David Cameron outside 10 Downing Street on the day the Leveson report was published. Photograph: Getty Images.
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PMQs review: the shield of Leveson saves Cameron

The media inquiry and Miliband's pose with the Sun gifted victory to the PM.

If David Cameron regretted setting up the Leveson inquiry before today, he certainly doesn't now. Bombarded with a volley of questions on Andy Coulson by Ed Miliband, the PM deployed the judge's report as a shield (even wielding a physical copy), insisting that every concern raised by Miliband had already been addressed.

It was one of Cameron's most disingenuous moments. The inquiry took place while Coulson's case and others were ongoing, and so was strictly limited in the questions it could pursue. More to the point, it would never have even been established had Miliband not had Cameron "on the run" (in the words of the latter). But this did not stop it providing the PM with a means of deflecting every one of Miliband's questions.

The Labour leader reminded Cameron that he ignored successive warnings from the Guardian, Nick Clegg (sat awkwardly next to Cameron) and the New York Times over Coulson's involvement in phone-hacking. But Cameron dismissively replied that all of these issues had already been examined by Leveson - and resolved in his favour. It was a crude line of defence, but it was enough for him to hold his own in the chamber. 

Matters did not improve for Miliband when he turned to the issue of vetting. Cameron falsely claimed that Gus O'Donnell, the former cabinet secretary, was asked at the Leveson inquiry whether he raised concerns with him over Coulson's appointment, an error that Miliband was quick to pounce on. But Cameron had one trump card left to play. "I'll tell you what's weak," he declared, "Posing with a copy of the Sun only to apologise for it a few hours later." As the Tory benches cheered and their Labour counterparts grimaced, the wind left Miliband's sails. After this right hook, Miliband's technical queries on the civil service could not help sounding flat. Against expectations, Cameron ended the session on top.

The PM had had years to prepare for this moment - and it showed. It was a fluent and unwavering performance. Miliband will be widely accused of missing an "open goal", but his failure to land any memorable blows on Cameron today had more to do with the reality that much of the damage from the scandal has already been done. The line from No. 10 yesterday was that the affair has already been factored into the PM's share price. Nothing that occurred today suggests that they are wrong. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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