Today, 20/05/2013 Live

20 May 2013 Last updated at 09:37

Monday 20 May

Plans to legalise same-sex marriage return to the Commons later, amid continuing opposition from some Conservatives. A survey of parents has found the majority believe schools have a role in teaching children about the dangers of pornography. And comedy chemistry: what makes a double act work?
  • 20 May 2013 08:54:15


    Our editors this morning were Heba Ayoub and Sareen Bains. Coming up next on BBC Radio 4, Antonia Fraser presents Start The Week. We're back tomorrow from 0600. Thanks for listening.

  • 20 May 2013 08:52:08


    Comments about "swivel-eyed loons", rebellions on Europe and gay marriage and grandees from the past putting their oars in - all suggesting David Cameron's a leader who's lost control of his party. Tim Montgomerie, who founded the Tory grassroots website, Conservative Home and now comment editor of the Times, and political commentator Mary Ann Sieghart, discuss whether David Cameron will be able to restore trust and confidence among his grassroots members and backbenchers.

    Mary Ann Sieghart
    Going on #R4Today with @TimMontgomerie in 5-10 mins to discuss gay marriage, Europe and all things swivelly.
    Tim Montgomerie, founder of Conservative Home, says the squabbling over Europe in the Conservative Party will only end when the people have spoken in a vote.

  • 20 May 2013 08:51:01


    Spanish speakers from Latin America are the fastest growing ethnic population in the United States.  The BBC's North American editor Mark Mardell has been finding out impact they will  have on the USA as a country.

    READ Mark Mardell's feature for the BBC News website:

  • 20 May 2013 08:47:41


    As the fungus responsible for ash dieback continues to devastate ash tree populations throughout the UK and other threats to the countryside continue to emerge, experts convened by Defra are advocating for stronger measures to protect the UK's trees and plants. Chris Gilligan, professor of mathematical biology and head of the school of biological sciences at Cambridge University, explains his view that more stringent controls are needed.

  • 20 May 2013 08:31:23


    Philemon Semere, an Eritrean man who was in the hands of kidnappers in Egypt's North Sinai, has finally been released after seven months of beatings and torture. He has been talking to our correspondent, Mike Thomson, who carried out the initial interview with him and his kidnappers seven months ago.

    READ Mike Thomson's feature for the BBC News website:

    Philemon Semere - the Eritrean refugee who has been freed by kidnappers in Egypt's Sinai desert. Mike Thomson speaks to him at 0830. #r4today
    Philemon Semere - the Eritrean refugee who has finally been freed by kidnappers in Egypt's Sinai desert - covered in deep scars. Mike Thomson reports at 0830.
  • 20 May 2013 08:35:28

    Coming up

    On Radio 4 this morning straight after the Today programme, Antonia Fraser presents Start The Week:

  • 20 May 2013 08:24:00


    One of the most famous comedy duos, Morecambe and Wise, were honoured yesterday with a blue plaque at Teddington Studios. Ingrid Oliver, a British actress and comedian, and Arthur Smith, broadcaster and comedian, examine what makes a great comedic collaboration.

    BBC Radio 4 Today
    Comedian @ArfurSmith says, "the trouble with being in a double act is you only get half the money." #r4today
  • 20 May 2013 07:59:05


    Plans to legalise same-sex marriage in England and Wales return to the Commons later, amid continuing opposition from some Conservative activists and MPs. The Today programme's Tom Feilden reports and Maria Miller, Culture Secretary and cabinet minister in charge of the bill, reacts to news that on Sunday, a letter signed by more than 30 past and present local Tory Party chairmen urged the PM to drop the bill.

    Maria Miller tells @BBCr4today #equalmarriage deals "with issues of freedom and fairness as well and those are Conservative values"

    The bill is all about opening marriage to people who cannot get married at the moment - something the majority of people in the country support.

    - Maria Miller

    Gary O'Donoghue
    Maria Miller tells @BBCr4today civil partnership amendment would fundamentally alter bill and delay it
    The BBC's Norman Smith has been tweeting the latest developments this morning:

    norman smith
    Labour folk say "discussing" response to civil partnership amendment to gay marriage bill
    norman smith
    Tory supporters of gay marriage say do not believe "civil partnership" amendment will kill the bill
    norman smith
    Would Civil Partnership amendment wreck gay marriage bill ? Maria Miller @bbcr4today says "it wd throw up significant challenges"
    Diane Abbott MP
    Wake up to hear Tory MP on @BBCr4today complaining bitterly about #EqualMarriage #groundhogday

    Here are the amendments to the bill being proposed:

    Many of you are getting in touch via Twitter, so far most tweets are in support of same-sex marriage:

    Helen Belcher
    I do object so much to these opponents of #equalmarriage demeaning my marriage. @BBCr4today
    Fiona Laird
    Equal marriage threatens free speech, apparently, according to this Tory MP on @BBCr4today
    Shocked and dismayed by the ongoing controversy over gay marriage. What kind of crappy world are we living in? Love is love. Simple.

    This comment from @hexachordal has been retweeted more than 500 times so far:

    •*´¨`*•T O m•*´¨`*•
    btw if you're against gay marriage, in like 10 years you'll be considered the same as racists, so i'd jump ship and join team equality now

    The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has accused the Tory MPs apposing same-sex marriage of "vile homophobia":

    Peter Tatchell
    David #Cameron good on #EqualMarriage but many #Tory grassroots members & MPs are spewing vile #homophobia against #gay #marriage. Nasty!

    Not all of you are in support of same-sex marriage though:

    Marriage recognises and formalises the relationship that gives continuity to our species. So-called same-sex "marriage" has nothing to do with continuity (as same-sex couples cannot procreate). This attempt to redefine marriage is just a bit of nonsense being pushed by social engineers who simply wish to deny the origin of sex, the sexes and the purpose of sexuality itself.

    John D ✅
    @BBCr4today i dont believe the majority support gay marriage, i recon majority are either indifferent or have other things to worry about
  • 20 May 2013 07:48:51


    The Science Minister, David Willetts and the European Space Agency are expected to announce that Tim Peake will become the first official British astronaut later this morning. Colin Pillinger, famous for the Beagle 2 Mars mission, and Kevin Fong, director of the Centre for Space medicine at UCL, discuss the news that the former army major will have a six-month tour of duty on the International Space Station beginning towards the end of 2015.

  • 20 May 2013 07:47:08


    He may have been the driving force behind the Irish literary revival, but to what extent was WB Yeats more of an English poet? Fiona Sampson, poet and critic, who is speaking at a Royal Society of Literature event about Yeats tonight, and Gwyneth Lewis, former national poet of Wales, discuss Yeats' cultural identity.

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