15/03/2018 The Papers


15/03/2018

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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Transcript


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Hello and welcome to our look ahead

to what the the papers will be

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bringing us tomorrow.

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With me are Martin Bentham,

Home Affairs Editor

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at the London Evening Standard

and Jason Beattie, Head of Politics

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at the Daily Mirror.

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Good to have you with us. Let's

bring you up to date on what the

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front pages are already saying.

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The Telegraph claims the nerve agent

used to poison Sergei Skripal

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and his daughter Yulia

may have been planted

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in her suitcase.

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Excuse me.

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It pictures a British

nuclear-powered submarine,

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deployed in the Arctic.

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The Metro has the headline Putin

the Pariah after Britain gained

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the support of the US,

France and Germany for blaming

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Russia on the poisoning

of the former double agent

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and his daughter.

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The FT also has that story -

it pictures Theresa May

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who today visited the scene

of the poisoning in Salisbury.

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The Express looks at the World Cup

in Russia, questions being faced of

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a mass boycott. The Guardian his

talking about Jeremy Corbyn,

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fielding an article saying at his

own MPs are rushing ahead of the

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evidence over the poisoning. The

Mirror's front page has a picture of

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Poppi Worthington, the terrible case

of a young child who died of a

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six-year. -- of asphyxiation.

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Let's begin with The Metro. I am

trying to work out if it is terrible

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make-up on Vladimir Putin, and I

presume he is not singing?

Serious

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story, but this is almost comical.

It is almost like a flippant attempt

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to hit back by printing pictures of

this notoriously vein, unpleasant

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character, but very vein, looking

ridiculous. He's giving a election

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rally, he will win because he has no

competition. It looks like he is

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singing, but the serious story on

the front, and elsewhere in the

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papers, is the joint declaration by

Britain, France, America and the

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Germans, in opposition, denouncing

him for the nerve agent attack in

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Salisbury.

The Financial Times

expands this by saying that Nato

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powers are also lining up. The

secretary-general of Nato giving

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strong support for Theresa May and

their position. How deep does this

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consensus go, reacting to Russia? Is

everybody going to hold the line?

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What we have got is better than what

we were expecting, France overnight,

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an agent phone call this morning

between Theresa May and Emmanuel

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Macron. They have the words of

solidarity. They got the fact that

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they are agreeing that Russia is

culpable and this is an act on

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sovereign soil. This is important.

What we haven't got, and what was

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partly missing from Theresa May's

statement, is what we are going to

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do about it. They can condemn, but

is that as far as it goes? The show

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of solidarity is going to be

welcome. Even though we have a

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difficult relationship with the

United States, even though we are

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leaving the European Union, we still

have these international ties. Do we

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need to go further in terms of can

we get sanctions, allies in Europe,

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very important's

I mean, for the

next year we have to do this, he is

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still the foreign policy organ of

which we are part?

It is, to an

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extent, although we also have Nato

and the Americans. Previously, the

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Litvinenko killing, there was

reluctance among some of European

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partners to take action. Since then,

we have had the Crimea and Ukraine,

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much more vigorous action is being

taken. The story today, the

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Americans have unveiled fresh

sanctions relating to interference

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in their election. There is already

quite a lot of sanctions in place

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against Russians. I think the first

problem is to identify exactly who

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to add to any sanctions list, and

the second problem is, after you

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have done that, to identify whether

those people then have international

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consensus to support that. That will

potentially take a little bit of

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time, because it is not a

straightforward thing. We have got

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to operate reasonably, within the

rule of law, and find a proper

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justification for imposing

sanctions.

The justification could

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well come out of the sort of stories

that the Daily Telegraph has on the

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front page, the nerve agent planted

in the daughter's suitcase? She had

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come to visit dad from her home in

Russia. What do you make of that?

I

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problem is that I am not a professor

of chemicals, and not an expert. I

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am not up on the dark arts of

assassination. I don't know how this

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would work. This is a highly toxic

agent that they have used, Novichok.

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Visit transportable? So, you plant

it in the suitcase. That is it

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transportable. Possibly you put it

in a cosmetic, did then know she was

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going to go to this location, Coogee

open it earlier? Anybody could be

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harmed by that. It seems a very

imprecise way of trying to take out

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or attempt to take out your

attempted target. It does not stack

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up for me. There are all sorts of

theories we could speculate on.

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Maybe this is the one the Telegraph

has chosen to go with.

The truth is

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that we don't know and there has

been a wall of silence from the

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police and intelligence agency

sources about the detailed

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investigation in this particular

circumstance. Part of that is

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understandable because they want to

identify exactly who the culprits

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are. They don't want publicity

necessarily getting in the way of

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it. It makes it difficult to stand

up exactly what has happened. The

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Telegraph says intelligence agencies

now believe, it seems to have senior

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sources telling it that, it may turn

out to be correct or may not be.

