On the Daily Politics Soapbox

The Daily Politics invites a famous face to get on their soap box on an issue they feel passionately about.

Here are some of the films our stars have made promoting a cause close to them.

Lammy: Housing shortage is causing poverty

Labour MP David Lammy is worried that parts of the private rental sector are forcing people back into poverty

Goldacre: Publish all drug trial results

Publish all drug trial results, says Dr Ben Goldacre

UKIP: Appalling UK gives EU £55m a day

UKIP councillor Suzanne Evans on why UK should leave EU

A former Conservative leader said he "may vote no" and back the UK leaving the EU in his party's planned referendum if "we have not made significant changes" before 2017.

Howard on EU: I may well vote no

'Pensions are an issue for us all'

Pensions are for young people too says Margaret de Valois and the media has a role to play

Inflation-free plan to help older people

Prof Heinz Wolff explains the Care4Care scheme helping older people

A pressing challenge facing society is how to care for an ageing population in austere times, but a television scientist offers his own cashless solution.

MP calls for pricing and food information for shoppers

Laura Sandys: "Time the consumer had the truth"

Consumers must have more rights and better information about food and other products before they decide what to buy, an MP claims.

Poet Motion: house building, Green Belt and countryside

Andrew Motion on building homes in 'beautiful precious countryside'

CPRE president and former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion climbs on a soapbox to claim homes can be built while protecting green areas as he spoke up for England's "beautiful precious irreplaceable countryside".

Andrew Motion, Mark Harper and Own Smith on how to choose building sites

Preston bus station landmark facing demolition

John Wilson puts the case for saving the 1969 "unique and iconic" Preston bus station

Preston bus station is threatened with demolition, but campaigner John Wilson put the case for saving the 1969 "unique and iconic" structure from the wrecker's ball.

Philip Booth on government culture money

Arts funding should be reviewed as it was a "price we all have to pay" said Philip Booth, of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Arts funding should be reviewed as it was a "price we all have to pay" said Philip Booth, of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Jude Kelly: "We don't want arts for the few"

'More women needed on TV and in media'

Alice Arnold: "I want change and I want it now - no more excuses"

There should be more effort to get women on TV and in the media, says the former BBC Radio Four announcer and newsreader Alice Arnold.

Alice Arnold, Emily Thornberry and Jo Swinson on quotas for women

Price restrictions on starter homes?

Time for starter homes restrictions?

The cost of housing in Britain has led to millions of young people priced-out of buying a home of their own with millions more hoping prices remain high to prevent a slide into negative equity.

Tatchell: Equality for all, hatred of none

Peter Tatchell: Equality for all, hatred of none

Videos have appeared on the internet showing women, gay people and others in the London borough of Tower Hamlets being subjected to abuse and told to get out of "Muslim areas".

Why is there so much bad news on TV?

Why is there so much bad news on TV?

Broadcasters should look for more good news, rather than the disasters and grim happenings that lead TV bulletins, says designer Wayne Hemingway.

Cancer care 'medieval and degrading'

Lord Saatchi on cancer treatment and his Medical Innovation Bill

Lord Saatchi - best known as an advertising guru - is introducing a bill aiming to help find a cure for cancer 18 months after he lost his wife to a rare form of the disease.

PM warned to stop 'vanity' rail project

Actor Geoffrey Palmer on high speed rail plan

Actor Geoffrey Palmer claimed the HS2 rail line that would pass his home in the Chilterns would be the most expensive railway in the world, equivalent to the cost of 60 hospitals.

MPs salaries should be 'more generous'

Former civil servant Martin Narey reckons MPs should be paid more money despite the revelations which saw some in court over their expenses

Former civil servant Martin Narey reckons MPs should be paid more money despite the revelations which saw some in court over their expenses.

Simon Callow on same-sex marriage

Simon Callow: Gay marriage can't come too soon

Actor Simon Callow explains why he backs the prime minister on gay marriage and how it would "set its seal" on his love for his partner.

The case against Christmas presents

Martin Lewis: Don't give Christmas presents

Consumer finance expert Martin Lewis makes a plea to save the pennies and shorten the present list.

'It's time to limit NHS provision'

Katie Hopkins on NHS eating, smoking and drinking costs

Philip Hammond and Emily Thornberry take the opposite view to Katie Hopkins and her ideas for NHS charging

Former TV Apprentice Katie Hopkins believes people who eat, drink and smoke more than is good for them should pay more towards the NHS health care they need, as she calls for additional payments for some health services.

No black people in rural Britain?

