20/01/2014 The Papers


20/01/2014

No need to wait to see what's in the papers - tune in for a lively and informed conversation about the next day's headlines.


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hearing from the British Olympians as they get kitted up to prepare to

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head to Sochi. All in Sportsday coming up in 15 minutes' time after

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the Papers. Hello and welcome to our look ahead

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to what the papers will be bringing us tomorrow morning, with me our

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political commentator Jo Phillips and James Rampton, features writer

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for the Independent. We will have a look at the front pages, starting

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with the fallout of allegations against Lord Rennard, which

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dominates the Independent. The paper carries his photo above the

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headline, I'm the victim! The Telegraph also leads on Lord

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Rennard, the paper also says that fracking for shale gas may not begin

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in the UK for at least another year. Exposure to sunshine can cut the

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risks of heart attacks and strokes, so says the Daily Express. The

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Guardian leads on Syria, saying officials there could face war

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crimes charges as evidence has been found of killings.

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And a number of high-street businesses are set to make their way

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onto the stock market, says the Financial Times.

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The suspension of the Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard dominates several of

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the front pages, and we can take a look at them now. The Independent,

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I'm the victim! Talking about the personal statement he issued today.

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The Daily Telegraph claims Lord Rennard is trying to smear his

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victims. The Daily Mail describes the turmoil as sex pest storm: Clegg

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in crisis. What do you make of the mixture of coverage, Jo? It is

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certainly not the sort of coverage that anyone in the Liberal Democrats

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would want, that is for sure! I am awfully glad I'm not doing that job

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any more! This is not good for the party. I think more worryingly it is

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not good for politics. And I think it is, in some ways, I think it is

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creating a culture, as all of us in the media do to a certain point,

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creating such a storm that I think it is terribly important to make the

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point that, actually, you know politics is and can be a very nasty,

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dirty, ruthless, beastly business. It is not for the faint-hearted. But

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the idea that women going into politics are going to be, you know,

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systematically abused at Westminster, or anywhere else, is

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simply not true. And I think... I know Chris Rennard, I worked with

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him years ago, and I held him then, as I do now, in the highest regard.

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The Lib Dems have handled this appallingly, marrying pomposity and

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fast in a way that beggars description, and there doesn't seem

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to be an end in sight. You have got two blokes shouting at each other,

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Chris Rennard and Nick Clegg, and as the gap between them gets ever

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wider, and the general public are thinking, do you know what,

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politics, what is all that? There are other issues that are more

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important. James? I'm quite interested that the Independent has

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Chris Rennard standing in front of a Lib Dems poster saying, cleaning up

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the streets, and it will take a long time to clean up the streets of the

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Lib Dems at the moment, because they seem to be in turmoil. Loathe as I

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am to say it, I agree with the Daily Mail, the first time I have ever

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said that, it is the worst crisis that has faced Nick Clegg's

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leadership. He really has handled this so badly, and one Lib Dem was

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saying it is two blokes chucking grenades at each other, and when

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they go off, there is a lot of collateral damage. A lot of people

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get hand, that is what is happening. I think it is terribly

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sad that what is a very serious case has become something much wider, and

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because of the way it has been mishandled, has blown up into

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something that is doing serious damage to the Lib Dems, and

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particularly will harm them with female voters, I think. They would

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think, this party cannot even deal with its own former chief executive,

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why would I vote for them?! Going back to what you said, Jo, if they

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have handled it as badly as you clearly both think they have had, at

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what point should they have been doing things they have not thank you

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my well, hindsight, of course, as we all know... That is what we are here

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for! Hindsight and expertise, never getting our hands dirty! It should

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have been dealt with and properly when the allegations were first made

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several years ago. Now, I don't know the exact extent of the

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allegations, and all I know is what is in the papers, the same as we all

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know. But it seems to me that what happened is that it was not dealt

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with. What I don't quite understand is whether the women who are at the

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centre of this then just went away and thought, well, that is

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disappointing, and something that happened to make them, if you like,

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reignite their claims against Lord Rennard. But what seems to be

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missing, Julian, in all of this, you know, since last year, almost

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exactly one year ago this story first broke, but Nick Clegg and

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Chris Rennard, who used to work really closely together as chief

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executive and leader, having spoken. I heard that being acknowledged by

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Nick Clegg on the radio this morning. I was astonished when I

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heard that, and that some point these things happen, you know, there

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is nothing good, ever, about allegations of sexual inappropriate

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behaviour or bullying or anything like that. But we're not talking

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about 15-year-olds, we are not talking about a very vulnerable

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young women. We are talking about grown women in a cup environment.

