New Hotels added daily   

Dutch Inventor Sue Facebook Over "Like" Button

Dutch Inventor Sue Facebook Over "Like" Button

  • Posted: Feb 19, 2013
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

As everybody knows Mark  Zuckerberg has invented Facebook.

Now, it has come to light that the “like” button was created by a Dutch inventor who died in 2004.

Facebook is being sued over claims its ‘like’ button infringes technology patented by a Dutch computer programmer 15 years ago.

Rembrandt Social Media says the social networking site “bears a remarkable resemblance, both in terms of its functionality and technical implementation” to a concept invented by Joannes (Jos) van der Meer before his death in 2004.

As well as the like or ‘share’ button, it claims Mr van der Meer came up with the idea for a ‘wall’, ‘timeline’ and ‘news feed’ – three features that are central to Facebook.

Defence lawyer Tom Melsheimer said: “We believe Rembrandt’s patents represent an important foundation of social media as we know it, and we expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence.”

 Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2003 Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in 2003

Mr Van Der Meer was the programmator that created the like button and was considered as “a pioneer in the development of user-friendly web-based technologies”, in 1998.

One patent “claimed a novel technology that gave ordinary people… the ability to create and use what Van der Meer called a personal diary,” court papers said.

Mr van der Meer set up a company called Aduna to commercialize his inventions, registered the website, and launched a pilot system, but died in 2004.

The inventor’s family, including his widow, enlisted the help of Rembrandt, which says it works to help inventors and patent owners enforce their fights against companies that use their inventions without paying for them.

The suit notes that one of Facebook’s own patents cited one of the Dutchman’s patents and so the company was aware of the infringement.

“Although Mark Zuckerberg did not start what became Facebook until 2003, it bears a remarkable resemblance, both in terms of its functionality and technical implementation, to the personal web page diary that van der Meer had invented years earlier,” court documents said.

Facebook has been targeted by a swathe of lawsuits for alleged intellectual property infringement, but few have been successful.


Tags: , , ,
Elderly Care Bills To Be Capped At £75,000

Elderly Care Bills To Be Capped At £75,000

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2013
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

It has been announced today that elderly care bills are to be capped by the state in a £1bn move expected to be funded by dragging more people into inheritance tax.

The cap on how much pensioners pay for care is to be set at £75,000, more than double the £35,000 recommended by the Dilnot Commission.

But the assets threshold beneath which people will receive means-tested support is to be hiked significantly – up from £23,250 to £123,000.

The new Government new idea is to extend the freeze of inheritance tax threshold which currently kicks in at 40% at £325,000 or £650,000 for couples.

Abandoning what was a flagship pledge to increase the threshold risks stoking Tory anger at Chancellor George Osborne and could further damage Conservative support.

Before the last election, Mr Osborne said he would raise the limit to £1m. He suitained this will help four million Britons who had worked hard to build up an inheritance.

The move in autumn 2007 was widely credited with reviving the Conservatives’ fortunes and forcing Gordon Brown’s disastrous decision to abandon plans for a snap general election.

The Conservatives party agreed to shelve its plans in order to prioritise rises to income tax thresholds.

But only weeks ago, in his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor said inheritance tax thresholds would rise by 1% in 2015/16 to £329,000 per person.

This too has now been abandoned.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt outlined the elderly care proposals for England in a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon.

He told MPs that many families face “limitless and often ruinous costs of their own care with little or no assistance from the state”.

Mr Hunt said the proposed new framework would bring “greater certainty, fairness and peace of mind”.

The Health Secretary has described the current situation, where 30,000-40,000 people a year have to sell their homes to pay for care, as a “scandal”.

The decision to set the cap at £75,000 comes despite extensive briefings last summer in which David Cameron and Nick Clegg agreed they would implement the Dilnot recommendations in full.

Andrew Dilnot admitted he regretted the high cap but insisted it would mean pensioners would no longer have to be “terrified” about the consequences if they need care.

“I recognise that the public finances are in a pretty tricky state. It doesn’t seem to me that it is so different from what we wanted as to radically transform the basis of the system,” he said.

But the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) attacked the reforms as “about as credible as a Findus Lasagne”.

NPC general secretary Dot Gibson said: “The social care system needs urgent and radical reform, but these proposals simply tinker at the edges.

