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Ed Balls: Jon Cruddas 'excited' by Labour reforms

Ed Balls said policy chief Jon Cruddas was "excited" by the party's agenda despite him claiming that Labour was stopping bold reforms in favour of "cynical nuggets of policy."

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/

The shadow chancellor told the BBC's Andrew Marr show: "I talked to Jon a couple of days ago and he's not frustrated, he's excited about his policy agenda.

"He's frustrated by the way in which one report of 250 pages gets reduced down to one headline."

He added: "Jon Cruddas, with me and Ed and others, has been working for years on big reforms, they're going to come out in the next few months, people will see the policy review he has led has been a big deal."

Read: Policy chief blasts Miliband's 'cynical' reforms

Ex-PM admits changing policy after talks with Queen

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major occasionally changed policy as a result of discussions with the Queen, a BBC documentary revealed.

The Queen and former British Prime Minister John Major Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Matthews/Pool

Asked if he remembered being influenced by the Queen, Sir John said: "I think every prime minister can think that, and can think of occasions where that happened.

"But the answer is yes of course. It would be very foolish indeed not to be influenced."

Read: Prince Charles asked Blair's govt for 'more grammar schools'


Cruddas comments come as Labour reveals UK vision

Jon Cruddas, Labour's policy chief, said the party was parking bold reforms in favour of "cynical nuggets of policy" as Labour prepares to set out its vision for rebuilding Britain through reforms of the state and big business.

Jon Cruddas or parking bold reforms in favour of "cynical nuggets of policy|" Credit: REUTERS/Stephen Hird

The party will reverse a century of centralisation by diverting £30 billion of funding to create "powerhouse" English cities and counties, Ed Miliband has said.

As well as pulling together plans on tackling "broken markets", changes to the welfare system and a crackdown on tax avoidance, it will lay out the results of former transport secretary Lord Adonis's review on growth polices.

Read: Policy chief blasts Miliband's 'cynical' reforms

Former PM 'supported Charles' policy intervention'

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major supported Prince Charles' policy interventions, BBC documentary revealed.

I think it is encouraging that the Prince of Wales is entirely free from his unique perspective to write to ministers or the prime minister in a way that is invariably intended to be helpful, and I think to cut that off, or to make sure those letters are much more bland than they otherwise might be, would be a loss.

– John Major, former Prime Minister

The BBC documentary, The Royal Activist, revealed how Prince Charles tried to persuade Tony Blair's government to expand grammar schools in one of his bids to change the government's policies.

Read: Prince Charles asked Blair's govt for 'more grammar schools'

Prince Charles 'campaigned for more grammar schools'

Prince Charles campaigned for more grammar schools during the time of Tony Blair's government, the former education secretary has said.

"He was very keen that we should go back to a different era where youngsters had what he would have seen as the opportunity to escape from their background, whereas I wanted to change their background," David Blunkett said.

Prince Charles campaigned for more grammar schools, a documentary reveals Credit: REUTERS/Susana Vera

The Prince of Wales didn't like" it when his request was refused, according to a BBC Radio 4 documentary.

"I would explain that our policy was not to expand grammar schools, and he didn't like that."

Mr Blunkett is one of three former cabinet ministers interviewed for the documentary, The Royal Activist, the BBC reported.

Mr Blunkett added: "I can see constitutionally that there's an argument that the heir to the throne should not get involved in controversy; the honest truth is I didn't mind."

Policy chief blasts Miliband's 'cynical' reforms

Labour's policy chief has hit out at the leadership for parking bold reforms in favour of "cynical nuggets of policy" designed to appeal to the press and focus groups.

Jon Cruddas has warned that the top of the party wields a "profound dead hand at the centre" that blocks plans, according to the Sunday Times (£).

Labour's policy chief Jon Cruddas Credit: PA

A recording of the head of the party's policy review made at a meeting of the left-wing Compass group captured him attacking recently announced Labour plans to cut Jobseeker's Allowance for 18 to 21 year olds as "punitive".

Mr Cruddas warned the "clock is ticking" but raised fears that interesting ideas were "not going to emerge through Labour's policy review".


Govt: Changes to vetting and barring 'common sense'

The Home Office has hit back at claims changes it introduced to law which check and prevent sexual offenders from working with children have allowed predators to slip through the net.

It remains the case that anyone committing the most serious offences is still automatically barred from working closely and unsupervised with children.

The coalition Government introduced changes to the barring regime to apply common sense levels, but if someone applies to work with children any serious criminal records or police information are still considered when checks are carried out and, if necessary, they will be barred.

The changes strike an appropriate balance between avoiding unnecessary intrusion into people's lives and ensuring that children and vulnerable groups are protected.

– Home Office spokesman

Parents and schools need 'confidence in vetting system'

Parents, schools, sports clubs and other organisations caring for young children need to have "confidence in the vetting and barring system" so they know employees pose no threat to youngsters, the Shadow Home Secretary has said.

Yvette Cooper hit out at Home Secretary Theresa May who she claimed was "warned repeatedly" that changes she made to vetting and barring laws "left major loopholes in the system".

Parents want to know that if someone has committed serious abuse against children or has a history of grooming or sexual abuse, they will not be allowed to work with children.

And schools, sports organisations and other groups need to be able to have confidence in the vetting and barring system.

Child protection is immensely important and it must not be put at risk because of faulty legislation or failures in the Home Office system.

– Yvette Cooper

Fall in adults barred from working with children

The number of adults prevented from working with children because they have committed a sexual offence against someone underage has dropped since a change in the law three-years-ago, Labour said.

Read: Children 'sexually exploited while in council care'

Restrictions on who was able to work with children were changed in 2011. Credit: PA

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request launched by the Opposition found 12,360 people were prevented from working with children in 2011 due to a previous sexual offence.

However, that number plunged to 5,758 in 2012 and 2,800 in 2013.

Other data showed the number of people barred from working with children as a result of intelligence sharing and investigations by the police and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has fallen from 1,542 in 2011 to 471 in 2012 and to 351 in 2013.

Labour has claimed changes made by Home Secretary Theresa May have played a significant role in these reductions as her reforms made it harder to bar a convicted sex offender.

Read: Rochdale child abuse victims 'could have been protected'

Blunkett warns Labour voters to support Miliband

by - Political Correspondent

By Carl Dinnen: Political Correspondent

Speaking to ITV News, David Blunkett has told those criticising Ed Miliband to "get off your bum, and get out there and campaign."

The veteran MP - who has announced he is standing down - said: "My message to people who are chipping away at Ed Miliband: forget the idea that someone else is going to step forward or there's going to be some kind of peremptory election. There isn't.

"So get off your bum and get out there and campaign. Not for any individual but for the values we espouse."

Mr Blunkett added that if Labour were to lose next year's election they could be out of power for a very long time.

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