Dwayne Fields: "I hardly ever see young people in the countryside, let alone black people"

Londoner Dwayne Fields, who has walked to the north pole and plans to venture to the south pole in a few weeks, hopes his fame could encourage other black people to explore the British countryside.

'Real work and training' needed

Long term unemployed make up a 'let-down generation' and are victims of a 'terrible double-whammy' says social entrepreneur Colin Crooks

One solution to unemployment is "real work and real training" says the social entrepreneur and author Colin Crooks, who gives his views on how to get young people back to work.

Young people lack 'basic life skills'

Colin Smith claims some young people lack the "basic life skills" required for the workplace

The chairman of the Poundland chain of shops claimed some young people lack the "basic but crucial life skills" for work, and business leaders must play their part in helping them.

HS2 rail 'will end north-south divide'

HS2 rail will end 'north-south divide', claims Pete Waterman

The HS2 rail line will end the 'north-south divide' in Britain, claims rail enthusiast Pete Waterman as he recalls how a previous upgrade made it possible for him to get from the Midlands to London in less than an hour.

Council leader Martin Tett with Pete Waterman on the HS2 rail scheme

Private schools are a 'social menace

George Monbiot: Public schools should be closed down

The environmentalist and author George Monbiot, who went to a private school, put the case for closing them down.

Why do British work such long hours?

Why do British work such long hours?

Economist Robert Skidelsky looks at John Maynard Keynes' predictions, what people want today and finds a society "obsessed with consumption"

Widow: We must stop underage drinking

Baroness Newlove speaks in Havering, east London, one of the neighbourhoods, where she has been trying to tackle anti social behaviour through community activism.

Baroness Newlove in one of the neighbourhoods where she has been trying to tackle anti-social behaviour through community action.

Ban chips on school menus, says Reid

No packed lunches or chips at school says Alex Reid

Big businesses should sponsor compulsory school meals, and packed lunches should be banned, says the former cage fighter and Celebrity Big Brother winner Alex Reid.

Subsidise local newspapers says MP

Louise Mensch MP climbs on the Daily Politics soapbox to argue for state subsidies to keep the regional press rolling

With many daily local newspapers turning into weeklies, Louise Mensch MP climbs on the Daily Politics soapbox to argue for state subsidies to keep the regional press rolling.

12p fizzy drink tax 'could save lives'

Mike Rayner is calling for a "fat tax" to get the British eating more healthily and cut back on fizzy drinks, chocolate, crisps and pasties

A University of Oxford director is calling for a "fat tax" to get the British eating more healthily and cut back on fizzy drinks, chocolate, crisps and pasties.

Don't give naval contracts to Scotland'

Portsmouth's Gerald Vernon-Jackson said it would be "really stupid" for British ships to be built outside Britain and the work should go to his city.

A council leader has argued no further UK government contracts for shipbuilding should be placed in Scotland until the independence issued has been settled.

Why 'we need an English Parliament'

Why 'we need an English Parliament'

English Democrats leader Robin Tilbook climbs on the Daily Politics Soapbox to explain why he campaigns for England to have to have its own Parliament.

London Olympics 'not worth it'

London Olympics 'not worth it'

The writer Iain Sinclair has spent decades documenting London and its edgelands and reckons the Olympic development in east London has ruined a "wonderful wasteland".

Why I donate my winter fuel money

Why I donate my winter fuel money

The former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe - who served as shadow home and health secretaries - reckons the better-off pensioners like her should donate their winter fuel payments from the government.

Lobbyists 'should not be ashamed

Lobbyists should not be ashamed, says Mark Adams

Mark Adams spoke up for the lobbying profession, claiming they had no reason to be ashamed of their work.

Older people 'not getting care they should'

Dementia care reform needed, says Rosie Boycott

Journalist Rosie Boycott called for a reform of social care for older adults as she explained what happened when her father developed dementia and ended up going into a home.

We have to change view on nuclear power'

Nuclear power needed to fight climate change says Al-Khalili

The scientist, author and broadcaster Prof Jim Al-Khalili says "we have to change our views on nuclear power" as he addressed concerns after the Fukushima plant leak in Japan.

Plumber's call to flush 50p tax rate

50p tax rate should go says plumber Charlie Mullins

The owner of a London plumbing firm explains why he thinks the 50p top tax rate is hurting British businesses.

Rugby star on fighting bullying

Rugby star on fighting bullying

Former England rugby international Ben Cohen explains why he stands up against bullying and homophobia.