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Does that, in some ways, just fired

the apparent caution of Jeremy

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Corbyn, picked up on the front of

the Guardian, and appears to have

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caused such pranksters among his

MPs? Saying, yes, we can go for

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Russia, but we need to follow where

the evidence leads? -- caused such

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consternation.

There seems to be a

contradiction at the heart of the

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article. As you said, the wounds

within the Labour Party were quite

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dramatically reopened by the

response. A lot of his MPs are on

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the same page in terms of domestic

policies, but they have this big

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rupture with the leadership on

foreign policy in particular. What

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he hasn't done is try to heal those

wounds in any way. That is quite

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interesting.

Pressure, even from his

Defence Secretary, Shadow Defence

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Secretary, saying it was Russia and

we have to follow...

Yes, and the

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contradiction was that he was saying

yes, it is right we expel diplomats,

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it is right we take tough action,

but I'm still not convinced it was

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necessarily the Kremlin behind this.

That is what is causing such an --

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angst. Distrust of the security

sources, for understandable reasons

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because we got it wrong on Iraq and

the weapons of mass destruction.

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Secondly, because it is, in terms of

national security, is he being seen

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as weak on this? It could play badly

with Labour supporters in

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traditional areas.

I'm sure it will

do. The difference between this

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article and the Daily Telegraph's

claim about how it happened, the

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Porton down scientists have

identified it as a particular nerve

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agent that was manufactured in

Russia, could only have come from

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there, according to these people,

they are not actually the

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intelligence agencies, they are

something different. I think we got

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to have faith in what their

conclusion is. If that is the case,

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there are two scenarios, but even

the most generous one is that the

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Russians have lost control, and if

not them, they are showing contempt,

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a lack of desire to cooperate and

explain the circumstances.

The nerve

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agent story takes up almost three

quarters of the front page of the

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space available on the Guardian, we

also have Theresa May receiving

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flowers in Salisbury. This other

story, which might have got a bigger

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treatment from the Guardian, this is

the HSBC, seeming to be the worst

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offender in terms of the gender pay

gap?

So far! It is quite a tough

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race at the moment. The BBC did

quite good running, then we got ITN,

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even worse. And Trinity Mirror has

come in, not as bad as ITN, and then

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HSBC seems to be determined to take

the crown of the worst possible gap,

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quite remarkable, considering that

banks probably had the money to do

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this.

There should be able to do

something to close the gap. This is

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an interesting story, if we go back

to the FT. The Unilever moved to

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Rotterdam. It seemed an obvious one

for pro and anti Brexit forces to

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lock horns over, but it's not as

simple as that?

The FT has had a go

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at it, Theresa May, Herb Brexit row

of business as usual has been

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dented, they say. Unilever have said

it is nothing to do with Brexit. It

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seems to be more to do with takeover

rules and so on. Secondly, there

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were some fairly apocalyptic

warnings from Unilever before the

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referendum about serious

consequences if we voted to leave.

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In this case, although there is a

significant thing happening, in that

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the headquarters is moving, the

joint headquarters is moving to

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Rotterdam, at the same time...

It is

the managers and book-keepers but

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not the makers?

The jobs are staying

here, and Unilever says it is

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manufacturing two main things...

Marmite still being made in Britain.

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You can have the same...

You can't

have both things on the same

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sandwich.

Doesn't appear to be

Brexit related.

They start reporting

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about corporate taxes, going to the

Netherlands instead of Britain. I

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think Brexit is a subsidiary factor.

We will pass over the Google story,

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apparently they are spending tens of

millions of pounds on think tanks

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that Baggott policies, not perhaps

hugely surprising, that is what

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companies do. The most intriguing

thing of all, it is a long time

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since I saw JFK on the front of a

British newspaper, why?

They have

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recreated a speech he would have

given before he was shot with

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technology.

This is where he was

going when he was shot?

They have

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managed, through combat engineering

and so on, to analyse his speeches

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from before and recreate his work

pattern, basically give this speech.

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This is a fascinating piece of

historical re-enactment. You now

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have this ability to actually create

a video of a politician, a serving

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politician, getting them to say

whatever you want. The fake news,

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the disinformation...

In elections.

Misleading the public, you have

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these things go viral on the

internet, it is very, very high. I

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can also see the downside, while I

like this.

On the upside, are there

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people that are recent enough, that

there will be film and video of

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them, that you would like to hear

speaking again?

Yes, there will be,

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of course. That would be absolutely

fascinating. I tend to agree with

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you, the dangers of it probably

greater in the modern era of fake

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news spreading.

First, the famous

speech, the body of a man... That

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was actually written after she said

it. All of my illusions are being

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shattered.

Jason and Martin, thank

you both very much. Pleasure to have

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you with us. That is all from the

papers tonight. You can see the

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front pages online as soon as we get

them on the BBC News website. It is

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all there for you, seven days a

week. If you missed the programme,

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you can watch it later on BBC

iPlayer.

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Thank you Martin Bentham

and Jason Beattie.

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Goodbye.

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The

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