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Page last updated at 10:53 GMT, Monday, 23 March 2009
Today: Monday 23 March 2009

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to offer transcripts for our programme interviews. Today is broadcast live and the running order is subject to change.

The BBC has learned that the organisation created to defend standards in public life is considering holding another inquiry into MPs' expenses. The shadow Business Secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has said the Conservatives are committed to cutting inheritance tax and there is no split within his party. And was the BBC partly responsible for the fall of the Shah of Iran?

0709

Employment Minister Tony McNulty says he has done nothing wrong by claiming expenses for the house where his parents live. It is in his London constituency but is only eight miles from his main home. He says he will no longer claim the £14,000 a year for the property. Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, discusses whether the rules need to be changed.

0712

Barack Obama has been talking about the challenge the United States and her allies face in Afghanistan. Ian Pannell, the BBC correspondent in Kabul, examines what the president faces in Afghanistan.

0716

The last few bodies are being taken from Poland's largest ever mass grave from World War II. From Polish town of Malbork, in a corner of Poland that was previously part of Eastern Germany, Europe correspondent Jonny Dymond explains the importance of the event.

0720
Business news with Adam Shaw.

0725

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has been outlining ideas for dealing with toxic assets. Rabobank's senior currency strategist, Jeremy Stretch examines the plans.

0730
Sports news with Garry Richardson.

0733

The House of Lords has added an exception to a gay-hate offence, which protects people who discuss or criticise sexual conduct, or urge others to refrain from it. But the Ministry of Justice has added a clause to the Coroner's and Justice Bill which, if passed, will repeal this exception. Justice Secretary Jack Straw said that there were no circumstances in which the right to freedom of speech could justify homophobic behaviour. The Rev Steve Chalk and Derek Munn, from Stonewall, discuss details of the bill.

0744
Today's papers.

0748

The people of an Australian town, almost destroyed by bushfires, have started returning to their homes. Marysville has been sealed off since 7 February by arson investigators and police. Correspondent Phil Mercer in Sydney analyses the situation.

0748
Thought for the day with Rev Dr Colin Morris.

0750

A report on government databases from the Joseph Rowntree Trust suggests it is perfectly rational to be worried about the way the government collects and holds information. Its conclusions will be welcome news to people like Stephen Clarke who was arrested last September after taking pictures at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester. He was released without charge, but his DNA remains on record. Professor Ross Anderson from Cambridge, who wrote the report, and Michael Wills, the Minister in the Justice Department, discuss the society need to have an open debate.

0810

The employment minister Tony McNulty says he did nothing wrong in claiming £14,000 a year in expenses for his parents' home in his constituency of Harrow. Only last month the Committee on Standards in Public Life decided not to look at MPs' allowances; it is understood they have now changed their mind and it is thought there will be an inquiry in the autumn. BBC political editor Nick Robinson analyses the case. Conservative shadow leader of the house Alan Duncan and Labour MP Don Touhig, chair of the committee that advises on pay and allowances, discuss if the regulation on expenses should be tighter.

0818

The death of Jade Goody gets a huge amount of coverage in the morning papers - the Sun has the story on its front page and has a 16 page pullout on the subject. The paper's managing editor Graham Dudman and Madeleine Bunting discuss the phenomena of Jade Goody and what role the media have played in her life and death.

0825
Sports news with Garry Richardson.

0829

The Today programme challenged a marketing firm to come up with a viral advertisement about the programme. So did it work? How far did the video get? And was it really "viral"? That last question has prompted a lot of debate online. Matt Golding of Rubber Republic, the advert creator and Emily Bell, director of digital content at The Guardian, who argues it didn't really go "viral".

0834

The Royal Society of Medicine is holding a conference on autism. Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, a GP, and author of Defeating Autism: A damaging delusion, explains the focus of the conference.

0839
Business news with Adam Shaw.

0842

The people of Iran will be electing their next president within three months. Evidence has emerged that the BBC faced almost daily allegations of bias against the Shah of Iran shortly before he was forced from power by the 1979 revolution. Document programme on Radio 4 has had access to previously secret papers released under the 30 year rule. Mike Thomson has learned allegations were even made by Britain's own Ambassador to Tehran who called for the BBC's correspondent there to be replaced.

0850

Police are increasingly using "heavy-handed" tactics against protesters, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has warned, saying it was concerned the right to protest was being undermined by "autocratic" police measures. Roger Gray, a former firearms officer and Robbie Gillett, an environmental campaigner, analyse the report as the police prepare to mount a huge operation ahead of the G20 Summit.

0855

Should UK political parties look at Barack Obama's internet campaign and rethink how to attract voters, who would otherwise have no interest in politics? Will Straw, from the Fabian Society, and Conservative Home editor Tim Montgomerie discuss if political parties in the UK should scrap membership fees and harness the power of the internet too.




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