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Webspace to air David Miliband's views

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David Miliband has prompted a heated debate by becoming the first government minister to launch his own blog.

It is hosted by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, where Miliband is Communities and Local Government Minister.

Miliband says the aim of the blog is to "help bridge the gap – the growing and potentially dangerous gap – between politicians and the public".

It will be monitored by the independent Hansard Society as part of a Department for Constitutional Affairs pilot investigating the way central government uses ICT to communicate with the public.

Miliband has been experimenting with the blog within his department since the beginning of the year, but it only went live at the end of last week.

Because it is being run as part of an official government site, Miliband said it would focus on his ministerial duties and not "lapse into party ranting" or link to other party political sites.

But the minister’s inaugural blog has already drawn criticism from respondents.

One, 'Harry', said: "If you intend this to be a personal blog why are you using your Government Department's website? How much civil service time is spent drafting/vetting your 'personal' comments? Doing this via a Government website is a misuse of the taxpayers money and also renders the claim of it being a genuinely personal blog suspect."

Another, John Zims, wrote: "Another New Labour gimmick/ego trip with the taxpayer picking up the bill."

And Kingston councillor and blogger Mary Reid questioned how Miliband would write a blog without being political.

She said: "Would his blog become political if he mentions the Labour Party by name? What about endorsing Labour Party policies? Or does it only become political if he comments on the views of other parties?"

But if Miliband does become "political", Reid said she would be "celebrating any small step that he takes to give dignity to political activity".

Read the blog here.

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