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Kiran Stacey

Ed Miliband clearly has a new strategy for PMQs.

He began with some warm-up questions about the cost of the Afghanistan war, which he ended with a nice line about Cameron being “very crass and high-handed” when telling army chiefs, “You do the fighting, I’ll do the talking”. These were easily enough dealt with by the PM (although he did have an interesting line about wanting the strategic defence review to be implemented more quickly – more on that to follow.

But he scored a more direct hit when he began asking about DNA records of people who have been arrested for rape, but not charged. Read more

Kiran Stacey

Headlines about the government performing a U-turn on reduced sentences for offenders who plead guilty early risk distracting attention from the hole in the budget that has just been created by the move. It is a policy that throws up more questions than it answers, some of which are:

1) Where will the extra £130m come from? Government sources suggest it will be from probation and courts services. But where, and what effect will this have? Clarke was pretty vague in the Commons:

The savings are not coming from any particular area. We are achieving more efficiency. Half is coming from administrative costs. If there are any new policies I will come forward with them.

If half are coming through administrative costs, where is the other half coming from? Read more

One of the major issues facing renewables developers in the UK, especially those of onshore wind farms, is fighting through local planning problems. The British public (to generalise) has never been overly keen on the sight of mammoth wind turbines cluttering the green and pleasant land.

Previously, the answer to this has been national policy statements, which set out the national need for new energy infrastructure, so bypassing one test carried out by local planning authorities.

But the problem has never been that local authorities weren’t convinced by the need for nuclear plants or wind farms, but that local opposition was too strong.

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Jim Pickard

The thousands of people who have signed up to a Raoul Moat fanclub on Facebook are clearly moronic on any level. But what exactly is David Cameron trying to achieve today by asking the website to take down the offending page? Read more