04/11/2017 The Papers


04/11/2017

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On Meet The Author, our guest is one

of our most celebrated writers.

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William Boyd will be talking about

his new collection of short stories.

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Hello and welcome to our look ahead

to what the papers will be

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bringing us tomorrow.

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With me are Nigel Nelson, Political

Editor at the Sunday People,

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and political commentator

Jo Phillips.

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I have to say, we have been treading

in a minefield slightly, because as

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expected, lots of allegations and

rumours and it's a lot about

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Westminster. Nigel, kick us off with

the Sunday Telegraph. May's aids

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sacked on allegations of Tory

sleaze.

An allegation... Not an

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allegation... We use this word all

the time. But Gavin Barlow, now

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Theresa May's chief of staff, used

to be in the width's office. What

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the Telegraph is saying his concerns

were expressed in the whip's office

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when Gavin Barlow was there. This is

about Michael Fallon. Separately,

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there was the former Chief Whip who

is now the Defence Secretary,

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Williamson, and questions about what

he knew about things that had been

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going on. This is one of the things

they will be looking at when they

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start bringing in a whole new

safeguarding system. The whip's

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office doesn't know things. They use

it to try and pressurise MPs to do

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what they want them to do. Whips

argues they are disciplinarians.

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That will have to change of

Westminster.

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Part of the problem of this is

people who work for MPs and

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political parties have nowhere to

go. They are not employed by the

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Palace of Westminster, the

Parliamentary estate, like the

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cleaners and security staff and

people like that. So if you work for

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an MP in that end he is the person

you want to complain about, who do

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you go to? Do you go to the whip?

BNP? It is ridiculous parliament

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doesn't have a system the rest of us

would take for granted, whether it

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is the BBC, a newspaper office or in

financial services. There will be

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interesting to see how they deal

with this.

Change on Monday. Of the

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seven party leaders, they will meet

to thrash out a new system. That is

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one of the things they will address.

MPs will no longer be in sole

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control of their staff.

What is also

interesting about this is this sense

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of where does the trails stop? The

worry, the next question will be,

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who knew what and why did they not

report it?

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And it's that thing of knowledge is

power. If you know something about

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somebody, as Nigel said, the whip,

they have this information.

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Jo move us the Mail on Sunday.

A wonderful segue. This concerns,

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top Tories bathrobes pass at male

aide. This is a story based on the

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recollections of a former Olympic

rower and conservative activist,

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Alex Storey, who has been talking to

the Mail on Sunday and tells a story

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of how he went out for a drink with

Mr Pincher, was not an MP at the

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time, went back to his flat and felt

deeply uncomfortable about what

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happened. Mr Pincher, now the MP for

Tamworth, said if he had ever felt

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offended by anything he'd said, he

can only apologise. But again, it

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comes back to this whole thing about

power and whips. Because Alex Storey

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said he has decided to speak out

because Mr Pincher was a government

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whip. Politics is about patronage.

That is a real problem. This is

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especially affecting younger

researchers, people who may be doing

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their first job.

People wanting to

get on and wanting to please.

That

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is it, the getting an bit. One of

the problems about the new

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safeguarding system they are doing,

they might be up to protect them in

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the sense against bosses or people

who are paying them too much

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attention. The problem is an awful

lot of these people and wanting to

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be MPs themselves. What they don't

want to do is somewhere in the

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future have a black mark against

them. That will be a very difficult

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cultural change for the Commons to

make.

We were talking through the

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evening about the development, the

resignation of a minister, MSP Mark

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McDonnell. The Sunday Post, that is

understandably because of the

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Scottish angle, the main story.

Showing this is not just Westminster

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but a wider issue.

Absolutely, and I

dare say there will be more to

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follow across the UK. Mark McDonnell

has resigned, saying apparently his

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behaviour may have been

inappropriate. -- Mark McDonald. But

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we don't know whether what it refers

to. According to the Sunday papers,

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another complaint from a

Parliamentary administrative

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assistant about a backbench MSP as

well.

A statement has come in from

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Mark McDonald.

He says it's been brought to my

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attention is on my previous actions

have been considered inappropriate,

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where I have believed myself to be

humorous or attempting to be

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friendly, my behaviour might have

made others uncomfortable. My

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behaviour is entirely my

responsibility, I apologise

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unreservedly to anyone who I might

have upset or who found my behaviour

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inappropriate. Some clarification.

Innocence that is the nub of it. As

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Michael Fallon said when he

resigned, whether or not it was

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acceptable 15 years ago or what

somebody...

Which it wasn't.

Of

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course, but to apologise for

something that is now being brought

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to somebody's attention because it

was inappropriate then... It's very

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difficult, because this whole area

is a minefield of what is now

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appropriate.

And raising that issue

about the nuances about what defines

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harassment.