Author: 'We need to share more'

Author Danny Dorling on closing gap between rich and poor

Author Danny Dorling claims the British people need to learn the lessons of the 1930s and do something about the growing gap between the super rich and everyone else.

Sam Fox's appeal to save the tigers

Sam Fox's appeal to save the tigers

Even though it's illegal, the trade in tiger parts is still taking place all over the world and Sam Fox wants this practice to end.

Monks: UK should still join euro

UK should join euro currency says ex-TUC boss John Monks

Britain should consider joining the euro currency, despite the state of the eurozone says John Monks, the former general secretary of the TUC.

Why phone-hacking could kill off PC

Why phone-hacking could kill off PCC

Former Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer claims the phone-hacking allegations could see the end of the regulatory body.

Why UK farmers need the European CAP

Why UK farmers need the European CAP

NFU vice president Gwyn Jones explains why he believes the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is needed to keep Britain farming.

Blame Churchill for Human Rights Act?

Patrick O'Flynn of the Express traces the history of the Human Rights Act back to Winston Churchill but explains why he wants it to go.

Patrick O'Flynn of the Express traces the history of the Human Rights Act back to Winston Churchill but explains why he wants it to go.

Britain 'can't afford' rising energy bills

Power bills 'inflated' for climate change

Matthew Sinclair, TaxPayers' Alliance director and author of a book on green taxes gives his take on rising energy costs and what he thinks we can and cannot afford.

Clogged airport risk to London growth

Clogged airport risk to London growth

Baroness Valentine - who speaks for London First - puts the case for further expansion at London's airports.

Gerbeau: Don't be like the French

Gerbeau: Don't be like the French

The businessman who helped make the Millennium Dome what it was, offers a French view on the wave of industrial action on this side of the Channel.

Rowntree drums up housing benefit anger

Housing benefit change could lead to cardboard city says David Rowntree

David Rowntree - drummer in the band Blur, now turned Labour activist and trainee solicitor - predicted the return of the cardboard city, with people living in boxes on the streets.

Why can't girls play football asks MP?

Why can't girls play football asks MP?

Tracey Crouch has been booted off the Parliamentary football team, because she is a woman, but the MP claimed girls and women should be encouraged to play the national sport.On the Daily Politics Soapbox

Winter fuel payment 'waste of money'

Winter fuel payments are waste of money says author Ed Howker

Author Ed Howker says the taxpayer is already paying too much to subsidise the over-60s with bus passes, winter fuel payments and free eyes tests.

Spend more on aid, says ex-army chief

Spend more on international aid, says Lord Dannatt

The former head of the British army appeals to politicians to "move to the moral high ground" and raise spending on international aid once the current economic problems are over.

MEP: UK should not bail out euro

Euro bailout: Don't send UK the bill

The Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan says the UK should wake up to how much it is paying to support the euro currency and EU countries struggling with debt.

Venture capitalist: deeper and faster cuts needed

Venture capitalist John Moulton says cuts should be deeper and go further

Venture capitalist John Moulton says economic cuts should be deeper and go further to help the UK economy.

Guide dogs refused restaurant entry

Why can't my guide dog come in?

Barring blind people with guide dogs from restaurants should be against the law argues Talksport political journalist, Sean Dilley.

English Baccalaureate not good enough - author

MG Harris on English Bacc plan

Children's author and school governor MG Harris argues the planned English Baccalaureate, with its focus on core subjects, risks marginalising less academic pupils.

Give teenagers leaving care a mentor

Olympian defends teenagers in care

Former Olympic athlete Kriss Akabusi, who grew up in care, wants the government to do to more to help teenagers in care.

Johnny Ball's climate change sums

Johnny Ball on climate fears

TV presenter Johnny Ball is known for his grasp of maths but reckons arguments from climate change campaigners don't add up.

Saira Khan in Big Society birthplace

Ex-Apprentice Saira Khan on David Cameron's Big Society project

Broadcaster and entrepreneur Saira Khan headed to David Cameron's Oxfordshire seat in Witney to give her take on the so-called Big Society.

Toyah: I have suffered ageism and sexism

Toyah battles ageism and sexism

The singer-turned-presenter Toyah Willcox explains how she has suffered ageism and sexism throughout her career.

Mosse: 'Don't shut libraries to balance books'

Save our libraries, author Kate Mosse says to councils

Author Kate Mosse explains the day of action to send a message to politicians about the campaigns to save library services.

Pete Waterman: You can't get the staff

Pete Waterman: "You can't get the staff"

Music man Peter Waterman explains how he struggles to get apprentices who can properly work at his heritage railways business.

