BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Thursday, 8 December 2005, 17:38 GMT
Thursday, 8 December, 2005
Jeremy Paxman

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From programme producer Liz Gibbons

British hostage

The kidnappers of the British peace activist, Norman Kember, have extended the deadline for his execution by 48 hours today.

It's not clear whether yesterday's extraordinary appeal for his release by the radical Muslim cleric, Abu Qatada, had any impact on the changed deadline.

But today - another extraordinary appeal from an unlikely quarter. In the course of an interview for Newsnight, someone else with good reason to criticise the allies' policy in Iraq, has made his own appeal for Norman Kember's release, which he hopes Arab satellite channels will also run. He'll tell us exclusively why he's decided to make this intervention. At the time of writing this we cannot reveal his identity.

Brits in Basra

Our Diplomatic Editor, Mark Urban, and camerawoman Julie Ritson, have made a fascinating film from Southern Iraq.

They've spent a week with the First Highlanders Regiment - and watched them try to win hearts and minds on the street, and defend their base from attack.

They also witnessed attempts by the troops to build trust with the Iraqi police force - no mean feat given that the Head of the Police in Basra recently said he could only count on the loyalty of a quarter of his men.

Cameron's first U-turn?

David Cameron pledged that one of his first acts as leader of the Tory Party would be to withdraw the party's MEPs from the European People's Party, an umbrella grouping in the European Parliament, which is too pro-European for the tastes of many Tory MPs.

It was a pledge that brought a number of more Eurosceptic MPs rallying to the Cameron cause.

But some Tory MEPs are now threatening to leave the Tory party if they are forced out of the EPP.

The new Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is now suggesting the pledge may be put on hold - for a very long time.

How does this go down with MPs for whom this pledge was a pre-requisite for support for the new leader? We are finding out.

Do join Jeremy at 10.30pm.


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Appeals for the release of hostage Norman Kember

Straw calls for hostage release
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