That's right. I've been

spending a lot of time this week

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talking to people who work in the

House of Commons about where their

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red lines. It's very difficult. Some

people don't like being touched by

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an MP, in which case they will keep

away from that MP, unless it happens

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to be their boss. They may be in a

bar late at night or something like

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that and get proposition, it varies

between people and their experience

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of the House of Commons and how they

deal with it. Some are happy to deal

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with it on their own, some of the

younger ones are not.

It seems a lot

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of people feel, even if they dealt

with at the time, they feel there is

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now a culture where it needs to be

highlighted.

Part of this is about

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changing the culture. We've probably

been there, you and I, Rachel, in

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those situations where it's been

predominantly men, whether in an

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office or other environment and you

feel vaguely uncomfortable because

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of the level of jokes or what they

call banter, I would ban that word!

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It's very difficult to actually be

the person that says, I don't find

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this very acceptable, I find it

uncomfortable. Harriet Harman, who I

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think has done more than any other

single politician in this country

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for the cause of within and women's

rights, has been so often written

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off as a sort of misery guts,

because she has been the person that

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very often is the lone voice that

says this is unacceptable. That is

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easy for people to do when you are

my age, it's not very easy when you

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are 23 and working as a researcher.

The Sunday Express, you talked about

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the issue of the culture of the

Westminster village. There seems to

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be at least one suggestion here and

something that might help change the

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culture, talk us through its.

The

Sunday Express is saying it will be

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a crackdown on the subsidised

drinking in Westminster. There are

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about 30 bars within the place.

Westminster is like a small town,

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10,000 people work for, shops, bars,

restaurants and all those things.

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The drinking culture that has been

complained about for many years, and

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Andrea Leadsom wants to have a go at

it according to the Sunday Express.

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It is an awful lot different than

when I went to the Commons 30 years

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ago, the drinking culture really was

something then. Now it's a lot less,

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but there's a particular bar called

the Tatarusanu sports and cultural

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club. It belongs to the precinct,

researchers drink there, and there's

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a feeling that this is not under

control and a lot of people want to

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see it closed down.

Jo, we are going

to rattle through. The Sunday Times

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claimed to have an exclusive here

with allegations again against

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Damian Green. We will clarify the

moment his response. Say what you

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can about this story.

This is a claim that has been

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strenuously denied by Damian Green,

that a former police chief, Bob

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quick, former Assistant Commissioner

at the net, claimed extreme

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pornography was found when he had

his office raided. It was quite

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controversial, the police raiding

him in 2008. They were investigating

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leaks from the Home Office at the

time. Now it appears that there was

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some pornography, but it also goes

on to say, the material was found to

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be lawful, but one of the

investigating officers who viewed

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some of the images described some of

the material as extreme. One

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officer... Nothing was ever done at

the time, and its lawful, so it

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seems to be a little bit...

Nothing

to do with sexual harassment at. I

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Damian Green has been responding to

these allegations, not least on his

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Twitter account, saying he

categorically denies them, they come

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from the tainted source and amount

to an unscrupulous character

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assassination.

In the paper it says

the claim was untrue and damaging.

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The observer takes us back to

Michael Fallon, which one could say

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is going full circle again. I'm

picking a bit about story, if you

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want to call it that.

Suggesting

that a kiss some time ago might have

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been the final downfall of Michael

Fallon. In fact, generous called

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Jane Merrick and she informed

Downing Street he apparently lunged

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at her and attempted to kiss her on

the lips in 2003 after they lunched

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together. The trouble is, we are

conflating an awful lot of genuinely

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serious things that are going on

with things that are fairly minor.

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She may have been terribly upset

about it, but when you compare with

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some of the other allegations

happening out there, I wish we could

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get everything in a bit more

perspective.

Interesting, it comes

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back again, ties back to those

original stories around Julia

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Hartley Brewer, Michael Fallon and

denying some allegations and

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minimising others, saying they date

from another time. Really saying

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what he thought was acceptable that

he understands is no longer

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acceptable.

It was an acceptable.

And a lot of discussion if it was

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ever acceptable. Jo, we will bring

things to a close with a slightly

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different story, a cartoon that ties

the two together, at the bottom of

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the Sunday Times. Nursery education

and the demise of the nursery rhyme.

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Exactly. I'm sure if we had more

time we could all show off what

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nursery rhymes we remember. But the

chief inspector of schools as

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children don't any longer than no

old-fashioned nursery rhymes like

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the owl and the pussycat or Jack and

Jill. They are not being taught in

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nurseries and schools, which is a

great shame because research shows

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children who can sing a song and

Noah story off by heart are better

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equipped for school. The cartoon

around this story is, slugs and

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snails, the proper version is slugs

and snails and puppy dogs tails.

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They say slugs and snails and

grouping and sexual harassment,

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that's what little boys are made of.

That brings us full circle, with a

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smile but a serious issue as well.

Thank you very much for now. That is

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it for the Papers.

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Thank you Nigel and Jo,

you'll both be back at 11.30pm

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for another look at the stories

making the news tomorrow.

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Coming up next,

it's Meet the Author.

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