Nigel Dodds sets out DUP's demands

Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds is the DUP's leader at Westminster

The Westminster leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party has said an Ed Miliband government would have to offer a European referendum in exchange for the support of DUP MPs in the event of a hung parliament.

He also indicated the DUP rules out any coalition involving the SNP.

As election forecasts continue to indicate the next election may produce another hung parliament, this time requiring not just two parties to provide a Commons majority but possibly three, Nigel Dodds set out the party's thinking on the prospect.

He told BBC Newsnight the party "potentially has a very strong hand".

The DUP is currently the fourth largest in the Commons with eight seats.

Read full article Nigel Dodds sets out DUP's demands

Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe 'scared' by Labour approach

Simon Woodroffe

The founder of restaurant chain Yo! Sushi says the Labour Party's approach to business "scares" him.

Simon Woodroffe, who appeared in a 2004 Labour political broadcast, said he worried that the party had chosen a populist anti-business message.

Read full article Yo! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe 'scared' by Labour approach

Lord Darzi: Labour wrong to rule out private NHS care

Lord Darzi

A former Labour health minister has told the BBC it is irrelevant whether NHS care is delivered by the private or the public sector.

Lord Darzi said the NHS should prefer providers who deliver the highest quality care - whether they are "public, private or not-for-profit".

Read full article Lord Darzi: Labour wrong to rule out private NHS care

Lib Dems push for early 2015 Budget to stop Tory 'giveaway'

George Osborne with Budget dispatch box
George Osborne normally announces his Budget in March

The Lib Dems want the 2015 Budget to be brought forward to stop the chancellor using it as a pre-general election giveaway, BBC Newsnight understands.

They will push for a February Budget, instead of one in March, in a bid to deny George Osborne a moment similar to Nigel Lawson's 1987 pre-election cut in the basic rate of tax, from 29% to 27%.

Read full article Lib Dems push for early 2015 Budget to stop Tory 'giveaway'

Lib Dems 'ignored chance to soften bedroom benefits cut impact'

Row of terraced houses
The policy is known as the "spare room subsidy" by supporters...

The Lib Dems were given the chance in March to soften the impact of benefit cuts for people judged to have too many bedrooms, BBC Newsnight has been told.

As Nick Clegg's party announces it will seek to change the policy in this coalition, or pledge to do so in its next manifesto, Newsnight understands there was an opportunity within government for the Lib Dems to amend the policy four months ago.

Read full article Lib Dems 'ignored chance to soften bedroom benefits cut impact'

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Lib Dems accused of 'hypocrisy' over bedroom benefit rules

The Lib Dems were given the chance in March to soften the impact of benefit cuts for people judged to have too many bedrooms, BBC Newsnight has been told. As Nick Clegg's party announces it will seek to change the policy in this coalition, or pledge to do so in its next manifesto, Newsnight understands there was an opportunity within government for the Lib Dems to amend the policy four months ago.

Read full article Lib Dems accused of 'hypocrisy' over bedroom benefit rules

Francis Maude attacks civil service over job document

Whitehall sign

The Cabinet Office minister has accused the civil service of drafting a job description for permanent secretaries without "constitutional propriety".

The document sets out the qualities for permanent secretaries, who are the UK's most powerful government officials.

Read full article Francis Maude attacks civil service over job document

Ministers warned of decrease in house building

Work on a new housing development
The PM said in January that new housing starts were up 16%

The government is exploring emergency measures to kick-start house-building, amid an expected decrease in new build this year, BBC Newsnight has learned.

In leaked documents, officials warn the last set of figures before the 2015 general election will reveal house building to have decreased by 4%.

Read full article Ministers warned of decrease in house building

A pregnant pause

  • 26 November 2013
  • From the section World

Newsnight's political editor is currently on maternity leave and this blog will not be updated for a while.

Read full article A pregnant pause

Plan to divert benefits of troubled families scrapped

Boy on bike rides past boarded-up shop
The Troubled Families Programme was launched in the wake of the England riots

A plan to put benefits paid to some of Britain's most troubled families under their caseworker's control has been shelved, BBC Newsnight has learned.

The Downing Street Conservative Policy Unit wanted to give managers of the Troubled Families Programme more power to prevent the misuse of payments.

Read full article Plan to divert benefits of troubled families scrapped