In brief

This week has seen an escalation of violence in Libya as the prime minister, David Cameron, conducted his tour of Arab states.

Justice minister Ken Clarke announced his intention to press for European judicial reform amid controversy about recent human rights rulings.

And in London, mayor Boris Johnson produced his yearly budget, while the ONS revealed that the UK economy had in fact shrunk by a further 0.1% beyond previous estimates in Q4 2010.


Going places

Liam Fox boldly went where no defence minister had gone before, telling Civitas that his ministry suffered from a “conspiracy of optimism” which manifested itself in an "institutional lack of accountability, from ministers down".

In future, he asserted, defence officials would have to show ministers that projects could realistically be afforded. Even shadow Jim Murphy said: “we support Liam Fox's words”, although he added that “we will judge him by his actions”.


Down and out

Robert Jones, Conservative councillor in south Gloucestershire, was forced to apologise following remarks he made on Twitter about a forthcoming council meeting. He wrote: "No sign of protest. Clearly we're not cutting enough."

Following criticism from colleagues the representative issued a statement claiming that his was one of the “most well-prepared councils in the country to adapt to its expected fall in central funding, hence there being no protesters at the budget meeting."


How about that?

Angry mums made mincemeat of UKIP’s Nigel Farage during a Mumsnet webchat on Europe, immigration and maternity leave. Regular users ventured to suggest that UKIP members had joined the site as “politrolls” to counterbalance negative comments from long-term members.

When asked about his motivation for taking part in the forum, Farage said: "Because I thought that if I could survive this, I could survive everything! And also because of the biscuits."


Your most read

Our observation that David Cameron had offered some fatherly advice to the eccentric and yet brutal Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.
 

You might have missed

Yesterday’s article on electronic voting, wherein Shane Greer uses the impending AV referendum to muse on the possible future of parliamentary elections.
 

What you need to read

The Sun’s criticism that Ken Clarke is “guilty as charged” for failing to speak up “for law-abiding Brits fed up with meddling European judges”.

Michael Howard’s article suggesting that “the current controversy over the European Convention on Human Rights has absolutely nothing to do with a downgrading of the rule of law”.

Richard Littlejohn’s criticism of David Cameron’s trip to Egypt.

And Benedict Brogan arguing that the public “has better things to do” than contemplate the merits of AV.

Tags: Boris Johnson, David Cameron, Gaddafi, Ken Clarke, Liam Fox, Libya, Mumsnet, Nigel Farage, Robert Jones