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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Friday, 7 April, 2006
By Robbie Gibb
Producer, BBC Newsnight

David Cameron
Our poll will make unhappy reading for David Cameron
Presented by Kirsty Wark

Conservatives

We begin tonight with a huge headache for the Conservatives. Research conducted for Newsnight shows that David Cameron has not had the desired effect on Conservative fortunes - perhaps the opposite.

According to research carried out by Professor Colin Rallings at Plymouth University for our programme, the Tories share of the vote will be DOWN 4% in the forthcoming local elections, from the score they achieved in local elections two years ago.

This will be David Cameron's first big electoral test and our figures would suggest that his emphasis on the environment, the end of Punch and Judy politics, and a more metropolitan attitude has not been what voters wanted to hear.

Or perhaps it's evidence to support the party chairman Francis Maude's admission this week that the voters like David Cameron, but not (yet) the party. I'll be speaking to the shadow chancellor, George Osborne.

Iraq

Saddam's statue was toppled three years ago this Sunday. Latest figures - for March - show the second lowest month for US casualties since that day, but civilian deaths are far higher than they were during those euphoric early days.

Today dozens of people were killed and more than 100 wounded in the bomb attack at a shi-ite mosque in Baghdad.

Are US forces increasingly maintaining a distance, leaving the Iraqis to their own war? Mark Urban has been analysing the change.

Bird flu

We are still awaiting the results of tests on other birds, most of them swans, suspected to be inflected with H5N1, following the positive result on the dead mute swan found in Cellardyke in Fife.

If there are further cases does that alter the government's "proportionate" response in any way? Our Science Editor, Susan Watts, will have the latest.

And if we've whet your appetite for things Latin American this week, Radio 4 will be embarking on its own exploration of the region next week - see the Radio 4 website for details.

SEE ALSO:
Dozens die in Iraq mosque attack
07 Apr 06 |  Middle East



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