by Ray Fleming

IF David Cameron's government can make a mess of things it seems sure to do so. The handling of the mid-term review of progress on policy priorities published on Monday was open to question since in the past such reviews have normally been presented to Parliament where they can be the subject of immediate comment from the Opposition and backbenchers of all parties. Mr Cameron seems to prefer making statements in forums he can control -- for instance Downing Street press conferences where there are rules about how far questioners can press their point. There was another problem about the review -- it was published without an Annexe setting out the nearly four hundred policy pledges made by the Lib-Con coalition and assessing progress made with each of them. The existence of this annexe became known only because a document analysing the advantages and disadvantages of publishing it was photographed as an aide walked into No 10 Downing Street with it in full view. This led to Mr Cameron's PMQ promise yesterday to publish an “unvarnished and frank” version. The Daily Telegraph has been following this mess-up closely and believes that between 70 and 80 of the 390 pledges have not been kept. There may be good reasons in some cases but because of poor handling the annexe will get much tougher scrutiny than might otherwise have been the case.

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