UK's William Hague attacks Assad's Syria elections plan

 

William Hague read out an agreed statement in which the Friends of Syria vowed further help for Syria's opposition

Presidential elections in Syria will be a "parody of democracy", UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Mr Hague said Syria's government had an "utter disregard" for life, and President Bashar al-Assad decision to call an election for 3 June "disgusted" the international community.

The foreign secretary also announced the Syrian opposition would have its diplomatic status in the UK upgraded.

Syria's three-year conflict has left some 150,000 people dead.

The UK is continuing to push for President Assad to stand down, but he has sought a third seven-year term in the elections.

'Illegitimate'

Mr Hague hosted a meeting of the The Friends of Syria group - made up of Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US - in London.

Afterwards, he said: "We are of course united in our disgust and anger at what's happening in Syria and the ruthless utter disregard for human life."

The group agreed a short communique criticising the decision to hold an election at a time when millions of people were displaced and the bloodshed was continuing.

Mr Hague called on the whole international community to "reject these illegitimate elections", saying: "We've also agreed unanimously to take further steps to... do everything we can to hold the Assad regime accountable for the terror it is perpetrating."

He promised the UK government would increase its humanitarian efforts, with £30m of extra funding.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said this money would be used for "a range of different things including helping the opposition and supporting regional sustainability".

In a separate media briefing, US Secretary of State John Kerry commented on France's claim that the Assad government has used chemical weapons at least 14 times since October.

He said he had seen "raw data that suggests that there may have been... a number of instances in which chlorine has been used in the conduct of war".

Mr Kerry added: "If it has, and it could be proven, then that would be against the agreements of the chemical weapons treaty and against the weapons convention that Syria has signed up to."

"Out of today's meeting, every facet of what can be done is going to be ramped up - every facet. That includes political effort. It includes aid to the opposition. It includes economic efforts, sanctions," he said.

Friends of Syria was set up in 2012 in response to moves by Russia and China to block UN resolutions against the Assad government.

The meeting comes days after UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi stepped down over lack of progress in ending the crisis.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 489.

    The irony is the "Rebels" worst enemies isn't the government now but the extremists who are fighting for their own agenda and using any means to do it. What The FOS group hasn't or/and most likely doesn't care about is even if they overthrow Assad it'll either be Libya all over again with a weak leadership leading to more instability or Islamic extremists calling the shots.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 488.

    We in Syria have an anecdote which tells of a woman boiling pebbles to dupe her hungry children that she is cooking food for them so that they'll stop crying.The Western powers are doing the same to shut up the Syrian people.The choice is very clear: the certainty that Iran will prevaile if the regime wins or the faint possibility that extreme islamists will dominate. The latter are easy to defeat

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 487.

    486 posts, and not 1 to say that we should intervene, or the logistics involved,or those very good statesmanlike reasons why the UK simply MUST take the lead.Time for all of us to give this up,as there is no sway of opinion to tell us how wrong we are to say "No" to yet another proposed foreign war.Let us sit this one out, and say no more aid until the USA, Eurozone, Moslem World, etc.,contribute

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 486.

    "the UK is continuing to push for President Assad to stand down, but he has sought a third seven-year term in the elections"
    So who do they want to replace him the nice chaps the Americans are backing I.s.i.s I believe there called. Hague maybe talk instead of the Sunni slaughter houses butchering the minority christians. It's strange how you don't care for this potential genocide.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 485.

    It's no coincidence that the current enemies of the west represent the last resistence to the global banking cartels and therefore they must go. Covert funding and arming of terrorists resulting in regime change and if that doesn't work, send in the cruise missiles. One way or another, the sovereignty of every nation will be lost. Iraq, Libya, Syria - they all have or had public central banks.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 484.

    The only thing that's a "parody" Mr. Hague is your foreign policy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 483.

    @461.

    The Ukraine does not have a Libyan dictator like Gadaffi or Assad or Saddam. The Ukranian people & parliament are not protesting now against their new temporary leader.

    No the protestors & instigators are simply russian agents trying the same take over tactics as in Crimea with russian troops waiting on the border.

    ISAF should now enter the Ukraine with 5-10 thousand peace keepers.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 482.

    People on hear asking why Hague is against democracy in "other countries" , I am surprised at the question as I thought everyone knew by now that politicians don't want democracy anywhere as most of them would be out of a job

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 481.