Neil Fox's plea to end the war on motorists

Neil Fox's plea to end the war on motorists

Radio DJ Neil Fox (aka Dr Fox) thinks it is time the government delivered on its pledge to end the war on motorists.

Billie Oddie on intensive farming

Wildlife presenter Billie Oddie on intensive farming

Wildlife presenter Bill Oddie gives his take against farming methods which are popular in the US and there are plans to bring them to the UK.

'We can't afford the Falklands'

Peter Preston: UK can't afford the Falklands

Former Guardian editor Peter Preston thinks we need a bit of political bravery and admit we can no longer fund the Falkland Islands.

'Give 10% of your money to charity'

Oxford academic Toby Ord on giving his money to charity

Oxford academic Toby Ord gives everything he earns - above £18,000 - to charities in developing countries and he thinks more of us should consider giving 10% of our income to good causes.

Actor's calls for climate change aid

David Harewood on climate change

Actor David Harewood - famed for TV roles seeing him as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela on TV plus roles in Robin Hood and Doctor Who - says money must keep flowing to the world's poorest people to help them fight the effects of climate change.

Olympic athlete: save sport funding

Olypmic athlete: save sport funding

Olympic athlete Darren Campbell - who brought a gold medal back from the Athens games and a silver from Sydney - says the coalition government should re-think its plans to cut sport funding in English schools.

'Children need to be allowed to fail

Teacher Katharine Birbalsingh on her Tory conference speech

Katharine Birbalsingh was a deputy head in an inner city London school but everything changed at the Conservative Party Conference where she received a standing ovation following her speech on a "culture of excuses" in state education.

Sainsbury: 'GM food will help feed world'

Lord Sainsbury's call for GM food

Lord Sainsbury says it is time for a new debate on GM foods as he thinks they will help feed the world population estimated to reach 9bn by 2050.

Tax the rich more says Greg Philo

One-off tax on the rich to save cuts, says Greg Philo

A one-off tax on the rich in Britain should save the need for planned cuts in the economy, says Greg Philo

Sewell calls to kill off Arts Council

Art critic Brian Sewell says iis time to kill the Arts Council and replace it with Dragons Den style funding bids

'Alf Garnett' wants Harman for leader

Warren Mitchell wants Harman for leader

Warren Mitchell is unimpressed with all of the Labour Party leadership contenders and thinks acting leader Harriet Harman should carry on in the role.

John Bird: 'get radical on benefits'

Big Issue founder John Bird's makes an appeal to David Cameron about people on benefits.

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Politics Live

  1.  
    17:37: NHS guidelines BBC Radio 5 live

    Roy Lilley, a former NHS Trust chairman, tells 5live the criteria for declaring a major incident had been very tight anyway and it was highly unusual for hospitals to take this step. He said that where this criteria has been made more difficult to meet, it exposes patients to an enhanced risk of being taken into a hospital that is full and perhaps not as safe as it could be. It also "places more difficulties with the ambulance services who are queuing up outside and can not unload their patients". Additionally, it puts "more pressure on social services who are already trying to find safe places to take particularly the elderly and frail".

     
  2.  
    17:33: On 'weaponising' the NHS The Mirror

    Kevin Maguire, the associate editor of the Daily Mirror, takes David Cameron to task for his outrage over the idea of "weaponising" the NHS: "The National Health Service IS is a huge political issue. David Cameron knew that when he claimed 10 years ago he wanted to be defined by the letters NHS."

     
  3.  
    17:30: Munt on fracking resignation BBC Radio 4
    Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt

    Tessa Munt, the Liberal Democrat MP who quit her government job as an aide to business secretary Vince Cable over fracking, has been explaining why she opposes her colleagues' views. She says her mind was made up when she found out a major insurer in her constituency will not insure farmers and others against the impact of fracking. "If farmers have no choice about the fact this is going to happen under their land," she told BBC Radio 4's PM programme, "I think it's utterly unfair they're then not able to insure themselves against the impact of something somebody else is doing under their land without their say so."

     
  4.  
    17:25: TV debates BBC News Channel
    Various

    BBC chief political correspondent Vicki Young sums up the current feeling on potential TV election debates by saying that the broadcasters' latest offer has left "all sorts of parties unhappy about where we are".

    While the Greens are happy to be in the debates, the Liberal Democrats are upset they have been seemingly relegated to minor party status, and Labour is worried about the presence of the SNP. Today, the DUP learned from BBC Director-General Tony Hall that it will not be invited to take part. Many parties, she adds, are unhappy the broadcasters appear to have "bent over backward" to accommodate David Cameron's conditions.

