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Long on integrity?

  • Michael Crick
  • 5 Mar 08, 10:36 PM

So the government won a comfortable majority of 63 in its efforts to stop a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The Conservatives emerged for once as the most united party on an European matter, whilst the Lib Dems, normally at one on EU matters, saw a quarter of their MPs defy the whips.

It was a lively debate, and my favourite moment came when Peter Lilley tried to compare the Foreign Secretary David Miliband with the corrupt and long-deceased former governor of Louisiana, Huey Long. Long was once asked by an aide how he would explain to people why he'd ditched an election pledge. "Tell 'em I lied," Long is reported to have said.

When Lilley said Miliband and his colleagues didn't even have the integrity of Huey Long, the deputy speaker said it was un-Parliamentary language and he should back down at once. "I withdraw that remark," Mr Lilley duly said. "They have the integrity of Huey Long."

After the laughter had died down, Mr Lilley was forced to withdraw that comment too!

Wednesday, 5 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Mar 08, 05:03 PM

EU referendum
cleggcommons203.jpgA rowdy time was had by all in the House of Commons today – and that was just at PMQs. The three party leaders took each other to task over their respective stances on an EU referendum. This was followed by a lengthy debate about a referendum on the EU Treaty. Is this democracy in action or a Westminster conspiracy to stifle real debate? Our political editor Michael Crick will have the best bits for us – and the results of the vote itself, of course, which takes place at 7pm. What will be the fallout of the rebellions likely to dog each of the party leaders?

Michael Crick’s been blogging this afternoon – read what he has to say here.

The BBC has learnt of allegations of state-sanctioned violence in Kenya during the turmoil that followed last December's disputed presidential poll. Sources allege that meetings were hosted at the official residence of the president between the banned Mungiki militia and senior government figures. The Kenyan Government says the allegations are preposterous. Karen Allen has been investigating and Jeremy has been putting the allegations to the Kenyan Government spokesman.

Read more on this story here.

US elections
"For everyone here in Ohio and across America who has ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out, for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up, and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you."

Hillary Clinton is back in the race after taking Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island in yesterday’s Democratic primaries. But Barack Obama took Vermont and still has more delegates overall than his rival.

So it’s no clearer who will go up against that other comeback kid John McCain – now confirmed as the Republican nominee – in the fight for the White House.

Peter Marshall is in Washington to ask “what next?” It could all come down to the super-delegates – but who are these mysterious voters with the power to turn this race on its head yet again?

HIV scandal
Also tonight, Madeleine Holt investigates the so-called "bareback" gay porn industry. The unique selling point of this genre of films is that they show unprotected sex - something which has been taboo in gay erotica since the emergence of HIV in the 1980s.

Our investigation highlights fears that some of the performers in bareback are becoming infected on camera. And that footage, which effectively documents people unwittingly becoming HIV positive, is now on sale. Some surprising names are now profiting from bareback - including one of Britain's most respected gay businesses, which has hitherto had a long track record of campaigning for HIV awareness.

There is concern that the popularity of bareback marks a worrying shift in attitudes. Health officials fear it echoes a wider complacency about HIV among a generation which wasn’t even born when the government first employed icebergs to try to frighten people into wearing condoms.

Read more about Madeleine’s report here

Do join Jeremy at 10.30pm on BBC Two.

Lib Dem resignation

  • Michael Crick
  • 5 Mar 08, 11:33 AM

Nick CleggI hear that Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has already accepted one resignation from a front bench member over the issue of holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Prospects: Wednesday, 5 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 5 Mar 08, 10:33 AM

Carol Rubra is today's programme producer. Here is her early email to the production team.

Good morning,

We have lots of goodies in the programme tonight.

Hillary ClintonHillary makes a comeback, but how much of a comeback is it? Peter Marshall and Ben are in Washington. Let's discuss treatment ideas and angles for them to explore and discussion guests.

We have a very strong film from Karen Allen containing new allegations of state sanctioned violence in the recent riots in Kenya. We are bidding for a Kenyan govt response.

We also have Madeleine Holt and Ed Main's film which didn't run yesterday. It's an investigation into the health risks of so-called bareback gay porn - that is films showing men having unprotected sex. Following the investigation, three films have been withdrawn from sale. There have been concerns from within the gay community that performers are being infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Read the article here.

Today is also the day when MPs finally vote on the whether there should be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Any thoughts on a playout?

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