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PM to consider 'Public Question Time'

Prime Minister David Cameron is "open to new ways of engaging with public" a Number 10 spokesman said in response to plans from Ed Miliband for a new 'Public Question Time'.

Prime Minister David Cameron.
Prime Minister David Cameron. Credit: Reuters

They said: "He already holds regular PM Directs, where he takes questions from members of the public in towns and cities across the country."

They added: "The Prime Minister is open to new ways of engaging with the public."

Speaker will look at Miliband plan 'with interest'

The Speaker of the House of Commons will look at plans from Ed Miliband for a new 'Public Question Time', although it will be up to MPs to approve the idea.

Mr Miliband wants the public to be allowed into Parliament to ask the Prime Minister questions.

John Bercow will look at the Labour leader's plans for a 'Public Question Time'.
John Bercow will look at the Labour leader's plans for a 'Public Question Time'. Credit: PA Wire

A spokeswoman for Speaker John Bercow said: "The Speaker will look at Mr Miliband's suggestions with interest, when he receives them. Clearly, any changes would be a matter for the House."

She also said it was clear that within Westminster "there is also an appetite for further reforms to how the House of Commons conducts itself".

Read: Ed Miliband calls for 'public Question Time'

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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'

Veteran MP Frank Dobson to step down at election

Former Health Secretary Frank Dobson
Former Health Secretary Frank Dobson Credit: PA

Veteran Labour MP Frank Dobson has confirmed that he will step down at the 2015 general election. The former cabinet minister formally announced his decision not to seek a ninth straight general election win at a meeting of party members.

"I have decided to pack in when people are stopping me in the street to say they hope I am not going - rather than waiting until they ask why the hell I am still around," he said.

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Miliband: 'We have moved on from New Labour'

Ed Miliband will mark out a "new direction" for the Labour Party today as he tells a major party event that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown "did not do enough" to fix fundamental problems with the economy.

In a sign that he is trying to distance himself from previous Labour leaders, Mr Miliband will say: "We have moved on from New Labour. And we are not going back to old Labour."

Speaking at the National Policy Forum in Milton Keynes, Mr Miliband will argue Labour "did great things in Government to redistribute resources" but failed to tackle problems such as inequality and low rates of pay.

He will say a Labour government would instigate a programme to build "a wholly new economy, fit for the 21st century".

Read: Miliband: No return to Labour's big-spending approach

Miliband: No return to Labour's big-spending approach

Labour leader Ed Miliband will tell the party's national policy forum that the party cannot revert to its traditional high-spending approach to social and economic problems if it wins next year's general election.

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Labour leader Ed Miliband says the party must be 'more ambitious' in addressing the UK's problems. Credit: PA

Mr Miliband will tell activists at the three-day event in Milton Keynes that higher spending is not the answer to the country's issues, as "you and I know we won't have the money".

"Higher spending is not the answer to the economic problem that we together have identified. Unless we fundamentally reshape our economy, we will only be able to compensate people for inequality and unfairness," Mr Miliband is expected to say.

He will also argue that Labour must be "more ambitious" in reforming areas including banks, energy markets, skills, housing and pay.

Shadow minister apologises for calling Tory women 'puppets'

Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has apologised after labeling female conservative ministers as "puppets" whose most interesting asset was their taste in clothes.

Goodman dismissed complaints about newspaper The Mail's decision to print a "catwalk" spread showing outfits of women promoted in the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has issued an apology to female Tory ministers who she described as "puppets".
Shadow media minister Helen Goodman has issued an apology to female Tory ministers who she described as "puppets". Credit: PA

She posted on Twitter: "Mail's page on Tory women was fair: all are puppets who'll change nothing and their appearance really is most interesting thing about them."

But after facing a barrage of criticism, a full apology was issued.

"I was wrong in what I tweeted about Tory women ministers and I apologise to them unreservedly," Goodman said.

Ed Miliband: Strikes 'a sign of failure on all sides'

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the industrial action taken by public sector workers today was "a sign of failure on signs".

Read: Poll suggests Britons split on public sector strike action

He said: "We don't support the strikes because they are a sign of failure on all sides.

"I think the Government bares a share of responsibility for another reason too; they promised low paid workers a £250 pay rise and it didn't happen, they've demonised teachers and I'm not going to demonise public sector workers."

Watch: Gove claims teachers have 'no excuse' for going on strike

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