“The current system is dogged by means-testing, a postcode lottery of charges, a rationing of services and poor standards and nothing in the plan looks like it will address any of these concerns.

“Setting a lifetime cap on care costs of £75,000 will help just 10% of those needing care, whilst the majority will be left to struggle on with a third rate service.

“The Government needs to be much braver and bolder if it is really going to sort out the problems – otherwise in a few years time we’ll be back again having another look at the issue.”

Shadow care and older people’s minister Liz Kendall warned: “This would be a small step forward for some people who need residential care in five or more years time but it won’t be fair for people with modest homes.”

Stephen Gay, from the Association of British Insurers, said: “The cap and the higher means-test give people greater certainty and will enable them to plan ahead for later life.”

But David Rogers, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, warned: “On its own, a cap is not enough to sort out long-term care and will mean little if the starting point is a system that is massively under-funded and unable to cope with the pressures of our rapidly ageing population.”


Tags: , , ,
David Cameron Makes A Visit To Libya Regarding Lockerbie Bombing

David Cameron Makes A Visit To Libya Regarding Lockerbie Bombing

  • Posted: Feb 02, 2013
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on David Cameron Makes A Visit To Libya Regarding Lockerbie Bombing

The PM uses his visit to reveal British police investigating the Lockerbie bombing will travel to Libya for the first time.

David Cameron has made a surprise visit to Libya where he promised to help bolster the police and the army.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said Britain was ready to provide training and advice amid growing concern about the security situation in the region.

The trip will take part in March and for the first time the police  have been allowed to visit Libya as part of the probe.

“I am delighted that the Dumfries and Galloway Police team will be able to visit your country to look into the issues around the Lockerbie bombing,” Mr Cameron said.

His last visit was on September 2011 in Tripoli and Benghazi soon after Colonel Gaddafi lost his grip on power.

Sky’s deputy political editor Joey Jones, speaking from Tripoli, said it was evident there was “genuine affection” in Libya for the PM.

“People are crowding in on David Cameron, shaking his hand and saying hello. They are obviously very pleased to see him,” he said.

Jones declaired: “He feels he has forged a friendship with the Libyan people in what was their hour of need.

“Now he wants to demonstrate that he can take that friendship forward given that there are still immense challenges that face the country.”

Mr Cameron was guided around the Square for a 15 min by youth workers Abdurahman – who fought against Gaddafi – and Mervat.

Mervat and the organisation she set up, 3 Generation, tries to find information on those who went missing during the dictator’s reign and the revolt.

Prime Minister toured a police training centre on the outskirts of Tripoli.

He told police recruits it was “very good to be back”, adding: “I will never forget the scenes I saw in Tripoli and Benghaz.

“The British people want to stand with you and help you deliver the greater security that Libya needs.

“So we have offered training and support from our police and our military. We look forward to working together in the years ahead.”

Mr Cameron was also holding talks with Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and President Mohammed Magariaf while in the country.

Tags: , , , ,
David Cameron Promises ‘In-Out’ EU Referendum

David Cameron Promises ‘In-Out’ EU Referendum

  • Posted: Jan 23, 2013
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on David Cameron Promises ‘In-Out’ EU Referendum

By the end of 2017, britons will be able to vote to leave the European Union if the Conservatives win the next general election.

The Prime Minister promised to negotiate a new settlement with Brussels and then stage a straight in-out referendum on British membership if he stays in power.

In one of the defining speeches of his premiership, he declared: “It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics.”

Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband stated that will condemn  British economy to years of uncertainty.

The Labour leader claimed at PMQs: “He is running scared of UKIP. He has given in to his party and he can’t deliver for Britain,” as he came out against a referendum.

Other questions have been stated as other european countries will be prepared to negotiate  a special “a la carte” membership for the UK.

In a boost to Mr Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was prepared to “talk about British wishes” to try to achieve a “fair compromise”.

But her foreign minister Guido Westerwelle insisted “cherry-picking is not an option” and the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said Mr Cameron was “playing a dangerous game”.

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, added: “Say that Europe is a soccer club. You join this soccer club, but you can’t say you want to play rugby.”

Our MP, Mr Cameron suggested that he doesn t want to leave European Union and would “fight with all my heart and soul” for a yes vote when the time comes.