     
  5.  
    17:24: Health outcomes BBC News Channel

    More from Frank Field. He says the growth in health spending under the last Labour government was not rewarded with much better treatment. Although he praised individual members of the NHS for their work, Mr Field said that "collectively they've not delivered on the new money with increased outcomes, with more of us being treated".

     
  6.  
    17:19: NHS funding BBC News Channel
    Frank Field

    Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead, tells the BBC's Gavin Esler that the NHS is in serious need of more money for health and social care, and says electoral debates over the NHS must focus on providing answers to two difficult questions: "How do we get the new money? And how do we spend the new money in driving through reforms?"

     
  7.  
    17:18: 'Politics down the pub'
    Chloe Smith's surgery flyer

    Chloe Smith, the Tory MP who won her Norwich North seat in a 2009 by-election, has taken to Twitter to advertise a 'politics in the pub' surgery where constituents can seek her help. The move echoes Nigel Farage's pub-based politics, but - unless there's a typo on her flyer - it seems she's planning on an all-nighter to win over voters...

     
  8.  
    17:09: Archive treat No 98: Robin Day v Enoch Powell Alex Hunt Politics editor, BBC News Online
    Robin Day interviewing Enoch Powell

    Robin Day crosses swords with Enoch Powell with counting under way ahead of the Conservative victory in the general election of 1970, questioning him on his links with the political left and his relationship with his party leader and new Prime Minister Edward Heath.

    Each day from now until 7 May we'll be bringing you a classic election clip from the BBC archives. We've already selected a fair few but do feel free to suggest some via email at alex.hunt@bbc.co.uk or via Twitter @bbcpolitics

     
  9.  
    17:08: NHS row Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    BBC political correspondent Chris Mason reports on the NHS row that has dominated the political news today.

     
  10.  
    17:07: TV debates: What the bookies think
    David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown in the 2010 leaders' debates

    Today's fresh question-marks over the proposed TV debates aren't bothering William Hill, which has cut the odds it's offering on David Cameron not participating from 11/4 to 12/5. Spokesman Graham Sharpe says: "There is a widespread feeling that Mr Cameron would really like to find a way of avoiding taking part in the tv debates as he has the most to lose if he does so, but the humiliation of potentially being represented by an empty chair is likely to result in him ultimately taking part."

     
  11.  
    16:57: Care spending down BBC Radio 5 live

    The BBC'S Nick Triggle tells 5Live that despite government funding cuts councils on average are spending proportionally more and more of their budgets on care. However, they are struggling to keep up with an ageing population. According to BBC analysis of official figures, the average spend per person in England dropped from 12-hundred pounds in 2003 - down to around 950 pounds ten years later- that's a fall of 20 per cent.

     
  12.  
    @BBCNormanS Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor

    tweets: Scottish Govt announce halt to fracking in Scotland pending consultation and public health assessment

     
  13.  
    16:56: Lessons from Greece
    Alexis Tsipras

    Carl Packman at the blog Left Foot Forward is the latest commentator to discuss "what the British left can learn from Greece", after the election victory of Syriza this week.

     
  14.  
    16:51: Afternoon lobby briefing Ben Wright Political correspondent, BBC News

    The Prime Minister's spokesman updated journalists in parliament earlier this afternoon:

    • He made clear that, to the best of his knowledge, no minister is looking at plans to move Trident from Scotland to Wales, as had been reported earlier
    • He said Britain would not be changing its position on negotiating with terrorists, after Jordan suggested it would be prepared to consider swapping an Islamic State-held hostage with a terrorist
    • And on Sinn Fein, which is reportedly being courted by Labour to help prop up a potential Ed Miliband government, he said David Cameron had not changed his view on whether Sinn Fein should take its Commons seats.
     
  15.  
    @AndrewCooper__ Conservative peer and pollster Andrew Cooper

    tweets: There is no credible rationale for including Plaid Cymru in TV debates and not DUP: 3 MPs vs 8 MPs & 168,216 votes in 2010 vs. 165,394 votes

     
  16.  
    16:50: Minimum wage
    Stuart Broad

    Yesterday England cricketer Stuart Broad faced criticism for an allegedly offensive tweet he posted about the minimum wage. The sportsman's tweet read: "I've heard if you earn minimum wage in England you're in the top 10% earners in the World. #stay #humble".

