25/02/2014 The Papers


25/02/2014

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. Presented by Clive Myrie.


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Transcript


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That's all coming up in Sportsday in around 15 minutes.

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Hello, welcome to our lock ahead to watt papers will bring us tomorrow.

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With me, Hugh Muir, from the Guardian and Deborah Haynes the

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defence editor at the Times. Let's look at the front pages now.

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Start with the telegraph, it leads with the ruling on the Hyde Park

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bombing. Victims of IRA bomb cheated of justice by a monumental blunder,

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it says. That sentiment is echoed on the front of the Metro. The Mail

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leads with a different story, that of a vulnerable man who was dealt a

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fatal blow after he complained about a cyclist on the pavement. The

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victim's mother said the four-year sentence handed down was a sick

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joke. The Express has a health story on the front page. There could be a

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new powerful injection to ease arthritis pain.

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We begin with the story that's dominated the news today, victims of

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IRA bomb cheated of justice by a monumental blunder, this in relation

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to the Hyde Park bombing in 1982. Yes, it's quite a reminder of the

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horrors that took place during the conflict and it's quite a puzzling

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ruling that's been made, that's only really been made public today about

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how Mr Downey was, by mistake, sent a letter basically an amnesty letter

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as part of the peace settlement, following the Good Friday Agreement

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that meant that he had been - no charges were going to be brought

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against him. He took that letter in good faith, thought he'd been

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cleared, came to the UK to go on holiday to Greece last year, was

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arrested and they've been trying to tussle at the Old Bailey, whether or

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not he could be prosecuted. The judge ruled that it would be a

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threat to the peace settlement and would be unfair to carry on with the

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prosecution. Obviously, he's never been found guilty of anything, but

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he's never stood trial. He's always denied the charges. This is what the

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judge said, he said this last week, it's only today we can talk about

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the details of the case. He said that the need to prosecute those

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accused of serious crime was outweighed by the public interest in

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holding officials of the state to promises they've made in full

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understanding of what is involved in if the barringin. The -- in the

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bargain. The suggestion is that this letter was sent erroneously to this

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man, but the IRA partly decommissioned their weapons on the

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understanding that these letters would be September out and this man

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-- sent out and this man came to the UK on the understanding he wouldn't

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be prosecuted. There are two issues. On one hand, you can understand as a

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matter of policy a deal might be made whereby people are told they

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won't be prosecuted and they will be part of the deal that's brought

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peace to Northern Ireland. On the other hand, if he was never supposed

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to be pa of that deal, if he wasn't one of those people designated as

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being on the run and therefore bundled into that deal, if the

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letter was sent in error, I think it's a bit a struggle to say, well,

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why has the judge decided to deal with it in this way. Now it's going

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to be a transparency issue. I think there's now a job for the media and

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for politicians to really explain this to the public. I think the

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public are going to have a lot of difficulty understanding this. And

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the families as well. Especially, part of the problem is that not a

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lot of people knew about this deal. I mean, apparently the suggestion is

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that it was a deal cooked up by the, or sorted out by the British

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Government and Republicans and unionists had no idea what was going

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on. Exactly. There will be questions asked about who the other people

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were who've been granted this amnesty. And also, how it could be

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that the letter was obviously sent in 2007, I think it said, and it

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seems as though the error was realised but why that wasn't

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communicated and they knew that there was a warrant out for his

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arrest at the time. So it seems as though, something's gone badly

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wrong. It says that the Police Service for Northern Ireland have

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launched an investigation. We will have to see what that discovers.

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What the public think ises going to be key here -- thinks is going to be

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key here. We will want a die section of the judgment, disection of the

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judgment, because we need to understand the legal thinking of the

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judge dealing with this case in the way he has. We also need a detailed

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explanation from the Crown as to why they felt that they could not or

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should not continue an appeal. Because, it's because they've

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dropped the appeal that this story has reached the public domain today.

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Clearly, they must have had reasons to think that Mr Justice Sweeney's

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reasoning was logical and sensible. They will have to explain that as

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well. The public are going to want to faux the details. As you say,

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transpatience -- want to know the details

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The vast majority of people will agree that the Good Friday Agreement

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was a good thing and is a good thing and is cementing peace in Northern

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Ireland. But this makes people wonder - well, what else was part of

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the deal to get Good Friday going? What else happened behind-the-scenes

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that we don't know about? You can see this as being sensible as a

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matter of political poll soy. Someone may -- policy. Someone may

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make a decision that for the greater good, someone may have done dreadful

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things but we need to move on. Ly what they decided. You may make that

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decision. But does it make legal sense? I think that's what we have

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to find out. What is the legal reasoninger as opposed to the policy

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reasoning. I think that's right. It's exactly that point of that

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balance that you talk about of the public interest against the

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integrity of civil servants. That doesn't sit very comfortably. I

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wonder whether this is the end of it. The judge has made his ruling.