    John Kerry throwing another unverified claim of chemical weapons usage , will he again pluck some magical number (1429) out of the sky ?

    When he quoted that magic number last year he was not made to provide any evidence even though no other source claimed such a high (or accurate !) number of casualties/deaths.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 480.

    @478.

    The west (governments & most people) support democracy, not murderous dictators. Assad is a dictator, is it better for a leader to resign or destroy his whole country & hundreds of thousands of people & should the world not encourage Assad's resignation & fair UN verified elections ??

    Many people in the Ukraine wanted a new leader & democracy, not a russian puppet.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 479.

    Quote from William Hague "We are of course united in our disgust and anger at what's happening in Syria and the ruthless utter disregard for human life."

    Would that be the "rebels" who :
    1. Murdered 48 people in a blast near the Turkish border.?
    2. Shot a Times journalist in the legs and beat up him and his colleague ?

    I used the term "rebels" as it seems the BBC refuse to call them terrorists !

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 478.

    In Ukraine a democratically elected president was evicted by a howling mob, just imagine that in UK. We evict Cameron by rioting! In both Ukraine & Syria the "West" now supports illegal " take overs" by (in some cases) terrorists because it suits their anti Russian/Assad policies. Just who are the good guys here??

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 477.

    It has to be proven who has been using these chlorine & chemical weapons, Syria or the rebels ?

    On other world issues & international treaties it seems that many countries are selfishly happy to do nothing & let evil continue. Whereas some countries like many western countries who get accused of being the world's police at least try to do something to uphold international rules & can be proud.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 476.

    @453.

    The elections in Syria will be run by a dictator who has been in power for way to long, do you think they will be fair ? Or is this a case where some countries like Russia don't want fair elections because they are scared of extremists maybe being elected who won't want to be russian puppets?

    The Crimea election was full of mistakes & without proper security & checks.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 475.

    Reckon that this topic has been done to death,every argument has been raised,EXCEPT the "Whys", "Hows" ,"WHO Withs" and "Whens" of any Western Military Involvement, I think it is that anyone of that view can see no reasons,for there are no reasons, to send our Armed Forces into action, and so their silence is golden,though their eyes can see the views expressed here and elsewhere.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 474.

    Yes no one should want to rush in & be involved in wars. This Syria war is also complicated with Russia & Iran heavily involved & why should "onward christian soldiers" get involved & pay the costs & lives & get no thanks for trying to stop the war & human suffering.

    One issue is Syria using chlorine & chemical weapons against the treaty they signed & should other countries just ignore this ?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 473.

    There's 'bad guys' (using an Americanism) on both sides. Siding with one over the other is effectively subsidising terrorism.

    And why are we so arrogant to sit up way up high in our moral ivory embellished towers telling other nations what to do?

    The age of the empire is over. Time to concentrate on putting our own house in order, before involving ourselves (again) in foreign conflicts.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 472.

    I deplore the lack of leadership and moral fibre on the whole question of Syria, the world seems to just wring its hands as thousands die or are displaced. It does not bode well for the future at all. Edmund Burke wrote:
    „All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 471.

    I take it Tony Blair and Gordon Brown .Will be helping Assad .TONY.B has previous on how to get a none elected in the P.Ms Job.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 470.

    Hague is the worst foreign secretary we have ever had. He only wants to be an American poodle and suck up to Saudi Arabia for their oil.

    He just doesn't get it! The British public have said no to intervention in Syria or supporting a rabble of Saudi / US backed Islamists.

    Our politicians have learned nothing from Iraq or Afghanistan.

 

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    11:08: Angela Eagle v William Hague House of Commons Parliament
    William Hague in the Commons

    William Hague gets laughs of his own as he responds to Angela Eagle in the Commons. He says Baroness Kramer's watch gaffe wasn't the best gift of the week. That honour goes to Ed Miliband, who received "the gift of being defended by the noble lord Lord Kinnock". Hague says this is a "sure sign of impending disaster", to the mirth of Tory backbenchers. "His belief that Labour is pursuing the right election strategy will be of great comfort to all of us."

