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BBC TwoNewsnight
Last Updated: Friday, 16 March 2007, 18:51 GMT
Friday, 16th March, 2007
By Kirsty Wark
Presenter, BBC Newsnight

Leaders combo

Presented by Kirsty Wark

Polls apart

Tonight we begin with a political beauty contest (and no, it's nothing to do with David Cameron's hair parting, or as we in Scotland call it, his "shed").

Frank Luntz, the famous American Republican pollster, has conducted another of his focus groups for Newsnight.

This time he asks Birmingham voters, most of whom voted Labour last time, but are now undecided, for their views on Gordon Brown, Sir Menzies Campbell, and David Cameron - and it's not looking good for any of them!

Matty

The inquest into the death of Lance Corporal Matty Hull, killed in Iraq in 2003 when two American A-10 tank buster planes attacked his tank convoy twice near Basra, today recorded a verdict of "unlawful killing".

The coroner said the death was "entirely avoidable" and censured the US military for failing to cooperate with his inquiry.

The US refused requests for the pilots to attend the inquest or be interviewed again by British lawyers.

But it has emerged in a statement by the US Department of Defence that in their own enquiries into the attack they involved the MOD - and handed over all information developed during the investigation.

They say that information was then meant to be handed to the Hull family, with sections redacted for security or private reasons.

So for how long were the MOD in possession of the flight data recording, leaked in the Sun newspaper? The question is, had the Sun not printed the transcript, would the inquest have resulted in a different verdict?     

What to wear

In what sounds like a scene from a movie, a dozen detainees have escaped from a British military prison in Iraq, near Basra, after a clothes swap.

The prisoners, who had been held without charge for the past two years, apparently managed to change clothes with visitors, and walk out of the prison.

It's not yet clear whether the visitors were left behind. We'll be speaking to our correspondent in Basra.     


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