Ed Miliband hits back at energy firms over prices plan

 

Ed Miliband: ''We've got to tackle the cost-of-living crisis''

Ed Miliband would "take action" against energy companies if they defied a Labour government by raising prices ahead of his promised freeze.

The Labour leader has pledged gas and electricity bills would not go up for 20 months if he wins the 2015 election.

It has been welcomed by consumer groups angry at price hikes over recent years, but the "big six" suppliers warned it could have serious consequences.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey, a Lib Dem, said it risked "the lights going out".

Mr Miliband told the BBC the UK had "a market that isn't working" and, as the row between Labour and the energy firms escalated, he dismissed them as "unreliable witnesses" after they claimed possible blackouts.

He has written to the big six suppliers warning that without changes, taxpayer-funded guarantees to energy firms might not be sustainable.

The plan for a freeze on household and business energy bills between June 2015 and the start of 2017 was the stand-out announcement of Mr Miliband's party conference speech on Tuesday.

'Overcharging'

The Labour leader argued firms had been "overcharging" customers for many years and millions of households would benefit from the temporary cap on prices at a time when finances were under acute pressure and many were struggling to heat their homes.

Labour says the move will save average households £120 a year and businesses £1,800.

When the lights went out - the BBC reports on California's energy blackouts in 2001

Mr Miliband insisted he wanted energy suppliers to be successful and to continue to invest in new capacity to supply the UK's long-term energy needs.

But he said "public consent" for these arrangements depended on consumers getting a fair deal and that could happen only if the energy market was totally restructured to separate firms' generating and retail operations.

'Patently absurd'

Speaking to BBC News he said: "I've written a letter to [the energy companies] this morning saying there's a crisis of confidence in the system.

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"It's time we fixed it and they can either choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. I hope they choose to be part of the solution."

Rebutting claims that to protect their profits, suppliers would merely put their prices up ahead of Labour's freeze, Mr Miliband said he would "make sure this is a genuine freeze that works for consumers".

"If we have to take action to make sure that happens, we absolutely will."

The party has rejected suggestions the cap, which could cost energy firms £4.5bn, will endanger much-needed investment in new plants, saying suppliers should be able to absorb the cost of the freeze out of recent profits.

Responding to suggestions the policy could lead to energy blackouts, Mr Miliband accused the industry of spreading "scare stories".

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna added the claims were "patently absurd" and "nonsense" put about by the large energy companies.

Since 2007, gas bills have risen by an average of 41% in real terms, while electricity has gone up by 20%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Energy profits

The "big six" - British Gas, EDF, E.On, npower, Scottish Power, SSE - made total net profits of:

2009: £2.15bn

2010: £2.22bn

2011: £3.87bn

2012: £3.74bn

This has contributed to overall industry profits of £2.15bn in 2009, £2.22bn in 2010, £3.87bn in 2011 and £3.74bn in 2012.

But suppliers say prices have gone up to cover their rising environmental and social obligations and in response to commodity price rises - sums paid on wholesale markets.

Speaking at a fringe meeting on Tuesday evening, a senior British Gas executive suggested such a direct price intervention could "threaten energy security in the UK".

"If we have no ability to control what we did with the retail prices, and that (wholesale price volatility) was to happen again, it would mean we are selling products at significant amounts of a loss and that would threaten energy security in the UK," said Ian Peters.

Asked whether it could mean "the lights could go off" he replied: "I think that is a risk."

'Economic ruin'

Energy UK, the trade body representing the six largest energy firms, has described the price freeze as "superficially attractive" but suggested it could bring a halt to future infrastructure projects.

Chief executive Angela Knight said: "It will also freeze the money to build and renew power stations, freeze the jobs and livelihoods of the 600,000-plus people dependent on the energy industry and make the prospect of energy shortages a reality, pushing up the prices for everyone."

Centrica's boss warns that the plan could lead to firms' "economic ruin"

And the chairman of Centrica - British Gas's holding company - said a firm unable to control either its costs or its prices was potentially in danger of "economic ruin".

"We are all concerned about rising prices and the impact on consumers, but we also have a very real responsibility that we find supplies to make sure the lights stay on," Sir Roger Carr said.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: "Fixing prices in this way risks blackouts, jeopardises jobs and puts investment in clean, green technology in doubt.

"Ed Miliband made a significant contribution to tackling climate change with the 2008 Climate Change Act. But he is putting this all at risk with his ill thought through plan which will put off investors in low carbon power generation."