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Somewhere along the line, wouldn't you have just picked up the phone

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and said, come on, let's sort this out? Now they are both in a position

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that neither of them can move from. Nick Clegg said he had to keep a

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distance, I have to go through the party process. With the juicy's

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report, but I agree with you, Jo, even at the height of the troubles

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in Northern Ireland there were secret talks, people talking to the

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IRA from the government, and you cannot achieve anything in politics

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without talking to those you see as your enemy. And Clegg and Rennard

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have got to find, somehow, some form of mediation, a bit like Relate, go

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to a counsellor to bring them back together. We have got to sort out

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what to do with the kids and a Volvo, there is always a Volvo

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involved! We must sort this out now, or else the marriage is going to be

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destroyed, and the party will be destroyed in the process, and that

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is a disaster for the Lib Dems. And at the root of this are claims that

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these women have gone through some deeply unpleasant thing. If this

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becomes a story about two blokes, which it is at the moment, that

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removes their story and their dignity. It will put off female

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voters. And lots of other people. On the other side of this, I do think

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there are women, other women's issues, if you like, that are a lot

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more serious, that all political parties need to be talking about,

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and I think this is in danger of clouding those. Sticking with one of

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the front pages, the Telegraph has other stories, including a reference

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to the state of the British economy. IMF hails Britain as the

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best in the West, that is the headline halfway down the right-hand

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side. James. George Osborne will be lighting a cigar over breakfast, I

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am sure he does not smoke, but metaphorically putting his feet up

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and saying, I have done a good job. This time last year the IMF was

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accusing him of playing with fire, they were quite trenchant in their

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criticism of him. Today they are saying it is the fastest-growing

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recovery of all, forecasts have been increased, 2.4% this year, up from

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1.9%, paid only in October, that prediction. It is a big jump. I am

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no Tory, but I have to say, these are very promising figures. As a

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British person, I am delighted. It does make the political debate

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fascinating, doesn't it? We saw a flavour of it at PMQs last week, in

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terms of the cost of living against these figures now, and that is how

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it will continue to play. Absolutely, and this is the thing,

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if the coalition can win on the argument on the economy, that is

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fine in the big boys' bit. But Labour are obviously pinching for

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the cost of living, which Rachel Reeves has been doing the shadow

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work and is, getting no coverage on the front pages certainly, but it is

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very interesting, which is the one that resonates with the voters?

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Probably Labour in reality, because it is much more relevant. But I will

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tell you what I do like about this, Olivier Blanchard, like I know him

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terribly well... A good mate of mine, too! Chief economist at the

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IMF. But he was the one, as you said, George Osborne, he said he was

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playing with fire. How very gallant of him to say that he was pleasantly

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surprised, which in a way is an admission of, I was wrong! It is a

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glorious understatement. Like a teacher saying I am disappointed!

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Anti-fracking may not happen until next year. -- fracking may not

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happen. It is not what was promised. 50 wells were predicted this year

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but now the most optimistic we'll see one or two this year.

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Environmentalists will be delighted. It is still highly controversial.

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David Cameron says it could solve our energy needs for the next 50

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years but I believe the research are in can -- the research is not

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conclusive. Does it cause earthquakes in Blackpool? Hold your

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horses, it is not such a bad thing if the pace is slow and we learn

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more about this process. We were just told that it would be thousands

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of jobs and millions of pounds, and local authorities could keep that

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money, so it is not what it was cracked up to be. Or fracked up to

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be! Now, the convention in Switzerland and who will go and who

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will not. According to this, 11,000 dead prisoners in Syria. These seem

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to have been ratified by a significant group of fairly reliable

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people, reading this piece. Absolutely, an eminent group of

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three lawyers, one the chief prosecutor for the special court in

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Sierra Leone, one brought the prosecution in Liberia of Charles

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Taylor. An eminent body is presenting this quite shocking

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evidence. I will not go into all the detail because it will put viewers

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off. Let's just say, some horrific thing happened to these people, that

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is beyond doubt. You tell a share in, Georgia, beyond any shadow of a

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doubt. -- mutilation and torture. It is another shocking indictment of

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what President Assad's regime seems to be doing in that country. And

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what on earth is the international community going to do with this? It

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seems to have been going on for two or three years now and still these

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apparent atrocities are happening and the international community has

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not intervened. This may be something that takes people into

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thinking we must do something. It seems like an absolute turning

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point. It seems to be perfectly valid because the photographs were

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taken by an official photographer who defected and smuggled them out.

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You talk about intervention. It will not change the follow-up question.

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OK, we need to intervene, but what does intervention look like? That is

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what we have been talking about for three years. I blame George Bush.

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Obama is terrified of intervening and causing another Iraq. That went

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spectacularly wrong and is still going spectacularly wrong and so the

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President does not want to do it again. But in the meantime, the

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humanitarian issues? Yes, that is just why he doesn't want to

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intervene. And now this gesture of Nicolas Anelka's a few weeks ago,

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which we are told has caused West Bromwich Albion's is sponsored to

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say thank you and good night at the end of the season. -- sponsor. I was

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at Upton Park when he made this gesture. Did it inside a lot of

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supporters? I did not notice it. I was more disgruntled by the goal. I

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did not hear anybody talking about it. Nobody was asking what it was

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all about. If we think the Lib Dems are bad at investigating, the FA can

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take some beating! They have toured the Lib Dems how to do it, haven't

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they? -- they have shown them how to do it. He is still being picked to

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play. He might play tonight. The chairman of an antiracism campaign

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is saying there should be disciplining. Why has West Brom

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taken so long to do it? The vote will not be renewing their

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sponsorship and I am not surprised. -- Zoopla. It is horrific and in

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France it is causing controversy. So why is he still playing? I will just

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phone West Brom now! Time has beaten us on this occasion. Thank you to

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both my guests. They will both be back at 11:30pm for another look at

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the stories making the news tomorrow. Stay with us. At 11

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o'clock we will have further analysis of the political wrangling

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following the suspension of the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard.

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