But he conceded that public mistrust of the EU is growing and democratic consent is now “wafer thin” because its role has snowballed since the last referendum in the 1970s.

“I never want us to pull up the drawbridge and retreat from the world. I am not a British isolationist but I do want a better deal for Britain,” he said.

The Prime Minister rejected the idea of an immediate referendum, insisting it was the wrong time for such a “momentous decision” when the EU is still reeling from the eurozone crisis.

Instead, he outlined plans for a new treaty to reshape the EU, resolve the eurozone crisis, increase the group’s flexibility, accountability and competitiveness and allow the return of powers from Brussels.

His “strong preference” is to push through reforms for the whole of the EU but he vowed to negotiate for the UK alone if other member states do not join him.

“The next Conservative manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament,” he said. “It will be a relationship with the single market at its heart.

“And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give the British people a referendum with a very simple in or out choice: to stay in the EU on these new terms or come out altogether.

“It will be an in-out referendum. Legislation will be drafted before the next election and if a Conservative Government is elected we will introduce the enabling legislation immediately and pass it by the end of that year.

“We will complete this negotiation and hold this referendum within the first half of the next Parliament.”

Mr Cameron  didn’t consider claims that he is undermining the British economy by tabling a vote, insisting that an exit was more likely if the issue was ignored.

In a move set to delight many Tory MPs, he also signalled a referendum would go ahead even if he is forced into a second coalition. “If I am prime minister, this will happen,” he vowed.

Effectively issuing an ultimatum to Brussels, Mr Cameron declared: “The danger is that Europe will fail and the British people will drift towards the exit.

“It is hard to argue that the EU would not be greatly diminished by Britain’s departure,” he said.

He called for “fundamental, far-reaching change” as he admitted that the “EU is seen as something that is done to people, rather than acting on their behalf”.

Mr Cameron rejected the idea of a whole union and want to support the idea of principle of “so called  the “one-size-fits-all” approach with countries in future having different levels of involvement.

“I understand the appeal of going it alone, of charting our own course. But it will be a decision we will have to take with cool heads,” he said.

“Of course, Britain could make her own way in the world outside the EU if we chose to do so. So could any other member state. The question we will have to ask ourselves is this: is that the very best future for our country?”

He added: “I want the European Union to be a success and I want a relationship between Britain and the EU that keeps us in it.

“There is no doubt that we are more powerful in Washington, in Beijing, in Delhi because we are a powerful player in the European Union. That matters for British jobs and British security.”

He accepted that the scale of his task was vast but declared: “Over the coming weeks, months and years, I will not rest until this debate is won.”

The speech has been months in the planning – with the delay an indication of the difficult balancing act Mr Cameron is attempting to achieve.It was planned to happen in Amsterdam last Friday but was postponed because of the Algerian hostage crisis.

Political editor Adam Boulton said: “This is David Cameron’s big throw of the dice politically. He is gambling that the British people will be so attracted by his offer that they will want to give the Conservatives a majority in 2015.

“He is also gambling that the impetus he will have politically from the voters will give him enough leverage with his European partners to negotiate a new deal for Britain.”

Downing Street later played down the criticism from some European politicians and insisted Mr Cameron was confident of securing a “better deal for Britain”.

“You would anticipate those reactions but it is not always our job to worry about what the foreign ministers are saying. It is our job to worry about what the British people are saying,” his spokesman said.

Tags: , ,
Ed Miliband: Time To Move On From New Labour

Ed Miliband: Time To Move On From New Labour

  • Posted: Jan 19, 2013
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on Ed Miliband: Time To Move On From New Labour

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did not do enough to rein in the rich and powerful, Ed Miliband concedes, as he urges his party to “move on” from New Labour.

Edward Samuel Miliband, the Labour leader, spotted the massive impact the immigration had as a key public concern which the last government failed to recognise, and a reason why Mr Brown lost the election.

Mr Miliband will praise the achievements of New Labour’s 13 years in power, especially the investment in schools and hospitals that gave “millions” of people “better lives”.

However, in a speech to the Fabian Society in London, Mr Miliband wants to prove that Labour itself is changing and declare that his party has “learnt the lessons” from the financial crisis.

The speech to the Fabian society in London is likely to be seen as an attempt by the Labour leader to distance himself from the party’s record under Mr Brown and Mr Blair.

