Diary: Pickles flies the flag

Communities secretary Eric Pickles, a minister responsible for more flag-related announcements than any Diary can remember, was quick to add to Emily Thornberry's misery, after she quit the shadow cabinet when her tweet of a house in Strood draped with England flags caused controversy.

Pickles said: "We should have pride in flying the Cross of St George."

But a cheeky post on Martin Goodall's Planning Law Blog suggests that Strood's white van man may be "liable to prosecution for a breach of some quite strict planning rules as to how flags may be displayed".

He wrote: "If an ambitious enforcement officer wants to make a name for themselves, the opportunity is presented by a possible prosecution under section 224(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990."

The inspector leading the examination of Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project has stepped down, apparently to seek public office. The Planning Inspectorate said Gideon Amos had stepped down from the five-strong panel "to pursue other areas of work, potentially including public office".

Planning lawyer Angus Walker noted on his blog that "this is the first time that an inspector has stepped down from a panel during consideration of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project".

Amos, former Town and Country Planning Association chief executive, is being urged to stand for the Lib Dems in Taunton Deane at the general election, the local press says.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson has hit back at criticism by Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall of plans to sell Sefton Park Meadows. Liverpool-born Cattrall played there as a girl and says plans to build on Park Avenue would "encroach on the people's land", reports claim.

But Anderson thundered: "It's all very well for a Hollywood superstar to shout from the sidelines, but what does she really know of the issues? She may have played in Sefton Park when she lived there, but she left."

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