     
  56.  
    11:07: Michael Gove's watch House of Commons Parliament
    Michael Gove in Downing Street

    Angela Eagle, who has presumably heard it from reliable sources, recounts an unfortunate incident during Cabinet. She says proceedings were interrupted by Michael Gove's smart watch as it played "one of Beyonce's latest hits". Eagle then turns this into a dig at Gove's absence from the Commons chamber. She gets a big laugh as she wraps up by saying dryly: "Any watch which is smart enough to play Beyonce can surely tell him when business questions is."

     
  57.  
    11:05: Angela Eagle v William Hague House of Commons Parliament
    Angela Eagle in the Commons

    A recap of business questions in the Commons. It began with shadow leader of the House Angela Eagle reviewing the week:

    • On plain packaging, she suggests the government's last-gasp U-turn to support the measure occurred because ministers realised the Conservatives' election adviser and lobbyist "Lynton Crosby wasn't looking"
    • On the NHS, Eagle highlights "overstretched hospitals" and says "the Tories' pledge to protect the NHS is now in tatters".
    • On the Lib Dems, Eagle highlights Baroness Kramer's unfortunate gaffe while on a visit to Taipei. "She gave the city's mayor a watch, which is taboo in local culture because it suggests the recipient's time is running out. She should have given it to her party leader."
     
  58.  
    @BBCNormanS Norman Smith, BBC News Assistant Political Editor

    tweets: Ed Miliband says case for Mansion Tax getting "stronger and stronger"

     
  59.  
    11:04: Voter registration
    Voting in the 2010 general election

    Labour has already claimed changes to the way voters get their names on the electoral roll mean a million fewer people are registered for the general election. Now the leader of the party's Local Government Association group has urged parliament to intervene. Cllr Jim McMahon told local government paper the MJ that councils had "been asked to do the impossible by the [Electoral] Commission". And he warned: "Whilst the current political focus is on the level of voter registration amongst students for the General Election in May 2015, the real democratic crisis will come in December 2015 when potentially millions of voters will be removed from the electoral register."

     
  60.  
    11:02: Broadcasters on the TV debates

    The BBC's Director General Tony Hall says: "We would not be fulfilling our obligations of impartiality to the voters of Northern Ireland if we were to invite one of the Northern Ireland parties but not all the others, which also have substantial support in Northern Ireland."

    Both the BBC and UTV plan dedicated debates in Northern Ireland involving all the larger parties there. The broadcasters are also reiterating that the debates will go ahead even if any of the leaders refuse to participate.

     
  61.  
    11:00: Breaking News: TV debates

    The BBC, Sky and ITN confirm they will not be inviting Northern Ireland's DUP Party to take part in the main televised debates ahead of the general election. The broadcasters are proposing three debates - one between David Cameron and Ed Miliband, and two adding Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, UKIP, the Green Party, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. The DUP had demanded to be included, but in a joint statement the broadcasters say allowing only one of the Northern Ireland parties to take part "would be unfair and discriminatory".

     
  62.  
    10:59: Clegg's 'Monster Raving Loony' jibe
    Natalie Bennett, Nigel Farage, Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nicola Sturgeon, Leanne Wood

    On his LBC phone-in earlier, Nick Clegg was less than complimentary about the way his coalition partner David Cameron is approaching the proposed TV debates. Referring to the PM's calls for the Green Party, then the DUP, to be included, Mr Clegg said: "I suspect next week he will be worried about the fate of the Monster Raving Loony Party." Here's the full story of his comments.

     
  63.  
    10:43: Fracking fallout House of Commons Parliament

    Labour is going on the offensive on fracking in the Commons, as Angela Eagle criticises the government for not being open enough about its shale gas policy. Environment secretary Liz Truss holds the line: "Fracking has a huge potential to provide jobs and growth and also lower our energy costs, and that is why it's so important that we proceed with this vital technology," she says. The exchanges follow Lib Dem Tessa Munt's resignation over the issue earlier this week.

     
  64.  
    10:26: Election battlegrounds
    election map

    We may not know who will win the next general election but we do know which parts of the country will determine the fates of the political parties. The killing grounds in any general election can be found among that minority of parliamentary constituencies - marginal seats - with a history of being won or lost by parties. Here is a guide to the political battlegrounds of the 2015 general election.

