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The number of schools converting to academies in the primary sector has now overtaken those in the secondary sector – 2,299 to 1,884 (Getty)

MPs question merit of turning primary schools into academies

The Commons Select Committee on Education: 'There is at present no convincing evidence of the impact of academy status on attainment in primary schools'

Among the results, researchers calculated that spending on “unprotected” services, including those for pre-school children, had been slashed by one-third (Getty)

Poorer households hit hardest by austerity over the last five years, according to new report

Families with young children have been harder hit than any other group

The latest spin coming out of No. 10 is that the new televised debate proposal is unfair on the political parties of Northern Ireland (Getty)

Andy McSmith's Diary: David Cameron, the champion of the Monster Raving Loonies

When one excuse fails, there is always another

Ben Emmerson before the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday, where breaches of confidence were raised (PA)

Sketch: 'Goliath' Ben Emmerson fights back against 'David' Vaz in battle over child sex abuse inquiry

In Emmerson’s view, the current panel would have to be disbanded and replaced either by a royal commission or a new inquiry with statutory powers

The Conservative party is ahead of Labour in the polls for the first time since 2011, with the NHS likely to matter more to people than the economy when they decide how to vote in the general election (EPA)

UK general election - 100 days to go: Miliband and Cameron neck and neck in fight for voters' trust on NHS

The NHS has risen to the top of voters’ concerns amid the winter crisis in accident and emergency departments

Despite the growing popularity of Ukip, a YouGov survey found that 43 per cent of people would vote to stay in the EU in a referendum (Getty)

British support for EU membership grows, despite Ukip popularity

A YouGov survey found that 43 per cent of people would vote to stay in the EU in a referendum, while 38 per cent would vote to leave

The marble statue of Margaret Thatcher has been banished from the entrance of the Guildhall Art Gallery (Micha Theiner)

Thatcher statue made famous after being beheaded now tucked away in the ‘perfect setting’

The £150,000 statue, which became famous after a protester beheaded it with a metal rope support stanchion, is now only viewable 'by prior arrangement'

Amjad Bashir said Ukip had become a 'party of ruthless self-interest'

Ukip defection: Allegations that members tried to swing the outcome of a candidate selection contributed to Amjad Bashir's departure

Ukip has quashed the results of a council candidate hustings in West Yorkshire amid claims that a group of around 12 new members – all from the Asian community –secured the nomination of a particular candidate

Protesters simulate a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC in protest against the 10-year prison sentence and 1,000 lashes of Saudi activist Raef Badawi (Getty)

Pressure mounts on Chris Grayling to abandon Saudi Arabia prison contract

Amnesty International protested to the Justice Secretary, warning that it risked giving a 'British stamp of approval' to degrading practices in Saudi jails

Top Ukip official Matthew Richardson forced to apologise after 'unforgivable' anti-trans rant and 'she-males' slur

Matthew Richardson says his views on transphobia have changed since the speech

Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party

Green party leader Natalie Bennett says it should not be a crime to belong to al-Qaeda or Isis

But inciting or supporting acts of violence ‘are absolutely unacceptable and illegal’

Anti-fracking activists near a proposed site at Westby, near Blackpool

Government faces fracking setback as MPs call for total ban

Cross-party committee says that fracking for gas should be suspended in the UK because it poses significant health risks to locals

A commission set up by Commons Speaker John Bercow has said that people should be able to cast their vote online in the 2020 general election and question MPs through an internet forum

Britons should be able to vote online by 2020, says Speaker John Bercow

New report calls for members of the public to be allowed to take phones and iPads into the public gallery and for more live social media coverage of debates

Russell Brand says he'd vote for Syriza

Greece elections: David Cameron warns of greater economic uncertainty across Europe - but Russell Brand says he'd vote for Syriza

Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, tweeted that 'hope has won' and said she was 'inspired by huge vote for Syriza'

Scottish football fans at Celtic Park. Labour said it wanted all national games to be free to air

Labour would expand 'crown jewels' to include World Cup and Euro football qualifiers

Other sporting events that could be protected include the Ashes, which is only available on Sky

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Richard Dawkins is known for his outspoken views
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Bourne's New Adventures dance company worked with 27 young Londoners to devise a curtain-raiser staged before New Adventures' performance of Edward Scissorhands
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Lady Butler’s painting Scotland Forever! – the Greys actually advanced at the trot because of the broken ground (Alamy)
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Reviews of Olivia Vinall and Anthony Calf in The Hard Problem by Tom Stoppard suggested the play lacked human passion (Johan Persson)
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Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links