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme whether a Labour government would step in if a firm went bust, Mr Miliband said: "That's not going to happen."

But he added: "Of course if there was a major shock, companies could make their case."

Energy regulator Ofgem, which Labour plans to replace after 2015, has suggested legislation would need to be passed to change pricing arrangements.

In his speech, Mr Miliband also promised Labour would build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020 and enfranchise 16 and 17 year olds.

 

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  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 26.

    Of all the people to stand up to the buccaneering energy companies who have been bleeding the people of Britain with their unscrupulous hunger for ever-larger profits!!
    Good for Ed Miliband.
    Even if the Con Party bullies try to rip him down about this, there is no denying that things cannot go on as they are. This is definitely a debate that needs tto be had

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 25.

    Cant see how this plan is workable, great eye catcher to win votes, but it will never work. Big 6 would rather turn off the power than lose money.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 24.

    Labour will always be the party of tax and spend and ill thought out Government controls..it is in their DNA. The problem with these soundbite policies is there is no substance behind them

  • rate this
    +25

    Comment number 23.

    The energy companies are mainly there for one reason to feed their shareholders. The supply of gas/electric is a cash cow and needs limiting. I sense the sign of panic amongst them that they fear it is coming to an end. Good on you Miliband. Lets have a freeze on rail fares as well.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 22.

    @1 the unreliable witnesses are the fatcats who profit from grossly inflated energy prices. The ones who drive people across the country into fuel poverty. The ones who have nothing to gain but a lot to lose from a price freeze.

    Miliband may be wrong on a lot of counts but he's bang on saying you can't trust the energy companies.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 21.

    Absolutely complete dribble from a man who is as in touch with day to day life as a Mongolian Yak. He can't and shouldn't make stupid promises like this and if you're dumb enough to believe it's possible then you're stupid too! If we're seriously considering these two clowns (Ed and Ed) leading our country I'm seriously considering emigration. LABOUR ARE A JOKE!

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 20.

    Just Labour short-term Labourpolitics? 2 years fixed whoopee! Energy firms will just raise prices the day Labour got into power. Unfortunately the economy is screwed, the party is over & we have to take some drastic & painful measures to get rid of the deficit before we even start paying off the debt pile. We need marco, game changing economics not little £120 gifts to buy votes off the gullable

  • rate this
    +18

    Comment number 19.

    Disgusting scare tactics. They make billions and will continue to do so. They never invested before any price freeze and past on billions they made to greedy shareholders.

    Re-nationalise now.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 18.

    It is a shame the beeb can't get anyone on the news this morning to put a counterpoint to Ed's assertions. I suppose that everyone is having a lay-in, apart from Ed of course.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    Exactly what Milliband is suggesting was done in California, guess what happened, they had blackouts! Our energy supply is on such a tightrope anyway, just 2% extra capacity to use, this proposal would cripple investment in the sector and blackouts will follow, its a certainty.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    Just when you think that politicians can not get any worse... you wonder if they are the product of a secret lab somewhere - designed to bring as much misery and damage as possible - seriously I think it is time to rethink our whole political system before its too late...

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 15.

    The electricity companies have been ripping off the UK consumers since they were privatised. I hope this price freeze will be the first step to re-nationalisation of all the sector.

    Why does the EU let them off with charging higher prices in the UK than on mainland Europe?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 14.

    There are no ifs and buts about it.
    Mr Milliband will definitely get my vote only when he promises to make pink elephants fly.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 13.

    we just had 13 years of these jokers......not once in 13 years did they do a thing about energy companies ripping customers off.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    Labour has "learned its lesson on the economy", "will not flinch over the economy". etc, but we can have this, that, and the other, for nothing?
    What have I missed?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 11.

    This won't happen, it can't happen. We live in a free market, you can't just have state control of one market but not another.

    Typical politician soundbite. Tired of being treated like fools.....

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 10.

    According to the news report last night on the subject there is only a 2% surplus energy production. Lets take into account Labours plan to build 1000s of new homes and wanting to get businesses up and that 2% may not last long.

    Lets trust the industry to tell us about their sector, not a politician.

    I may not agree with any energy bill increase but the sector needs further investment.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    Amazing how politicians are practically trying to buy votes. More shocking is the fact that they already have very reasonable explanations as to why none of their promises will be delivered.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 8.