In the financial crisis, Mr Brown’s economic policies are still regarded as a weakness and Labor party thinks they had not done enough to restore its economic credibility among voters.

Mr Miliband will concede that Labour lost touch before losing power. “By the time we left office, too many people of Britain didn’t feel as if the Labour Party was open to their influence, or listening to them,” he will say. “We have to move on from New Labour, as well as from this government.”

“New Labour was too timid in enforcing rights and responsibilities, especially at the top, and it was too sanguine about the consequences of the rampant free markets, which we know can threaten to undermine our common life.”

“We need to do more to create a society where everyone genuinely plays their part.”

New Labour “did not do enough” to make the economy deliver prosperity to the majority who do not earn “millions” and may not have university degrees, he will say.

Mr Miliband also candidly admits shortcomings in Labour’s handling of immigration policy.

Mr Brown was infamously overheard describing a voter who raised concerns over migration during the 2010 election campaign as a “bigoted woman”.

Mr Miliband  suggested his former leader’s unwillingness to listen to the public’s concerns had cost the party votes.

“High levels of migration were having huge effects on the lives of people in Britain and too often those in power seemed not to accept this,” he will say.

Labour must “build trust and new relationships” in every part of Britain, and be prepared to address local issues such as the growing number of betting shops dominating high streets and the boom in payday loan companies.

Tags: , ,
David Cameron Announces Today Cuts To Child Benefit

David Cameron Announces Today Cuts To Child Benefit

  • Posted: Jan 06, 2013
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

The Prime Minister says the change to child benefit – which will see families with an earner on more than £50,000 lose out – is the “right approach”.

 David Cameron has defended the cuts to child benefit, but on the other hand, he has stated that their fundamentally fair and necessary the changes took effect from midnight

He says that introducing these changes will raise £2billion a year, he added. If we don’t manage to raise the funds the money would have to be financed from another area so and now the group of people would be worse off

“I think people see it as fundamentally fair that if there is someone in the household earning over £60,000 you don’t get child benefit.”

It is “full steam ahead” for the coalition, Mr Cameron said as he insisted the Government had a packed agenda.

And he told Marr that he had no intention of stepping aside.

He said: “I want to fight the next election as the leader of the Conservative Party, I want to win a Conservative majority and I want to serve.”

Mr Marr interrupted: “And stay as Prime Minister for five years?”

Mr Cameron replied: “That’s exactly what I have said.”

On Monday, Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will publish a mid-term review of progress the coalition government has made since 2010 and set out its top priorities for the rest of their term.

Mr Cameron said: “What you are going to see tomorrow is a coalition Government with a full tank of gas, it’s full steam ahead.

“We have travelled a long way down the road we need to travel but there is a lot more we need to do.”

“Far from running out of ideas, we have got a packed agenda, which concerns things like how do we build roads in Britain to make sure our economy keeps moving, how do we pay for the care for the elderly, how do we have a pension system that encourages saving – big things that are going to equip our country for the next decade.”

Tags: , ,
Iain Duncan Smith Announced Changes On Child Benefit.

Iain Duncan Smith Announced Changes On Child Benefit.

  • Posted: Oct 25, 2012
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

Iain Duncan Smith is pushing through radical welfare reforms regarding child benefit.

He believed the current system encouraged people not to worry about the significant cost of a growing family.

The Work and Pensions Secretary condemned the “madness” of the state subsidising poor families with lots of children.

Most families make decisions about the number of children linked to what they can afford.

“People who are having support through welfare are often free from that decision,” the senior Conservative said.

“We want to support people if they have children when they are out of work … but what we also want to say is really ‘is there an endless point to this?’,” he said.

“Can there not be a limit to the fact that really you need to remember you need to cut your cloth in accordance with what capabilities and what finances you have?”

The Cabinet minister denied the number of families he is talking about is tiny, insisting it involved “large numbers”.

“This is madness…,” he said. “My view is that, if you did this, we would start it for those who begin to have more than, say, two children.”

He added that it had been accepted “for far too long” that people could just stay on benefits “and we write them off”.

“You can’t just sit there and gather more and more on benefits. Benefits should be, for many people – unless you are chronically sick – a temporary place, a place you then move on (from) and into work.”