     
  65.  
    10:05: Schools' record defended BBC News Channel

    Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has defended the government's record on schools. Her comments come as new league tables show a doubling in the number of schools where less than 40% of pupils fail to get five good GCSEs, including maths and English. Speaking on the BBC News Channel, Mrs Morgan said the results reflected changes made to ensure academic standards were as rigorous as possible. More students, she said, were getting the core academic qualifications.

     
  66.  
    10:03: Commons clashes over food poverty House of Commons Parliament

    It's environment, food and rural affairs questions in the Commons, where shadow food minister Huw Irranca-Davies says one million people in Britain are going hungry while relying on food aid. He says the government is taking Britain back to the 1930s in terms of spending and attacks the "staggering complacency" of the coalition. Minister George Eustice, replying, says the government has put 1.7 million people back into work and has taken three million people out of having to pay income tax. He points out Labour's energy policy would have frozen prices which have subsequently fallen.

     
  67.  
    Danny Shaw Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: Prison sexual assault data published for first time shows 170 cases in 2013 - highest on record as are violent incidents in yr to Sep 2014

     
  68.  
    09:52: Social capital

    The Office for National Statistics has just released its first ever analysis of 'social capital'. This might sound vague but contains some findings politicians might want to bear in mind as they debate crime, care and charity issues in the election campaign...

    • 65% of people in Britain thought people in their neighbourhood could be trusted
    • 19% of people in the UK reported looking after or giving special help to someone sick, disabled or elderly in 2012/13
    • 19% of people had given unpaid help or worked as a volunteer in a local, national or international organisation or charity in the last 12 months in 2012/13

    The study also found that 49% of people in the UK reported being "very or quite interested in politics" in 2012/13. It's much more interesting in 2014/15, of course.

     
  69.  
    09:43: UKIP defence plans Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News
    Nigel Farage

    The BBC's Robin Brant says UKIP is set to make defence spending a top priority as the party prepares its manifesto. It looks likely that UKIP will be the only Westminster-based party going into the election pledging to spend more on the UK's armed forces. But, as Robin also reveals, there are internal tensions over this issue.

     
  70.  
    09:42: School league tables

    More on the school league table results: This year 330 English secondary schools - up from 154 - failed to get 40% or more of their pupils attaining five good GCSEs, including maths and English. This rise comes after ministers toughened exams and banned re-sits and some vocational qualifications from school performance tables.

    Meanwhile, renowned schools such as Eton, Harrow, Winchester and St Paul's Boys' - among scores of other top private schools - have ended up bottom of the tables.

    Our online story has a map showing school performance in local areas.

    Map
     
  71.  
    09:41: Clegg on PMQs LBC
    David Cameron in PMQs

    Deputy PM Nick Clegg has spent countless PMQs sat next to David Cameron - and has now admitted his expression of concentration is one of boredom, not thoughtful concentration. He jokingly tells LBC presenter Nick Ferrari that he ought to consider finding other ways to amuse himself in the remaining sessions before the election: a book? Yes, Clegg says, adding "Danny Alexander tells me Candy Crush is a great game. I could help with my children's homework."

    The Lib Dem leader - who his advisers are determined to position as an anti-establishment figure despite five years in government - adds, in serious mode: "I think it has descended into the most facile yah-boo kind of politics. The only kind of people who get excited about it are the people in the Westminster village."

     
  72.  
    @PickardJE Jim Pickard

    tweets: Labour aide re Blairite critics: "Get on and help win the election or you can manoeuvre for personal position and caress your own vanity."

     
  73.  
    09:36: Clegg on the TV debates LBC
    Nick Clegg on LBC

    Mr Clegg shrugs off David Cameron's suggestion that the Lib Dems are troublemaking over the TV debates. The blame game, he says, is becoming "ludicrous". He then outlines a carefully-crafted argument about why only those parties which "run things" should feature - and not parties like the SNP and Plaid Cymru. "Just imagine what it's going to be like for the viewing public: by the time everyone's done their one-minute introduction the whole nation will have switched over to Coronation Street."

     
  74.  
    09:32: Breaking News

    Some breaking news now as secondary school performance tables for 2013-14 are published for England. There's controversy over this year's set of data, as the number of secondary schools in England deemed to be underperforming has doubled in a year. It follows confusion over the recognition of the International GCSE qualification.