    How many (if any) of the energy companies have employed a debt funding model, taking the cash out of the company, and relying on profits to pay the interest (and avoid paying Corporation tax)? That model did for Woolworths, amongst others. Those companies would definitely suffer with a price freeze.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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  48.  
    PoliticsHome blog

    tweets: SNP MP Pete Wishart on Iraq: "I do believe this is going to go all the way to The Hague. This was an illegal war."

     
  49.  
    @RebeccaKeating Rebecca Keating, BBC parliamentary reporter

    tweets: . @Ed_Miliband tells the BBC @David_Cameron needs to "man up" and agree to televised election debates #GE2015

     
  50.  
    Labour and immigration The Daily Telegraph
    Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage

    After Labour MP and mayoral hopeful David Lammy attacked his own party's campaign leaflets for trying to "out-UKIP UKIP" on immigration, Telegraph columnist Dan Hodges has joined the debate, describing the leaflets as "an aberration" and accusing Ed Miliband of hypocrisy over immigration.

     
  51.  
    14:20: Tough at the top London Evening Standard Newspaper
    Nick Clegg

    Joseph Watts at the Evening Standard reports that one (unnamed) senior figure in the Liberal Democrats has claimed today that the party must win at least 45 seats in the general election if Nick Clegg is to stay on as leader: "The respected figure argued that fewer would make it impossible to join a governing coalition, predicting that the Lib Dem leader would 'fall on his sword'."

     
  52.  
    14:08: Breaking News

    The Ministry of Justice confirms the missing material - which it says went missing after being sent in the post - relates to three investigations that examined the roles of police in the death of three members of the public. Two inquiries relate to fatal police shootings of crime suspects in London - Mark Duggan and Azelle Rodney. The third relates to the 1997 murder of Robert Hamill in Northern Ireland, which campaigners allege involved the collusion of police officers. In each inquiry there were witnesses, including police officers, who were given anonymity because of possible threats to their safety - but officials have refused to confirm whether any of the missing documents include personal information relating to these witnesses.

     
  53.  
    14:05: Breaking News

    The Ministry of Justice says data from three semi-secret inquiries has gone missing on discs lost in the post.

     
  54.  
    @DArcyTiP Mark D'Arcy, Today In Parliament correspondent

    tweets: Congrats to @Plaid_Cymru Westminster leader Elfyn Llwdd just promoted to the "Hon Member for Wales" in @HouseofCommons debate on #Chilcot

     
  55.  
    14:01: Blair-Bush Iraq notes to be revealed
    George Bush and Tony Blair

    As MPs debate the Iraq inquiry in the Commons, the chair of the inquiry Sir John Chilcot has said former prime minister Tony Blair's notes to former US president George W Bush will be published with only "a very small number of essential redactions". That's a big shift from last year, when only "quotes and gists" were set to be made public.

     
  56.  
    13:58: Migrant voters The Guardian

    Over at The Guardian, Robert Ford and Ruth Grove-White of migrant support group The Migrant's Network write that with immigration set to be a key debate in the election campaign, "remarkably little is known about the millions of migrant voters who will be eligible to cast a vote".

     
  57.  
    13:42: Miliband in Scotland

    Ed Miliband is in Scotland to make a promise: an incoming Labour government will bring forward a home rule bill within the first 100 days. Mr Miliband is campaigning in Glasgow with the Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy to win over wavering voters who may be attracted by the SNP. He announced plans to change the party's constitution in Scotland to allow Mr Murphy to make decisions on devolved issues. "It is absolutely for Jim to make those decisions," Mr Miliband said. His visit comes as bookmaker William Hill makes the SNP odds-on to win more seats in Scotland than the Lib Dems will across the whole of the UK.

     
  58.  
    13:35: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament
    Elfyn Llwyd in the Commons

    Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd says the big problem with the Iraq inquiry was the questioning. He would have liked a judge-led inquiry with a counsel doing the questioning, as was the case with the Leveson inquiry. "Something must be done urgently, otherwise this parliament will be the laughing stock of the world."

     
  59.  
    Leader effect? Democratic Audit

    tweets: What effect does a leader's visit have on a party's vote in a constituency?

     
  60.  
    13:31: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament

    Former attorney-general Dominic Grieve says the delay to the report is "very regrettable" - and the most concerning bit is the delay since mid-2014. "I find it strange we should now be in February 2015, and it seems the Maxwellisation process [providing witnesses with an opportunity to the bits of the report in which they're mentioned] is going so very slowly." He thinks it should only have taken "a few months".