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There are other courts and higher courts. One wonders if particularly

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the families of those affected won't take it further. I suspect this will

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run and run. Sticking with the telegraph. Flood defence. Yeah, this

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is a really interesting story. Obviously... Money's no object in

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dealing with the floods. We heard this from the Prime Minister. In his

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wellies. He's been at pains to say under the coalition Government,

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spending has been increased or, you know, has been more than in the past

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and there haven't been cuts. There's a study that's been done by UK

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Statistics Authority, which contradicts this claim and says that

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the budget for flood defences has been cut by nearly a quarter of a

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billion pounds, so ?250 million. That supports a study by the House

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of Commons library, which also found that over the period, the four years

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up to 2015, less money has been spent on flood defences and

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apparently this whole issue is going to be debated in the Commons

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tomorrow. I imagine it will be an uncomfortable time for the Prime

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Minister. They will have to find this money, after what he said. It

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will be pretty embarrassing. I was in the Commons just a couple of

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weeks ago when they were talking about the figures here. There was a

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ding dong about how much was being spent and whether or not there have

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been cuts and whether or not what the Government was spending were

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only making up for the cuts they had already made. One has to say the

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Government seems to have problems in terms of statistics. This isn't the

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first time that the UK Statistics Authority have taken them to task.

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Got their numbers mixed up. Iain Duncan Smith' department was taken

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to task by the Statistics Authority earlier this week. It becomes a

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thing about credibility. Particularly on an issue like the

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floods that obviously and quite rightly made very many people angry.

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In all those Conservative constituencieses. -- constituencies.

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This is not a headline the Prime Minister will welcome. There it is.

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That's the Daily Telegraph. We will go to the inside of the

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Metro, teenage pregnancy falls again to a record low. Yeah, it's a good

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story. We seem to be making some headway. Obviously this is something

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that's been concerning policy makers for some time. What we're told now

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is that the conception rate stands at 27. 9 births per thousand for

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girls aged 15 to 17. That's good. These are figures from the Office

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for National Statistics. There's a caveat, the decrease does not bring

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us in line with other western European countries, such as the

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Netherlands, that's only six six births. So far behind in the first

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place. We seem to be retrieving a very bad situation, but it still

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isn't great. I don't know if any of the other papers have picked up on

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it on their inside pages, the Metro has this. It's an interesting story

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because obviously, while you have got the drop in the teenage

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pregnancies, there's this massive rise in older women getting

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pregnant. So it really seems we're having a big shift to enable women

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to maybe have more of a career before they start becoming parents

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and I think it's a really positive news story. Any explanation as to

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why this is happening, why we're getting better at sorting this issue

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out? It's to do with education. That's a big factor. And because

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there's more opportunities for women, young women, you know it's

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not just about leaving school and having a family straight away.

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There's more chances available to you. And also, greater protection

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with contraception, obviously, talking about terminations, so

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there's just more education out there. That means young women are

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better informed to make choices. We're getting over the squeamishness

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we've had about dealing with this properly in schools. Because there's

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always been a reticence to tackle it head on. I think in some areas of

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the country this has been such a serious problem they've had to do

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something. Hopefully, this is the result of that public health work

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and education work that we're doing now. OK. Let's go on to the Express.

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Harman won't say sorry in child sex row. A story that is really dogging

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her, her husband, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt. Clearly what

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happened today when she expressed regret, but still didn't apologise

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for her role in the national council of civil liberties and its link, has

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been an attempt to lance the boil, if you like. She will be looking to

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see if that has happened. Perhaps be heartened it's not on the front of

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the Mail again. It's interesting they haven't gone for it, they've

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another front page we will look at. They've gone with another story.

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What will be important for her is to see if Labour circles the wagons,

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because one of the things that happened at the weekend even Labour

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leaning commentators were saying you have to deal with this, address

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this. Will they be supportive? If they are she may be able to get

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through this and the Mail will move to something else. She will be

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looking to signs as to the dynamic now. Ed Miliband has made it clear

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he gives her a pun -- 100% his support. That's not like a football

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manager being told we give the manager 100% and they are out the

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next day. They sometimes do politicians, and then something else

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comes out and that support dilutes to about 95% and down to 60. I don't

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think that alone is enough to give you superconfidence. I don't

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understand why she can't just say sorry for the association. I very

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much regret, it's that one step down. It's what politicians do. They

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never just say - speak simply and say sorry, OK, you know, for the

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association part. It's what the Daily Mail would want her to say.

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That would be the end. It's not as if she's done anything wrong. Would

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it? The suggestion is that - the Mail is going after the NCCL, it's

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an organisation those on the right perhaps didn't fall in love with

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back in the day. A civil liberties o. If Harriet Harman is to say

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sorry, potentially reflecting on the work she did. They're able to attack

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senior Labour politicians and also to attack liberty, I mean the Mail,

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I think with what Liberty have done, that organisation isn't being

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attacked. It's really between the politicians and the Mail. The fact

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it's The Mail is crucial because there is no way that Harriet Harman

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or Jack Dromey is going to want to make a fulsome apology even if they

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felt that way because it's The Mail. I find it difficult to see Ed

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Miliband parting company with Harriet Harman, not least because

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it's The Mail. All right. The Mail very brief, a few seconds. A

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vulnerable man's life ended by a punch after he complained about a

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cyclist on a pavement and he got four years in jail. It's an

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horrendous story. A split second moment ending a life. This poor man,

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he has as spergers -- aspergers syndrome and was keen on rules. The

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cyclist was on the pavement and he objected. The guy who did it is only

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given a four-year sentence and could be out in two years. We will discuss

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this further in an hour's time when you are back to look at more of the

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stories behind the headlines here. Stay with us for that and stay with

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us, because at 11.00pm we will have more on that police error that led

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to that man being accused of the Hyde Park bombing actually not

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facing prosecution now. That's coming up. Now it's time for

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Sportsday. Hello and welcome to Sportsday. I am

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John Watson. Here is what's on the way: Manchester United are beaten by

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Olympiakos in the first leg of their last 16 tie in the Champions

:15:59.:16:00.

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