of those who signed the letter are unhappy that the Tories have used it in this way. Sir Howard Davies, Director of the London School of Economics, was one of the signatories. Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London was the head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs but was sacked from his position for expressing views on cannabis that were at odds with those of the government. They discuss how expert advice gets caught up in political debate.

Constitutional change has become a hot topic in this election year as British politicians struggle with the fallout from the parliamentary expenses scandal. The Conservative MP Bill Cash, who has long advocated a "Sovereignty Bill", which would aim to protect the rights of Parliament, debates the issue with one of Britain's leading constitutional lawyers: Richard Gordon QC has written a book called "Repairing British Politics", which proposes a new written constitution for the country, and he explains why he thinks British politics is in need of repair.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, broke down on a television chat show this week, while talking about the death of his baby daughter in 2002. Such a personal interview is rare for Mr Brown, and many political commentators, while expressing sympathy with Gordon Brown for his dreadful loss, felt that the timing of the interview, just before an election, was a cynical political decision. Mattia Bagnoli, the London correspondent of the Italian newspaper La Stampa, discusses the interview with Sarah Sands, deputy editor of the Evening Standard, who is sceptical about Gordon Brown's motives.

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28 minutes

Last on

Sat 20 Feb 2010 04:32 GMT

BBC World Service Archive

BBC World Service Archive

This programme was restored as part of the World Service archive project