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Will Labour stand in by-election?

  • Michael Crick
  • 13 Jun 08, 04:43 PM

So the big question is - will Labour stand in by-election?

I spent much of the morning trying to track down their parliamentary candidate Dan Marten, who is still apparently in his early 20s and a student at Hull University.

When I finally got through to him on the phone my first question was - "Do you support the government on 42 days?"

"No comment," he replied. "You'll have to speak to the Labour Party press office."

"But surely you can tell us whether you support 42 days?"

"No comment."

And so it went.. "No comment, no comment, no comment."

"And do you think Labour should fight the by-election?"

"No comment."

There was a time when parliamentary candidates used to hold opinions and weren't frightened of expressing them.

Friday, 13 June, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Jun 08, 04:37 PM

voting203.jpgEurope's Friday 13th
If Ireland's reaction to the new proposed European Union constitutional treaty were to be a hand signal it would probably involve the extension of the middle finger of the right hand in the air. Ireland says NO. This throws the carefully oiled process by which all the other governments across the continent skilfully have NOT asked their voters' opinions into disarray. We'll be debating what the European Union does next - and perhaps more importantly, why democracy and the EU do not really seem to go together.

David Davis
As if David Davis has not suffered enough - we've sent Michael Crick to his constituency. I have no idea what he's found out, but as always it will be worth watching.

Catching up on some reading in Howden

  • Michael Crick
  • 13 Jun 08, 01:22 PM

crick203.jpgClearly the good people of Howden have the right idea about something. While filming there today I noticed their local library had a copy of an important book about one of Mr Davis's former rivals.

On Newsnight Review tonight

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Jun 08, 12:01 PM

hulk203.jpgWe're planning to review The Incredible Hulk. Ang Lee's art-house version of the Hulk story in 2003 was not a hit with the fans. Will this one be? It'll be interesting to get our panellist (and comic book fan) Natalie Haynes' view.

Coldplay's latest album is out. Our panellist, the music critic John Harris, is a "Coldplay Cynic". Will he be won over by this more experimental album? And have you been?

Michael Frayn once again draws inspiration from 20th Century history in his latest play, Afterlife which opened at the National Theatre this week. He links the turbulent tale of the life of German theatre impresario Max Reinhart with the narrative of the play he famously directed - Everyman. And he makes the bold decision to write half the play in verse. What will the historian on the panel, Tristram Hunt, make of it?

And Bob Dylan is another musical legend who has turned his hand to visual art. An exhibition of his paintings has opened in London? What will our panel make of it?

Do leave your own reviews below - or suggest other things you'd like us to look at in the weeks to come.

How will Murdoch fund Mackenzie campaign?

  • Michael Crick
  • 13 Jun 08, 11:48 AM

mackenzie203.jpgFormer editor of the Sun newspaper Kelvin Mackenzie has indicated that he's 90% certain to stand as a pro 42 days candidate in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election; caused by the resignation of David Davis.

And on the BBC's This Week programme he revealed that his old boss Rupert Murdoch had offered to back his campaign financially:

"Rupert suggested to me that if Labour didn't put anyone up, that I would run against David Davis, if that's the case - and Rupert says he's good for the money... I might well do it," Mr Mackenzie said.

But there is one problem with that.

Mr Murdoch is an American citizen and so under British law is not allowed to contribute funds to any UK election campaign.

Perhaps Mr Murdoch will try to channel his funds through his business - NewsCorp - but that would also be illegal since NewsCorp is also American

I suppose Murdoch and Mackenzie could try and fund the campaign through one of Murdoch's British subsidiary companies. But that surely would make a mockery of our laws for foreign funding of British elections.


Prospects for Friday, 13 June

  • Newsnight
  • 13 Jun 08, 11:07 AM

Today's output editor is Richard Pattinson - here's his e-mail to the production team...

Morning everyone and happy Friday 13th.

We'll have the results of the Irish referendum at around teatime, although may well get a strong indicator earlier. A leading bookie is already paying out for Yes bets but with initial reports of a low turnout that could be very premature. If it's a No, what would that mean for the EU? Who do you want to hear from?

Michael and Stuart are heading up to Haltemprice and Howden following yesterday's extraordinary announcement. Will David Davis be out pressing the flesh today? And will Kelvin MacKenzie really stand against him?

Other stories
Oil. The partial strike is under way - will there be significant panic buying? Plus a meeting in Brussels today over high UK fuel duty rates and fresh oil data out from OPEC.

Oh and it's the 100th anniversary of the tea bag apparently. Why today exactly I can't work out.

Anything else take your fancy?

Richard

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