George Osborne’s scheme to cut child benefit risks descending into chaos because the taxman is struggling to explain the complicated reforms to parents.

HM Revenue & Customs is planning to send letters to better-off taxpayers in the next few weeks to tell affected families what to do.

The controversial changes will see households where one parent earns more than £50,000 no longer receiving full child benefit. Families where a parent earns more than £60,000 will lose the money entirely.

Tags: ,
GCSE Row Gove Refuses To Order Exam Regrade

GCSE Row Gove Refuses To Order Exam Regrade

  • Posted: Sep 03, 2012
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

The Education Secretary is urged to make a statement to MPs after head teachers threaten legal action over grade boundary changes.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said he will not overrule the exam watchdog’s decision not to re-mark GCSE papers in a row over changes to grade boundaries.

During the academic year, grades were changed halfway throw which annoyed lots of students because they haven’t got a grade they were expecting. Lots of schools and colleges are upset about this decision that Ofqual has took to grade students down.

Many students have not received the grade that they were expecting due to the change within off calls decision to change the boundary of grading GCSE exams.

Teaching unions have threatened legal action over the issue and claim thousands of teenagers who were expected to obtain a C grade pass in English were awarded a D grade after the grade boundary was raised last minute.

He said he had “enormous sympathy” with the pupils who sat GCSEs this summer, but he refused to intervene to order Ofqual to regrade the papers.

“I cannot and should not do that. Ofqual, the regulator, is independent. If I start telling them what to do they are no longer independent and exams are no longer robust,” he told Sky News.

He said: “I have enormous sympathy with the students who worked so hard, with parents who feel disappointed and also with teachers who put an enormous amount of effort in to make sure that young people can do as well as possible”.

“The problem is that the GCSE examination is not designed appropriately. It is split up into units and modules and too many resits and retakes”.

“What we needed to do is to have a new examination in which everyone sits the exam at the same time – and that examination makes sure that people develop a proper understanding of English language and a proper love of English literature, and we propose changes to these exams.”

Students Taking GCSE

The GCSE grade boundaries in January differed to those set in June

Head teachers claim that GCSE exams were at  disadvantage over those who sat them earlier in the year in January.Ofqual was asked to investigate and acknowledged in its report into the GCSE English crisis that January’s assessments had different criteria for marking compared with the June assessment.Rejected students can resits their exams in November.

Recently, the Labour’s education spokesman Stephen Twigg had an interview on Sky News.

He said: “We expect him to come to Parliament and to set out what’s going to happen because there is a basic unfairness here. If you were assessed in January you could get a grade C. The same quality of work, maybe even slightly better work, assessed in May and you would have got a D. That cannot be right.

“I’m all in favour of rigour, I’m in favour of making sure these are tough exams, but you can’t change the boundaries in the middle of the year”.

“We need a full inquiry into what went wrong, we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again next year, which is why I have suggested the select committee on education should take a detailed look at that”.

“But before then, we need to try and avert there being legal action… let’s try to resolve this in the next few days”.

“I think the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, should be calling Ofqual and the exam boards in to try to sort this out so that these young people aren’t at a disadvantage.”

But now the Deputy Prime Minister is glad-handing at a London school, side-by-side with Education Secretary Michael Gove, to mark the official policy announcement.

After weeks of controversial discussions in The House of Common what has changed with GCSE exams?

Daily mail has obtained some controversial GCSEs exam plan and Mr Gove went into meetings to discuss this matter and came up with a compromise.

Meanwhile, Mr Clegg’s right-hand man, David Laws, has been promoted to the Department of Education where he can keep an eye on Mr Gove.

The Lib Dems have secured two key concessions. First, there is more time for schools to prepare because the changes will not be implemented until 2015.

Secondly – and most importantly for Mr Clegg – there will not be a “two-tier system”.

Whether that is that the end of the story? I’m not sure.

Is it really realistic that a single exam paper can cater for children of all abilities – stretching the very brightest while giving the less able a chance?

How about students with learning disabilities, disruptive home lives, or those for whom English is a second language?

If they fail the exam, will they simply leave education without any qualifications at all?

There is a telling quote from a source in the Mail On Sunday: “Gove is determined to ensure it is much more demanding than the existing exam. Schools will be given time to raise their game and adjust to that”.

