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Reid humbled

  • Michael Crick
  • 21 Jun 07, 06:42 PM

John ReidJohn Reid may be the great bruiser and hardman of British politics, but he doesn’t frighten everyone.

I hear that on the evening of the Scottish elections he and the Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell went for a curry in Wishaw with a few Labour colleagues, ahead of going off to their local election count in Motherwell. After consuming a large main course the waiter asked if anyone would like a pudding. Conscious of the time, they all said ‘No’, with the exception of Dr Reid who specified that he’d like a single ball of vanilla ice-cream. A few minutes later the waiter returned with a bowl containing three balls of ice-cream, and the customary wafer. “But I asked for a single ball,” the Home Secretary complained. “F***ing eat it!” the waiter shot back.

Thursday, 21 June, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 21 Jun 07, 05:59 PM

Sir Menzies Campbell and Gordon BrownA government of all the talents
Really? Gordon Brown's overtures to Paddy Ashdown to join his government might have flattered but ultimately failed to win the former Lib Dem leader, perhaps more importantly though, they have exacerbated tensions within the Liberal Democrats and provoked disquiet on the Labour back benches.

Is this what he wanted? Rather than showing his commitment to building a government of all the talents, was Gordon Brown up to something altogether more machiavellian when he approached the Lib Dem peer? Paul Mason will be on hand to guide us through the murky political waters.

Ask Gordon Brown

Tomorrow in a special programme with Gordon Brown, three of the BBC's specialist editors will cross-examine the in-coming prime minister. You can send us your questions and experiences by clicking here.

Opium and aid
We have an exclusive report into the growing concern in the Afghan government over whether millions of pounds of British aid money is being spent effectively in the fight against drugs.

Opium poppy growing has risen significantly during the last two years, particularly in the areas under British control. Newsnight has discovered that a fund, set up mainly with British money, to pay for alternative livelihoods for poppy farmers has spent hardly any of the money allocated. David Loyn has been to Afghanistan to investigate.

Watch David's report from earlier in the week on the growing political opposition in Afghanistan here.

Red LinesWhile Brown plays Fantasy Cabinets back here in London, Tony Blair is attending his final EU summit in Brussels. This is Blair's big moment; he's long argued that Britain can be at the heart of Europe without ceding power. Can he maintain Britain's red lines and avoid a referendum? And he's doing all the negotiating with Gordon Brown at his shoulder. We've dispatched David Grossman to Brussels where he is following the day's twists and turns.

Tina Brown
Kirsty Wark interviews Tina Brown, the woman who conquered the American magazine industry, about the highs and lows of her career, what she makes of Tony Blair, David Cameron and her new book on Diana.

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