BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 16:55 GMT
Friday, 16 December, 2005

Details of tonight's programme
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Gavin Esler's biography


From Gavin Esler:


In 2005, the European Union managed to become a group of 25 countries without a constitution, without a budget and without anything in the way of clear leadership.

At the time of writing they are still hoping to plug one of those gaps and come up with an agreed EU budget.

We'll have the latest - and, if the last Brussels summit is anything to go by, it could be very late indeed.

America and Iraq

One of the biggest stories of 2005 has been the change in American public opinion towards the conflict in Iraq. From being broadly pro-war Americans have become much more sceptical.

President Bush's problems were increased today when it was revealed in the New York Times that the administration may have given the go ahead to spy on US citizens.

Newsnight will have a rare interview with one of Mr Bush's most difficult critics, Pennsylvania Congressman and war hero John Murtha.

He wants US troops out of Iraq as soon as is practically possible. I'll be asking him what exactly he means by that - and whether this week's elections in Iraq may have helped President Bush's case that the country is on the way towards becoming a stable democracy.

Republican spy ring?

And another spying row on this side of the Atlantic. Sinn Fein announced this afternoon it has expelled a member of its party, after alleging that he was working as a British agent.

It's an extraordinary twist. Three years ago the power-sharing agreement at Stormont collapsed after allegations that there was indeed a spy ring at Stormont - but that it was run by Irish republicans.

The three men accused of running this spy ring were only cleared last week. More extraordinary still - one of the men who was cleared is the man who is now accused of spying for the British Government.

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