     
  75.  
    Clegg on Katie Price LBC
    Katie Price

    Nick Clegg is refusing to let the controversy over Katie Price's son undermine his support for the universal nature of support for children with disabilities. Some have suggested the model, rather than the taxpayer, should pay for her son Harvey's treatment. But Clegg doesn't think a case like this changes anything.

    "I would be pretty reluctant to say on the facts of this individual case we therefore throw out the idea of universally treating all children with disabilities with the same kind of compassion and support," he says.

     
  76.  
    @LBC LBC Radio

    tweets: Nick Ferrari asks whether the state should be paying for the transfer of Katie Price's disabled son http://l-bc.co/C1egg #CallClegg

    and

    tweets: Clegg says it's down to the local authority to decide that - even if Katie Price has £30m in the bank http://l-bc.co/C1egg #CallClegg

     
  77.  
    09:24: Tory leadership poll

    In a YouGov poll for the Times (pay wall), London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is edging ahead of five other Tory politicians in a poll on whether they would make a good party leader. YouGov polled 1,655 people on January 27 and 28, with respondents rating the politicians as a "Good leader", "Not a good leader", "Unsure" or "Don't know enough about the person". The other "candidates" are George Osborne, Theresa May, Sajid Javid, Jermey Hunt and Liz Truss.

     
  78.  
    @politicshome PoliticsHome blog

    tweets: .@nick_clegg - "I v much hope nurses would not feel in any way discouraged or intimidated from coming forward" to report NHS failings #LBC

     
  79.  
    The Spectator

    tweets: Europe's crisis is Cameron's opportunity, says @JGForsyth. specc.ie/1yAO3hF

    Spectator cartoon
     
  80.  
    09:02: Murray moments

    A quick look at this Twitter conversation and it's clear some Scottish politicians would much rather watch this morning's Andy Murray match than prepare for Scottish First Minister's Questions.

     
  81.  
    08:56: Benefit fraud plans
    money

    The maximum administrative penalty for benefit fraud that can be offered as an alternative to prosecution could be doubled under government proposals. The House of Commons is going to be asked to approve plans to increase the maximum fine from £2,000 to £5,000. The government says £1.2bn a year is lost to benefit fraud, and that those who commit the crime should "pay a heavy price".

     
  82.  
    08:55: Cost of care BBC Radio 4

    Care minister Norman Lamb is calling on the insurance industry to do more to encourage people to plan ahead for their care needs in old age. His call comes after a BBC investigation found seventeen leading insurance companies currently had no plans to offer suitable policies. Next year, the government will introduce a new £72,000 cap on an individual's care costs and it had been hoped insurance companies would offer policies allowing people to insure themselves for that amount well in advance of any need. Speaking to the Today programme, Mr Lamb said the insurance industry had to "step up to the plate". It had a responsibility, he said, to ensure that the right products were available.

     
  83.  
    House of Commons

    tweets: Commons Chamber sits from 9.30am starting with #Environment, #Food & Rural Affairs Questions. Watch live http://goo.gl/SKhZyE @DefraGovUK

     
  84.  
    08:42: Iraq Inquiry delays
    soldier in Iraq

    Elsewhere on the political agenda, MPs are expected to express their dissatisfaction with the progress of the official inquiry into the Iraq War when they debate the issue in the Commons. The final report from Sir John Chilcot's inquiry, which began its work in 2009, won't be published before May's election. Backbenchers from all parties have been urging officials to explain the delays and give a timetable for publication. Debate is expected to start from around 11:15. Watch proceedings on BBC Democracy Live.

     
  85.  
    08:36: School league tables BBC Radio 4

    Graham Stuart, the Conservative MP who chairs the Education Select Committee, tells the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the comparison between this year and last year's secondary school league tables are indeed difficult to make - but the changes the government has made to the system are "essential" and will ensure a fairer picture of what is happening in schools. The results for schools in England will be published at 09:30 GMT.

     
  86.  
    Chuka Umunna, Labour business spokesman

    tweets: "Entrepreneurs aren't lone wolves: Labour will back them for the good of all" | my piece in today's @CityAM

     
  87.  
    08:15: Murray moments
    tennis

    Politicians on the campaign trail may struggle to make themselves heard by sports fans this morning as Britain's Andy Murray takes on Tomas Berdych in the men's semi-final of the Australian Open in Melbourne. Follow the match online with live video, radio and text commentary or watch it on BBC Two from 08:20 GMT.

