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Referendum debate 'shows things can be different'

The Scottish referendum debate shows that people can be re-engaged with politics if they are given "a real choice", Ed Miliband has said,

The Labour leader wants a new 'Public Question Time' that he says would help "let people into politics" - and he says the lively debate on Scottish independence has given a good example of public engagement with politics.

"Go to Scotland and talk to people about what's happening there and the referendum, people are interested," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

"If you show people there's a real choice and things can be different and you let people into politics, it can happen - we didn't seek that referendum but it has engaged people in politics."

Ed Miliband calls for 'public Question Time'

Ed Miliband says there should be a 'Public Question Time' where ordinary people can go to Parliament to put questions to the Prime Minister.

The Labour leader told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show the idea would "let people into our politics" by making politicians answerable to the public.

Ed Miliband said a 'Public Question Time' would help 'let people into our politics'.
Ed Miliband said a 'Public Question Time' would help 'let people into our politics'. Credit: BBC/Andrew Marr Show

He said the move would help deal with some of the public's dissatisfaction with the way Prime Minister's Questions is conducted.

"At the moment there's the glass that separate the public in the gallery from the House of Commons but there is a gulf a mile wide from the kind of politics people want and what Prime Minister's Questions offers," he argued.

Read: Clegg: Prime Minister's Questions is a 'complete farce'

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Case 'remains open' into Big Society Network

The Charity Commission's case into the Society Network Foundation - the charitable arm of the Big Society Network - "remains open and ongoing", a spokeswoman has confirmed.

It is alleged that the organisation misused government funding and made inappropriate payments to its directors.

Our case into the Society Network Foundation remains open and ongoing.

We have received a response to questions we had relating to connected-party transactions and the use of a grant.

However this does not fully address our concerns and we are in the process of engaging further with the trustees.

We are also awaiting copies of documents that explain the grounds on which a grant was given.

– Charity Commission spokeswoman

Big Society Network 'misused government funds'

The Big Society Network, launched as part of a flagship scheme by David Cameron in 2010, is reportedly being investigated over the misuse of government funds.

It is said the organisation was given at least £2.5 million of National Lottery funding and public-sector grants - but is now under scrutiny by the Charity Commission, reports the Independent.

There are also claims that government grant-awarding bodies were pressured into handing over cash to the organisation.

Clegg: Lib Dems were vital to economic recovery

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the economic recovery "wouldn't have happened" without the Liberal Democrats being part of the government.

Speaking to ITV News' political correspondent Carl Dinnen, the Liberal Democrat leader said: "You can't create an economic recovery without having a stable government.

"The Conservatives wouldn't have been able to do it without the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Democrats wouldn't have been able to do it without the Conservatives."

69% of Brits don't feel better off in growing economy

Two thirds of British adults say that despite the economy growing they don’t feel better off, an Comres poll exclusive for ITV News has found.

While George Osborne has hailed GDP's return to pre-crisis figures as a "milestone", 69% of people interviewed said they do not feel wealthier - while one in four (24%) said they currently spend more than they earn each month.

The Comres results suggest a majority of Britons are not feeling the financial benefit of a growing economy.
The Comres results suggest a majority of Britons are not feeling the financial benefit of a growing economy. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Although only 35% of Britons said their personal finances are getting worse (the joint lowest since 2010), only 14% said they are getting better. Instead, most said they are about the same (52%).

A majority of the 2,035 Britons interviewed (55%) also agreed the improving economy is only benefitting the rich, while three in five (62%) think the gap between rich and poor has got worse over the past three months.

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David Cameron confuses Tyne and Tees in interview

David Cameron on the River Tyne in 2006.
David Cameron on the River Tyne in 2006. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

David Cameron appeared to get his regions confused today when he repeatedly referred to examples of economic prowess on Tyneside - despite speaking to BBC Tees.

Eventually presenter Lisa McCormick cut in: "You keep mentioning the River Tyne. That's not our region Prime Minister. I'm sorry, we are the River Tees."

Mr Cameron replied "I'm sorry, I thought I was doing...." before talking about £90 million of government investment in the Tees Valley - an amount brushed off by the presenter as a "drop in the ocean".

Miliband: 'I look like Wallace' but image isn't important

Labour leader Ed Miliband admitted to a likeness with "Wallace" from the popular "Wallace and Gromit" films, but he said that politics rather than his image was what was important to him.

Ed Miliband has admitted he looks a bit like Wallace.
Ed Miliband has admitted he looks a bit like Wallace. Credit: PA

In a wide ranging speech to the Royal Institute of British Architects he said: "I am not from central casting. You can find people who are more square-jawed, more chiselled, look less like Wallace. "You could probably even find people who look better eating a bacon sandwich."

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Eds and bacon: Miliband tucks into sandwich on a morning trip to buy flowers for his wife http://t.co/bqWmxvqTyg http://t.co/RaKQrgpvAb

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He added: "If you want a politician who thinks that a good photo is the most important thing, then don’t vote for me. Because I don’t."

Praising David Cameron, he said the Prime Minister "is a very sophisticated and successful exponent of a politics driven by image."

But he said he was not going to compete with that and wanted to "offer something different."

Chancellor: Recovery under way but not complete

Chancellor George Osborne said GDP figures on growth show that his economic recovery plan is working, but not complete and that he wanted people from all parts of the country to feel the impact of the recovery.

Speaking to Economics Editor Joel Hills from Newcastle he blamed the previous government for the three year delay in a return to growth figures, saying it takes time to work through problems caused when governments "get economic policy wrong".

Read: Labour says growth figures do not show economy is 'fixed'

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