Talk about Newsnight

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After the night before, part II

  • Michael Crick
  • 6 Mar 08, 08:36 PM

Apologies all round today from many Westminster journalists, me included, after we slightly over-stated the size of last night’s Labour rebellion on holding a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. There were, in fact, 28 Labour rebels, not 29. I and everyone else, it seems, had forgotten that the Liverpool MP Bob Wareing has been thrown out of the Labour Party and now sits as an Independent.

In fact, it must be many decades since there were quite so many ‘independents’ in the Commons, of various shades. As well as Wareing, we’ve got the Wyre Forest MP Richard Taylor, and the MP for Blaeneau Gwent, Dai Davies. All three are full Independents.

On top of that, Clare Short is now 'Independent Labour', while on the Tory side, Andrew Pelling and Derek Conway, because of their different misdemeanours, are now obliged to sit as 'Independent Conservatives'.

So six Independents in all.

In addition there’s the strange case of George Galloway, who officially sits as a Respect MP, even though the Respect Party which elected him, and which he led, has now expelled him, and he represents a different Respect Party.

Thursday, 6 March, 2008

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Mar 08, 05:51 PM

British, White and Working Class
Tonight a Newsnight Special ahead of tomorrow's launch of BBC Two's White Season, a series of programmes exploring the white working class experiences of 21st Century Britain.
We have a specially commissioned poll from the polling organisation Populus to gauge white working class attitudes across a range of issues including the vexed subject of immigration. We'll debate the polls findings in the studio with among others the Culture Minister Margaret Hodge, the Talk Sport presenter Jon Gaunt, the RMT union leader Bob Crow and Shaun Bailey a youth worker and prospective Tory parliamentary candidate. We'll also be speaking to the BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Read Jackie Long's article here.

Seroxat - GlaxoSmithKline Accused
Also in the programme tonight a Government review has strongly criticised the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline for not passing on crucial information to regulators about a link between the anti depressant Seroxat and suicidal tendencies in young people. The BBC reporter Shelley Joffre who first broke the story of the problems with Seroxat for Panorama, revisits the controversy and asks what if anything the Government can do.

Gaza Crisis
Our Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban has just been inside Gaza and we'll ask him about the humanitarian impact of the sanctions there and the attempts by Egypt to broker a truce between the Palestinian militants and Israel.
See you later Kirsty

After the night before

  • Michael Crick
  • 6 Mar 08, 05:31 PM

Tim Montgomerie of has written with details of an internet poll of 1,529 Conservative members, asking them:

"If the European Constitution (the Lisbon Treaty) has received Royal Assent and been adopted by the other 26 member states BEFORE the election of a Conservative Government, the Conservative Party should hold a retrospective referendum on the text.

76% agreed with that, and only 18% disagreed.

I can never understand why pro-referendum campaigners, especially Conservatives, don’t make more of the pledge which David Cameron made in The Sun on 26 September last year, in which he said:

“Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations.”

Not much wriggle room there. After all, it was a “cast-iron guarantee” on “any EU Treaty”. Perhaps the only excuse for watering down this commitment is that it was written amidst pre-election fever, and the widespread belief that Gordon Brown would call an election within a few days. Yet it was hardly off-the-cuff, or to an insignificant audience. It was a signed article to the newspapers three million or so readers.

Prospects for Thursday, 6 March

  • Newsnight
  • 6 Mar 08, 10:45 AM

Dan Kelly is today's programme producer - here is his early email to the team.

Good Morning,

Much of the programme tonight will discuss the British White Working Class - are they the forgotten group in British Society? Have they been marginalised by policy makers and the media? Newsnight has commissioned a poll of the British white working and middle classes with some fascinating results.

We have interviews with Culture Minister and MP for Barking Margaret Hodge, and Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP. We'll also have a wider discussion about the issue with some strong guests.

The Government are set to announce a major tightening of the law governing drug trials when the Medicines and Healthcare Regulator reports on allegations that GlaxoSmithKline delayed informing the authorities that Seroxat increased the likelihood of suicide among teenagers.

A very strong report by human rights groups into the impact of the sanctions.

Other stories include ID cards - how the scheme will be rolled out. What other suggestions do you have?


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