     
  88.  
    @RobbieGibb Robbie Gibb, Daily Politics editor

    tweets: On today's Daily Politics...... #bbcdp

    Screen grab
     
  89.  
    08:01: Clegg hails Growth Fund BBC Breakfast

    Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, says today's announcement that £2bn worth of public investment will move from central to regional control was all about backing local people and driving local economic growth.

     
  90.  
    07:57: School league tables
    girl at

    As we've reported, hundreds of secondary schools in England, including many top private schools, could see their league table ratings plummet following a shake-up of the system. They're being published at 09:30 GMT. The government says it has stripped out qualifications of little value, but some head teachers say the tables will be "a complete mess" because of the changes.

    Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College leaders, says it even "calls into question the validity of the performance tables".

     
  91.  
    Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: A "clammy hands" theme to Nick Clegg's interviews. He's told @bbcbreakfast&@gmb about sticky paws of "bureaucrats." http://bit.ly/18xccRz

     
  92.  
    Norman Smith, BBC News Assistant Political Editor

    tweets: Nick Clegg - Never mind the apocolypitc warnings we will confound our critics at the election

     
  93.  
    07:39: Poll tracker
    poll tracker graphic

    The polls will be coming thick and fast in the coming months - keep up to date with the BBC's new interactive poll tracker, which lets you see the results of polls conducted by a range of organisations.

    The tracker also includes a timeline of key events, so you can see how public opinion might have shifted at important junctures in the past five years.

     
  94.  
    07:34: 'Responsible and fair' BBC Breakfast

    Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg says the central question of the election campaign is how to finish the job of securing an economic recovery - and doing so fairly. In Bristol, the deputy prime minister tells BBC Breakfast News that Labour wants to "lurch off" to the left and the Conservatives to the right. The Conservatives, he says, want to make cuts for ideological reasons; Labour wants to stick its head in the sand and not deal with the deficit. The Liberal Democrats would cut less than the Conservative and borrow less than Labour.

     
  95.  
    07:26: Scottish Home Rule
    Ed miliband

    A "Home Rule Bill for Scotland" would be introduced within the first 100 days of a Labour government, leader Ed Miliband says. He will make the commitment during a visit to Glasgow later. The Scottish National Party says any suggestion the bill would amount to real Home Rule is "laughable".

     
  96.  
    07:23: Oversight criticised

    The Department for International Development has been criticised by MPs for "unacceptably poor" oversight of a UK-funded development agency. The Public Accounts Committee says the Private Infrastructure Development Group is beset by "poor financial management". It says there are doubts about the integrity of its investments and a closer eye is needed on its spending - including spending of more than £75,000 on 15 flights between January 2011 and July 2014.

     
  97.  
    07:21: League tables row
    schools

    New league tables for English secondary schools are being published today and not everybody will be pleased with what they show. Scores of top private secondaries expect to be at the bottom of the tables, following confusion over International GCSEs. School leaders say many schools have been "caught unawares" by a shift in which qualifications are recognised. Speaking to Radio 4, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association for Head Teachers, says publishing data on schools is the right thing to do - but they need to be used with "extreme caution", particularly this year.

     
  98.  
    Price of power The Daily Telegraph

    Scrap Trident, ditch Barnett, reverse the cuts - the price of power for Miliband and Cameron in a hung parliament http://tgr.ph/1K8DUzv

     
  99.  
    07:16: Clegg in Bristol BBC Breakfast
    Nick Clegg

    Nick Clegg is in Bristol announcing a new round of local investment. "We need to end the Whitehall knows best culture that has held this country back for far too long," he tells the BBC.

    Under the coalition's Growth Deals scheme, around £2bn a year from Whitehall budgets is being gathered into a Local Growth Fund. The money is then being channelled through 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships, run by councils and businesses.

     
  100.  
    07:15: Don't dismiss the Greens Financial Times

    In its leader column, the Financial Times (pay wall) argues for greater scrutiny of Green Party policies. The German Greens, it says, can claim credit for that country's abandonment of nuclear power generation. And, in the UK, the party's growing popularity puts pressure on Labour to move in a green-ward direction.

     

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