     
  61.  
    13:30: Iraq inquiry protest
    Stop the War protest

    As the debate on the Chilcot report rages inside parliament, Stop the War Coalition protesters are demonstrating outside.

     
  62.  
    Should Labour move Left? YouGov

    tweets: YouGov analysis of what it might mean for Labour to abandon the centre ground.

     
  63.  
    13:22: Iraq inquiry debate House of Commons Parliament
    George Galloway in the Commons

    George Galloway, in one of his rare Commons appearances, is speaking - well, actually shouting - in the Iraq inquiry debate. "The world is hurling to disaster," he tells MPs. "The decisions made in here [the Commons] on the basis of the arguments made by the government at the time has torn Iraq and and its region asunder. It has... incalculably inflated the dangers of extremism and fanaticism." He says the failure of Sir John Chilcot's inquiry to report is akin to "Pontius Pilate" because it is "washing our hands of something that is bleeding us at home and abroad".

     
  64.  
    Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: both barrels from @georgegalloway in debate on #chilcot delay, ultimately blames 'this parliament' for failing to hold lab govt to account

     
  65.  
    Undecided? Vote Match

    Tweets: Launch nears for Vote Match online quiz to help you find the party that best matches your views.

     
  66.  
    @Number10gov Downing Street

    Tweets: PM: I've asked for update on our heavy snow contingency plans. Gritters are out & people should listen to warnings #WeatherAware @MetOffice

     
  67.  
    13:02: Iraq inquiry delay House of Commons Parliament
    David Davis in the Commons

    In the Commons, Conservative backbencher David Davis begins the debate on the Iraq inquiry. MPs are expected to express their frustration that Sir John Chilcot's report hasn't been published yet. Davis says: "No-one in this House knows why this delay has occurred, not even the minister. There's not enough information in the public domain." He doesn't believe the witnesses are foot-dragging, though - instead Davis suspects the clash between Chilcot and Whitehall is at the heart of the problem.

     
  68.  
    12:59: Energy price wars

    Labour, facing criticism from the Tories for sticking to their energy price freeze policy in the face of falling prices, has suggested the government is to blame because it refused to give the regulator the power to cut bills. "They now have nobody else to blame for the failure of the energy companies to pass on the full savings from wholesale cost falls to all consumers," shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint says.

     
  69.  
    12:55: Nigel Farage misses his pint Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Nigel Farage in the pub

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who has been steering clear of booze as part of 'Dry January', says his experiment in teetotalism hasn't been a success. "I don't feel any better at all," he declares on the Daily Politics. "I find getting to sleep harder, not easier. I have to say, on Sunday I shall be rejoining the drinking classes - with a pint of bitter."

     
  70.  
    12:49: Labour & the SNP

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has refused to rule out joining a coalition with the Scottish National Party after the general election. Pressed twice to say he would not share power with the nationalists, Mr Miliband said he would not "get into talk of coalitions and deals". Asked on Tuesday whether Labour would consider forming an administration with the SNP, shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: "No. And I don't think anybody is suggesting any suggestion of a deal with the SNP at all."

     
  71.  
    12:45: Nigel Farage on Greece Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Nigel Farage on the Daily Politics

    Nigel Farage, interviewed by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics, predicts Greece will leave the euro by the end of the year. A new anti-austerity government was sworn into office in the country on Tuesday. But the UK Independence Party leader says agreement between EU leaders and new Greek PM Alexis Tspiras on how the country should pay its bills is unlikely. "I don't think he's the kind of guy that's frightened of anything. I don't see him backing down," Mr Farage says. And this poses a problem for the German chancellor, he adds. "How can [Angela] Merkel allow a huge level of debt relief without the same being extended to Spain and Italy?"

     
  72.  
    12:36: Britain & the EU Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Carl Bildt, former PM of Sweden

    Former Swedish PM, Carl Bildt, is pushing for Britain to remain part of the European Union. He tells the Daily Politics that the big-picture situation - especially the situation in Greece - is playing into David Cameron's hands, as Britain seeks a change in its relationship with the EU. "I think not only [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel but others want Britain in," Mr Bildt says. "If you look at some of the big issues in Europe at the moment, they're moving very much along UK lines." He singles out free trade, the single market and "anti-bureaucracy" as the top issues.

