Clegg: 'No political interference' in Ofsted appointment

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There will be no political interference in the appointment of the next chair of schools regulator Ofsted, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said.

He was asked by Labour MP Lisa Nandy to rule out appointing Conservative Party donor Theodore Agnew to the position, during departmental questions on 11 February 2014.

Mr Gove has declined to rule out Mr Agnew as a replacement for outgoing head Labour peer Baroness Morgan, who claims she has not had her term renewed because of a "determined effort from Number 10" to appoint more Conservatives to key public body posts.

Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg stressed that all appointments are made on merit.

He told MPs: "The panel that is being established to put forward candidates for that new Ofsted position will be entirely independent and will only be asked to put forward candidates based on merit.

"So there will be no political interference in the creation of a shortlist of candidates whatsoever."

Earlier in the question session, the deputy prime minister updated the House on the government's response to the floods, and paid tribute to everybody "working hard around the clock".

There are still 16 severe warnings along the river Thames and in Somerset.

Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, said it was "hard to imagine the distress at seeing your home wrecked by flood water".

She called on Mr Clegg to ensure that people are not "left in the lurch and get the ongoing help they need" when the flood waters recede.

MPs also put questions to Attorney General Dominic Grieve and his team, on the information-sharing protocol for cases of child abuse, increased digital working by the Crown Prosecution Service, and domestic homicide cases.

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