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Devolution may risk 'sucking power upwards'

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has cautioned against calls for the creation of powerful new combined local authorities centring on big cities, after Nick Clegg called for more devolution of powers.

Localism in England should be about devolving power to the lowest appropriate level - down to councils, to neighbourhoods and to individuals.

There may be some role for combined authorities on a strategic level to promote economic development and transport, but there is a real risk they will suck power upwards away from local councils and local taxpayers.

– Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary

Clegg to call for 'fairer Britain' with more devolution

The time has come to push for action on decentralisation in England, Nick Clegg is to say, as part of a new report calling for a new wave of "metro mayors" for city regions with greater powers to vary taxes to local councils.

In his speech, the Liberal Democrat leader will say:

You only need look at how the Scottish referendum debate has re-energised people's interest and engagement in politics over the last few weeks to see that this is an idea whose time has come.

Over the last decades, we've seen a wave of new powers shifting out to every nation of the UK, except England.

With a new consensus now emerging amongst the UK's three main political parties to extend devolution and decentralisation in the future, I believe we can push forward in realising our ambitions for a stronger, fairer Britain.

– Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister


Nick Clegg to call for more devolution in England

The independence debate in Scotland has underlined the need for greater decentralisation of power within England, Nick Clegg will say today.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who will launch a report calling for a major programme of devolution within England Credit: PA

The Deputy Prime Minister will say that an emerging consensus among the three main political parties meant there was a real opportunity to devolve power to the English regions.

Mr Clegg is launching a report by the IPPR North think-tank, calling for a new wave of "metro mayors" for city regions with greater powers to vary taxes to local councils.

Clegg: Scottish independence would be 'huge risk'

The Deputy Prime Minister has spoken about the "momentous decision" facing Scots next week. Nick Clegg said the differences between Scotland and England should be celebrated without the links between the two countries being destroyed.

He warned about the "huge risks and uncertainties" of Scottish independence, but promised further powers for Scotland if the No campaign is successful.

Cameron denies 'No campaign' is in panic

David Cameron has been asked if the highly-unusual move to miss Prime Minister's Questions was a sign of panic in the no camp ahead of the Scottish referendum.

I really care about this issue.

I care passionately about our United Kingdom and I want to do everything I can to put the arguments in front of the people.

In the end it is for the Scottish people to decide but I want them to know that the rest of the United Kingdom, and I speak as Prime Minister, want them to stay.

All those steps we can take, making sure people in Scotland know that they can have the best of both worlds - more powers to govern themselves but also being inside the United Kingdom.

– David Cameron


Nine-year-old boy grills Clegg on free school meals

Nick Clegg was bested by a nine-year-old boy today as he faced a grilling over the coalition's free school meals policy.

Rohan, from South London, fired detailed statistics at the Deputy Prime Minister and complained meals at his own school were "unhealthy".

At one point during his Call Clegg-phone in on LBC radio, the Lib Dem leader asked Rohan why he was not in school and then said, "You probably need to go back to class."

"You really should go into politics," Clegg said, "You're one of the most articulate nine-year-olds I've ever come across."

Clegg's run-in with Rohan starts at 14:50 in the YouTube clip above.

Nick Clegg calls for Ashya King family to be reunited

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said "the full force of the law" should not be thrown at the parents of Ashya King and called for the family to be reunited.

Nick Clegg speaking to GMB. Credit: Good Morning Britain/ITV

He told Good Morning Britain: "My heart does go out to them [Ashya's parents] and I'm like any parent.

"It seems to me...that Mr and Mrs King are in a state of great anguish and have taken this exceptional step of removing their child from hospital and going elsewhere because that's what they think is right for their child.

"We can debate whether we think that's right or not but that's clearly their motive and I don't think that kind of motive is the reason why we should be throwing the full force of the law at them.

"I do want to see the family reunited and I think it's awful Ashya is in a hospital on his own."

TV drama to depict Clegg's role in forming Coalition

Nick Clegg's role in forming the Coalition government will be at the centre of a one-off drama on Channel 4 in the run-up to next year's election.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg hold their first joint press conference in the Downing Street garden in 2010 Credit: Christopher Furlong/PA Wire

The programme, which has been written by playwright James Graham, will follow the Liberal Democrat leader during the 2010 election and the wrangling that followed.

What we try to capture in this drama is the tension, the high stakes, and the frequent farcical and absurd nature of what happens when a power is wrangled, negotiated and fought over like children trading cards in the playground.

– James Graham

The 90-minute film, with the working title Coalition, is the latest in a string of political dramas on the channel.

Lib Dems will go after 'Mr Bigs'

Abolishing prison sentences for drug possession will free up resources to go after the "Mr Bigs", Justice Secretary Simon Hughes told Good Morning Britain.

Responding to criticism of the Lib Dem manifesto pledge, announced today by party leader Nick Clegg, Mr Hughes said: "the people who simply are picked up for having drugs which they are using themselves...and we don't believe that sending them to prison which costs the state a lot of the answer and we would use the money we concentrate on the 'Mr Bigs', the people who sell drugs, the people who promote the drugs, the people who import the drugs."

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