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Wednesday, 20 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 20 Jun 07, 05:54 PM

Gordon BrownGordon Brown
One week to go before Gordon Brown takes over at Number 10. Are you excited yet?

Tonight he dons his lounge suit to give his final speech to the City great and good at the Mansion House. Stephanie Flanders will be there to hear what he says.

Equity
She'll also be reporting on the continuing row over the 10% tax break enjoyed by those private equity buccaneers who've made such a splash of late. We first reported that row in February - watch that report here.

But is it really sustainable for a chancellor who has talked about ending poverty to allow the mega rich to benefit from a lower tax rate than their office cleaners?

Lib Dems
Also more confirmation today about the talks between Gordon Brown and the Liberal Democrats. What have they been about? Michael Crick is on the case.

Michael first reported on this story back in May, and he even asked Gordon Brown about it - you can watch his report here.

Europe
And that item on top of the Gordon Brown in-tray - should I, should I not have a referendum on the treaty? David Grossman has the latest on public opinion from Brussels.

Credit Card Fraud
Also, credit card fraud - do the police care any more? The latest Home Office rules say the public should not bother the police if their credit card details are used by a fraudster - only banks can report this crime. Is this a green light to more credit card theft? Martin Shankleman has all the details.

Blair
Finally what about the man who is currently in the PM's job? Tony Blair and David Cameron had their usual clash at PMQs today. The next time that happens will be on Tony Blair's last day. Those who've faced Tony Blair across the dispatch box give us an insight into just what a formidable opponent he was and still is.

Jeremy will be hosting the debate at 10.30. Do join him.

Lebanon on the edge

  • Richard Colebourn
  • 20 Jun 07, 04:33 PM

Newsnight's man in the Middle East Richard Colebourn will be providing regular despatches from across the region and putting your questions to the people in charge.

Walid EidoBEIRUT - Overlooking the Mediterranean, Beirut’s Sporting Club is an institution. Families come to swim. Women clad in immodest bikinis top up their tans. Leathery Lebanese men play backgammon and cards and smoke. Lebanese MP Walid Eido was a regular. Last Wednesday he, his son and his bodyguards came for the afternoon.

There are also normally a few pale foreign journalists and UN-types. Wednesday afternoon saw my first visit. I recall thinking that if you squinted you could be in the south of France.

At twenty to five, whilst swimming in the deep end, I witnessed Eido’s convoy of cars explode near the entrance to the club as they left. Some 150m from the pool, a giant plume of black smoke shot into the sky carrying bits of car bumper and clothing. The bomb killed ten in total, including two young footballers from the neighbouring club.

The contradictions and the volatility of Lebanon were made clear - a bit too close for comfort.

Continue reading "Lebanon on the edge"

Levy causes further embarrassment to government

  • Michael Crick
  • 20 Jun 07, 02:49 PM

Labour unexpectedly lost a vote in the House of Lords last night - on the Greater London Authority Bill - despite having won a vote on the same legislation earlier in the evening.

Lord LevyThe problem, I'm told, is that in the early evening far too many Labour peers went AWOL to attend the big bash held at Lancaster House to mark Lord Levy's standing down as Tony Blair's Middle East envoy.

As a result the government lost the vote by seven votes. Later in the evening, once most of the Levy revellers had drifted back to the upper chamber, the government majority was restored. Lord Grocott, the Labour chief whip in the Lords is normally a calm and patient man (as one would expect of a former broadcaster). But, last night, I'm told, he "was not best pleased".

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