Moment Lord Sumption tells a stage 4 bowel cancer sufferer that her life is ‘less valuable’ than others in shocking TV debate on the impact of lockdown
- Jonathan Sumption made comments on BBC’s Big Questions this morning
- He told BBC podcaster Deborah James her life was ‘less valuable’ than others
- Ms James suffers from Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer and had 17 tumours
Former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption today told a Stage 4 bowel cancer sufferer that her life was ‘less valuable’ than others.
Jonathan Sumption, who sat on the Supreme Court until 2018, made the comments while appearing on the BBC‘s The Big Questions this morning to discuss the cost of lockdown.
He told BBC podcaster Deborah James, 39, that her life was ‘less valuable’ than others because she suffers with Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer.
Host Nicky Campbell invited guests to discuss the cost of lockdown and whether it was ‘punishing too many for the greater good’.
Lord Sumption, who argues that vulnerable people should be able to isolate if they want while leaving the rest of the population to continue without lockdown, said: ‘All lives are not of equal value – the older you are, the less valuable yours is because there’s less of it left.’
Jonathan Sumption, who sat on the Supreme Court until 2018, made the comments while appearing on the BBC’s The Big Questions this morning (pictured)
He told BBC podcaster Deborah James (right), 39, that her life was ‘less valuable’ than others because she suffers with Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer
Ms James, who hosts the BBC‘s You, Me And The Big C podcast, has had 17 tumours in her lifetime and had her latest cancer operation just six weeks ago.
She told Lord Sumption: ‘With all due respect I’m the person who you say their life is not valuable, I live with metastatic bowel cancer.’
Lord Sumption, who has previoys then interrupted Ms James and said: ‘I didn’t say your life was not valuable, I said it was less valuable.’
Ms James, from London, known as Bowel Babe, said: ‘Who are you to put a value on life? In my view, and I think in many others, life is sacred and i don’t think we should make those judgement calls.
Ms James (pictured in hospital), from London , known as Bowel Babe, has had 17 tumours in her lifetime and had her latest cancer operation just six weeks ago
‘All life is worth saving regardless of what life it is people are living.
‘I’m fully aware and I’ve seen first hand and said goodbye to best friends in terms of collateral Covid is causing but at the same time I’m grateful to be somebody who is kept alive because of the NHS…
‘Only six weeks ago I was in intensive care for a cancer operation that has got me back up on my feet and without that I wouldn’t be here.
‘And we have to protect the nhs to allow the collateral to be as minimal on all health conditions as possible.’
Ms James said she has seen ‘many friends’ who she met through cancer die in the four years since her diagnosis. One was a fellow host of the podcast, Rachael Bland, who died of breast cancer in 2018, aged 40.
Lord Sumption also claimed there was no real evidence to suggest that lockdowns are an effective method for reducing fatalities from coronavirus and instead said there are a ‘large number’ of statistical studies into the relationship between lockdown and mortality and ‘there is almost no correlation at all’.
He added that they show variables which determine mortality depends primarily on the age boundary balance and underlying state of health of the population.
Lord Sumption said: ‘Covid attacks vulnerable groups… 90 per cent of the deaths from Covid have been of people over 70 and 90 per cent of those have other very serious underlying clinical conditions.’
He added: ‘Instead of isolating the old and the vulnerable who need it, we have chosen to isolate everybody.
‘The argument is that if the young fit and health get Covid they will pass it on to the old and vulnerable but that is not correct because the old and vulnerable can isolate themselves if they want to.’