Tags: , ,
The Government Promises No Expansion To Heathrow

The Government Promises No Expansion To Heathrow

  • Posted: Sep 03, 2012
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

Foreign Secretary William Hague has ruled out a change of Government policy on a third runway at Heathrow, as reports emerged of plans for a new force runaway.

 The Government insists to keep elections promises by  continuing the expansion to Heathrow third runaway.

“That’s not something that this Government, this Coalition, will be doing,” he said.

“It’s important to make the right decision about this and study all the options.

“We said very specifically we would not be (building a third runway). Because a runway or an airport takes such a long time, this does not have an immediate effect on the economic situation now and our airport capacity now, but there are others things which do have an effect.”

The Government is consulting different companies to discover which is the best site to build a third runaway on.

It’s understood to include possible sites in Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

It will have to be constructed within 30 minutes travel of the capital.

That would likely place it on the Great Western mainline, which runs from London to Maidenhead, or on the High Speed Two rail link between the capital and Birmingham.

Conservatives wants to build a third runway in order to expend GB growth and get the deficit down. Government also want to raise demands on Heathrow and reduce congestion at busy periods of the year and build an international hub to London.

The same principles will follow in other airport around United Kingdom.

The Liberal Democrats are expected to restate their opposition to airport expansion later this month at the party’s annual conference in Brighton.

Updated on 7th September

There will be no firm decisions on UK airport expansion before the next general election, the Government has confirmed.

Tags: , ,
Lords reform Definitely Ditched

Lords reform Definitely Ditched

  • Posted: Aug 06, 2012
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

Lib Dem MPs will try to   block Conservative  plans to drive House of Lords into a different direction.

The Deputy PM has said he was dropping Lords reform after David Cameron told him Tory MPs were not prepared to support changes.

Nick Clegg said that the Tories had “broken the contract” between the coalition partners, even though his party had consistently delivered on its side of the deal.

He told a news conference in London: “The Conservative Party is not honouring the commitment to the Lords reform and, as a result, part of our contract has now been broken.

“Clearly I cannot permit a situation where Conservative rebels can pick and choose the parts of the contract they like, while Liberal Democrat MPs are bound to the entire agreement.

Nick Clegg said that the Tories had “broken the contract” between the coalition partners, even though his party had consistently delivered on its side of the deal.

He told a news conference in London: “The Conservative Party is not honouring the commitment to the Lords reform and, as a result, part of our contract has now been broken.

The coalition works on mutual respect; it is a reciprocal agreement, a two-way street. So I have told the Prime Minister that when, in due course, parliament votes on boundary changes for the 2015 election I will be instructing my party to oppose them.

He said he was dropping the Lords reform bill after David Cameron informed him that an “insufficient number” of Tory MPs were prepared to support the changes.

But he insisted that the Lib Dems would carry on in the coalition.

“The thing I care about most – the central purpose of the Liberal Democrats in this Government – is to build a fairer society,” he said.

“We will continue with that critical work. We will continue to anchor this Government firmly in the centre ground.”

Mr Clegg disclosed that he offered a “last ditch” compromise to try to save both parts of the reform programme.

Under his proposal, there would have been a referendum on Lords reform on general election day in 2015 – with both boundary changes and the first elections to the Lords deferred until 2020.

Conservative Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt described the decision as “disappointing”, but said it would not affect the two parties’ commitment to work together.

He said: “The really important thing about this coalition is that we came together to sort out the economic mess that we inherited from Labour.

“There isn’t a cigarette paper between us on that. That is what we are focused on getting the gold medal for. Nothing is going to change that focus.”

It comes after Mr Clegg dismissed claims of splits within the coalition over carbon emissions reduction as he announced a £100m investment in energy efficiency.

Speaking to an energy conference in London, he insisted ministers were “unreservedly committed” to helping the low-carbon sector and that no one in the coalition wanted to ditch the programme to de-carbonise Britain’s economy.

Environmentalists were dismayed by Chancellor George Osborne’s comment to last year’s Tory conference that, while the Government would invest in green energy, “we’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business.”

The Treasury was understood to have demanded cuts in subsidies for onshore wind power in a tussle between Mr Osborne and Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

But Mr Clegg played down the spat as “part of internal discussions and debates on the balance and sequencing of different policies that are a normal feature of any government”.

Tags: , ,