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Cover-up row over Coalition 'audit of failures'

David Cameron's Government has been humiliatingly forced to publish a mid-term "failure audit" amid accusations of a cover-up.

The document details dozens of key pledges missed or abandoned by the Tory-LibDem Coalition.

Opposition parties accused ministers of omitting a series of their most damaging broken promises, included its target that debt should be falling as a share of GDP by 2015-16.

Labour also released its own "audit of broken promises", listing 40 areas where it said the Coalition had failed.

But there was a damaging political row about the way the existence of the document, an annex to the Coalition's much-heralded mid-term review earlier this week, emerged.

No 10 spent much of yesterday insisting that it had always planned to release the 119-page paper.

But it was made public only after a key Downing Street aide was photographed holding a piece of paper that warned publishing the audit would lead to a slew of negative headlines.

Pressed on the issue in the Commons, Mr Cameron insisted the audit would be open and transparent.

No 10 said it had always been the plan for the audit to be published separately.

And it said the document – described as "fact dense" – had not been ready to be released on Monday.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman said the document showed the Government had had success or was making progress on the vast majority of its commitments.

He also defended the fact the audit made no mention of the economy's slip back into recession or increased borrowing, saying the document had never been intended to look at those issues.

Labour's vice-chairman Michael Dugher said: "It turns out that the document David Cameron tried and failed to cover up is now itself a cover-up.

"There's no mention of his Government's failure on growth, of the double-dip recession or of £212 billion extra borrowing.

"It tries to gloss over David Cameron's broken promises on the £3 billion NHS reorganisation and 7000 fewer nurses, and doesn't even mention his tax cut worth £107,000 for 8000 millionaires while millions of hard-working families on low and middle incomes are paying more.

"This is a Government that lurches from failure to fiasco. They promised change but things are getting worse, not better, and they stand up for the wrong people."

Among the failures the Coalition admitted to include the postponement of the proposed badger cull to help control bovine TB and a vote to repeal the hunting ban.

Ministers also said that a commitment to replace air passenger duty with a per-flight duty had been dropped due to concerns over "legality and feasibility".

Among others on the list was a pledge to give defendants in rape cases anonymity, a policy dropped after an independent assessment found there was insufficient evidence to back such a change.

The document itself did not number how many of the Coalition's pledges had been missed since ministers came to power in 2010.

But analysis suggested the figure ran to dozens.

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