Handing back to Allegra

I have handed back the reins of the Newsnight political editorship to Allegra Stratton, who has returned from maternity leave and will be blogging the latest stories from Westminster.

But you'll still find me presenting Newsnight some nights of the week.

Read full article Handing back to Allegra

No-notice Ofsted inspections: Who said what and when?

On Monday's Newsnight, Ofsted chief inspector Michael Wilshaw told us he had called for unannounced inspections when he first took up his post, but that the Education Secretary Michael Gove had rejected the idea because of concerns among head teachers.

Cue a furious response from the Department for Education, who said Mr Gove had never been a roadblock and Sir Michael had made a mistake.

Read full article No-notice Ofsted inspections: Who said what and when?

Gove and May in 'Pickles sandwich' as MPs debate 'Trojan Horse'

Theresa May, Eric Pickles and Michael Gove
Image caption The press gallery dubbed this a "Pickles sandwich"

We're fairly used to unanswered questions on Newsnight, but the scene in the Commons on Monday afternoon broke new ground.

Home Secretary Theresa May appeared on the front bench to answer an urgent question from her shadow, Yvette Cooper, on her "conduct with government to tackle extremism".

Read full article Gove and May in 'Pickles sandwich' as MPs debate 'Trojan Horse'

Queen's Speech 2014: Some things might be neither in nor out

Houses of Parliament

The Queen's Speech will have several very well-trailed elements to it - the pensions reform for example, which will allow savers to pool their funds in a Dutch-style collective megafund.

And the help for pub landlords, which allowed Nick Clegg and Vince Cable to sit chummily in a pub on Tuesday morning, almost as if there hadn't been a coup staged against one by the other's best mate this time last week.

Read full article Queen's Speech 2014: Some things might be neither in nor out

What might Euro elections mean for Scotland's referendum?

EU flag and Saltire

"When it happens," one Labour MP tells me, "you lot will all be looking in the wrong direction."

We are discussing Labour's fortunes in the light of the new polls that show the Conservatives overtaking for the first time in two years.

Read full article What might Euro elections mean for Scotland's referendum?

Free schools, dark whispers and an adviser hits back

Nick Clegg, Michael Gove

Ask what this row over free schools is about and you'll get three different answers.

Nominally, it's about whether Education Secretary Michael Gove has "raided" the basic needs budget for primary school places to prop up funding for free schools.

Read full article Free schools, dark whispers and an adviser hits back

Legal challenge over 'ban' on books for prisoners

We've learned this evening that the Ministry of Justice is facing a legal challenge over the controversial policy that became known by the shorthand "prison book ban".

Its proper name is the Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme (no wonder they found a nickname) and it came into force in November. It was part of a crackdown on the kind of small packages prisoners were allowed to receive - many of which, the inmates argued, included books key to their rehabilitation.

Read full article Legal challenge over 'ban' on books for prisoners

A policy to test tenants of the House

The policy hasn't even been spoken aloud yet, but already it's been hailed by the Tories as "Venezuelan-style rent controls".

Interesting, that. They'd love to paint Ed Miliband as a Hugo Chavez-style communist.

Read full article A policy to test tenants of the House