     
  73.  
    12:31: Joan Bakewell's verdict Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The veteran broadcaster and Labour peer is on the Daily Politics giving her take on the very public battles between Labour's big beasts. "Their comments are" - she pauses - "intended to be helpful". But she doesn't think the comments from figures including former health secretary Alan Milburn and ex-minister Lord Hutton will really damage leader Ed Miliband's cause.

     
  74.  
    12:27: Now on BBC Two Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The Daily Politics - just a smidgen delayed by Andy Murray's victory in Melbourne - is now under way on BBC Two. You can watch it live on the iPlayer.

     
  75.  
    12:22: PM on school league tables Carole Walker Political correspondent, BBC News

    Today's league tables showing that more state secondary schools in England are underperforming has prompted reaction from the PM. School heads say government changes to the league table system render this year's results a "nonsense". But according to the prime minister's official spokesman, David Cameron says the changes are part of the government's approach to raising standards, which includes changes to the curriculum, inspections and a toughening up of exam standards. Speaking for the PM, the spokesman adds that "there's no apology whatsoever for this policy on raising standards".

     
  76.  
    Claire Hayhurst, Press Association reporter
    Cameron

    tweets: Prime minister #DavidCameron at Exeter Science Park in #Devon

     
  77.  
    12:08: DNA debate
    Chromosomes

    MPs are set to debate a hugely controversial measure next week: government proposals to permit scientists to use three people's embryos to create a child. The move, which aims to cure diseases resulting from flaws in the power-producing mitochondria within embryos, is being criticised by pro-life campaigners. If MPs give the green light, they say, Britain will become the first country to legalise human genetic modification in the world.

     
  78.  
    12:06: New cash for Gurkha homes
    Gurkha protesters in 2007

    The Ministry of Defence won't have forgotten the anger of Gurkhas who protested against the way they were being treated in 2007, pictured here. Now it's been announced the government will spend nearly £1 million building 32 new homes for Gurkha veterans. The package of support comes after an inquiry into Gurkha welfare and also features a new fund to compensate Gurkhas who were discharged as a result of marrying a non-Nepali. Anna Soubry, the veterans minister, says the move shows "the government is willing to address previous injustices".

     
  79.  
    12:05: Tennis triumph
    Andy Murray

    Tennis fans can relax - the recorded coverage of Scottish First Minister's Questions on BBC Two will now be delayed until 12:15 GMT - when the tennis will switch to BBC One. Follow the match online with live video, radio and text commentary as Britain's Andy Murray takes on Tomas Berdych in the men's semi-final of the Australian Open.

     
  80.  
    Tim Reid, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: Did the Scottish party leaders do their prep for FMQs after all-or stick with the #MurrayBerdych game? live shortly bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-s…

     
  81.  
    Nigel Farage, UKIP leader

    tweets: I'll be on @daily_politics in a matter of minutes. Tune in now...

    (Editor's note: The programme is being slightly delayed by the Australian Open Tennis)

     
  82.  
    12:00: Churchill's funeral re-broadcast
    Richard Dimbleby Richard Dimbleby commentating on Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral for the BBC

    Fifty years to the day, BBC Parliament is re-broadcasting the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill. Introduced by Sir Winston's grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, the historic broadcast runs for a little over four hours. Fourteen reels of film, complete with impeccable commentary by Richard Dimbleby, have been restored, joined and re-mastered. The showing starts at 0915 on Friday 30 January.

     
  83.  
    11:54: Westminster 'trip' continued... Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    "We heard of a plan to knock over the [BBC] cameraman and cause the House to be suspended, and then they would blame it on us and suggest we shouldn't be there," the documentary's reporter said, adding that parliamentary staff had let them know about the plot and had managed to prevent it from happening. He said there were "very few" opponents to the documentary being filmed at Westminster, but "in Parliament every day there are cunning plans; it is a place made for plotting and conspiracy".

    The first episode is broadcast on Tuesday 3 February on BBC Two at 21:00 GMT.

     
  84.  
    11:49: Westminster 'trip' Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    MPs plotted to knock over a BBC cameraman in the House of Commons - in the hope of stopping a new documentary on life at Westminster. The documentary maker Michael Cockerill told reporters about the plan at a press screening of his new series Inside the Commons, which starts on BBC Two next week.

    "I'm not fingering anyone by name," Mr Cockerill said, when asked who was involved in the plot. But he did say they were "right wing Tories... what Downing Street know as the berserkers - the naughty bench." He declined to name the cameraman who was the subject of the apparent skulduggery.

     
  85.  
    11:45: Actor quits Labour Party

    In Scotland, actor Brian Cox has quit the Labour Party and joined the Scottish National Party. Cox has attacked the "empty rhetoric of leading members of the [Labour] party" and says they no longer stand for social democracy, the Press Association reports.

     
  86.  
    11:41: Birmingham schools statement House of Commons Parliament
    Tristram Hunt in the Commons

    Nicky Morgan, responding to Tristram Hunt's attack on the government's education reforms, says the shadow education secretary is "absolutely wrong" to blame the coalition. The problem, she says, started "long before" 2010. Hunt, arms folded as he leans back on the frontbench, scoffs in response. Morgan wraps up by saying ministers are "building resilience into the system".

     
  87.  
    11:36: Child abuse inquiry House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MP Tim Loughton has been pressing the government on delays in finding someone to chair its independent inquiry on child abuse. During questions to Commons Leader William Hague, Mr Loughton, a former children's minister, said there had been no announcement as promised from Home Secretary Theresa May and requested a debate. Mr Hague said Mrs May would be before MPs in the coming weeks and that the government was determined the work of the inquiry would continue while Parliament is dissolved for the general election.

     
  88.  
    11:33: Birmingham schools statement House of Commons Parliament
    Tristram Hunt in the Commons

    Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt says the government "did nothing" in response to warnings emerging from Birmingham before the 'Trojan Horse' story hit the newspapers. Hunt says there is a broader problem for which the coalition is ultimately to blame. "We do hold this government to account for a chaotic and disjointed schools policy which has increased the threat to child safety and attainment. And sadly, the government's response to this has fallen short."

     
  89.  
    PoliticsHome

    tweets: .@NickyMorgan01 says "every school shld be promoting British values, not just as bulwark against extremism but b/c it is right thing to do"

     
  90.  
    Guardian politics
    man shouting

    tweets: Clegg: next Cameron will ask the 'tea lady' to join debates bit.ly/1twXvqS

     
  91.  
    11:23: Birmingham school statement House of Commons Parliament

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says she has told Labour-run Birmingham council officials that "reform is too slow" - and threatens to use emergency powers allowing her to intervene if they do not make changes quickly.

     
  92.  
    11:21: Birmingham schools statement House of Commons Parliament
    Nicky Morgan

    Nicky Morgan says progress has been made since concerns about extremism in Birmingham schools emerged. The schools in question are being incorporated into broader networks in Birmingham and teachers are being investigated, the education secretary says. "We have acted swiftly," she adds.

     
  93.  
    11:17: Birmingham schools statement House of Commons Parliament

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is on her feet in the Commons, making a statement on Birmingham schools and the so-called Trojan Horse plot. She starts by pledging to address all the concerns which have been raised.

     
  94.  
    11:14: NHS boost 'mainly down to Labour supporters' BBC News Channel
    The Kings Fund's John Appleby

    New figures suggesting satisfaction with the NHS is at a near record high are unlikely to be the result of recent, direct experience of the service. That's according to the Kings Fund Health think-tank. The Fund's John Appleby told the BBC News Channel that the NHS rating among Labour voters was up 11%, while it was flat among Conservative supporters. Professor Appleby thought that suggested it was a vote of "solidarity" and support for the concept of the NHS.

     
  95.  
    11:11: 'Extremism' in Birmingham schools

    In the next few minutes Education Secretary Nicky Morgan will give an update on dealing with alleged extremism in Birmingham schools. Yesterday, Ofsted's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, warned that radicals "have gone to ground" but would return in Birmingham schools unless there was extra funding to recruit better teachers.

    In June, Ofsted issued a damning verdict on the running of a number of Birmingham's schools, placing five into special measures. And this month, the Department for Education issued its own review, one of a series of investigations prompted by the so-called "Trojan Horse letter" - now widely believed to be a hoax.

    The anonymous letter, sent to the local council, referred to an alleged plot by hard-line Muslims to seize control of school governing boards in the city.

     
  96.  
    11:08: League tables explained
    girl reading

    The number of state secondary schools in England considered to be underperforming has more than doubled in a year, according to official figures. Wondering what the figures mean? The BBC News website looks at what school performance data is and what it really means.

     
  97.  
    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."

     
  98.  
    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."

     
  99.  
    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."
     
  100.  
    @BBCNormanS Norman Smith, BBC News Assistant Political Editor

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

     

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