    Today, Ryan Bourne from free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs argues "that the reason why so many people are so annoyed is that this factual claim simply undermines the egalitarian arguments that the rich are the cause of our woes".

    But Zoe Williams, writing in The Guardian, says it shows "Broad has just swallowed the vindictive rhetoric on the feckless poor."

     
  17.  
    16:45: Welfare cuts

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank has delivered its verdict on the coalition's welfare reforms. Despite all the fuss over universal credit, Andrew Hood and David Phillips argue, delayed implementation means the changes have been "an evolution of the system rather than a revolution". Real terms benefit spending in 2015 is exactly the same as in 2010, at £220 billion, and is only seven per cent lower than it otherwise would have been. What's to blame for this? "An ageing population, but also weak wage growth and rising private rents," they say.

     
  18.  
    16:33: TV debates BBC News Channel

    An update from Norman Smith on the TV debates saga - BBC director general Lord Hall has written to the Democratic Unionist Party rejecting their request to be included. DUP sources have reacted with anger to the decision. They say they believe it is "very difficult to justify" the BBC's decision and are considering taking legal action over the debates. A judicial review could snarl up any deal being reached, Norman Smith warns.

     
  19.  
    16:27: Election winners
    Pound coins

    May2015.com has a guide to betting on the general election, with some advice, cautionary tales, and a few striking statistics: "The two biggest bookmakers, William Hill and Ladbrokes, both had a turnover of more than £3m in the Scottish referendum."

     
  20.  
    16:27: PMQs reaction Guido Fawkes

    Simon Carr at the Guido Fawkes blog gives his verdict on today's Prime Minister's Questions - with harsh words for David Cameron, but harsher ones for Ed Miliband.

     
  21.  
    16:26: NHS funding House of Commons Parliament

    MPs have voted against Labour's opposition amendment criticising the government's funding of the NHS. The government wins with 298 votes - a majority of 70 over the opposition's 228 MPs. The Commons swiftly moves on to its next debate - on sustainable development goals.

     
  22.  
    16:24: PMQs reaction
    PMQs

    Ed Miliband's attempt to "weaponise" the NHS, as David Cameron puts it, prompts a tongue-in-cheek analysis from Politics.co.uk's Adam Bienkov of the Labour leader's performance in wielding the weapon. "Miliband was visibly angry, aggressive and yet somehow totally unintimidating as he waved his new-found weapon around," he writes. "Perhaps he'd left the safety on, perhaps it was just a replica, but either way Cameron never seemed in the slightest danger of actually being hit."

     
  23.  
    @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Bus workers in London are to stage three fresh 24-hour strikes next month in a dispute over pay, said the Unite union.

     
  24.  
    16:23: NHS funding House of Commons Parliament
    Health minister Jane Ellison

    The debate over the NHS didn't finish when Ed Miliband sat down in PMQs - in fact in the Commons it was only just starting, as MPs have spent the afternoon debating the government's health spending. Shadow minister Liz Kendall, summing up, says the coalition has been busy "wasting three years and £3bn of taxpayers' money". Jane Ellison, the Conservative health minister, says NHS funding has risen every year since 2010. She tells the Commons: "Tough decisions were taken at the beginning of this parliament to protect the NHS budget, against the advice of the Labour Party."

     
  25.  
    16:22: Shapps on the homeless LBC

    Conservative chairman Grant Shapps was also criticised by a caller, the chairman of a homeless charity, over plans to remove jobseeker's allowance from 18 to 21-year-olds. Mr Shapps, a former housing minister, says the reason people end up on the streets is "never as black and white" as people assume. He also says he would not give cash to a homeless person because he would not know how it would be spent, saying it is better to "bring them help".

     
  26.  
    16:21: Labour health policy ITN

    ITV political editor Tom Bradby tweets, alongside a video of Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham on BBC Newsnight last night: "I usually think of Andy Burnham as a smart guy, but after listening to this I have no idea what Labour policy is."

     
  27.  
    16:19: New Tory poster
    Conservative election poster showing Miliband, Salmond and Adams

    The Conservatives have released their latest campaign poster, which will be appearing on billboards shortly. It's a variation on a theme: having warned of the possibility of a Labour-SNP coalition, the Tories have now picked up on a Sinn Fein MP's claim that his party is being pursued by Labour. The Conservative poster adds Gerry Adams' face and the Sun's headline - but Labour insists their story is untrue. "We are working towards a Labour majority government and only towards a Labour majority government," a spokesman said.

     
  28.  
    16:10: Bomb threat BBC News UK
    Daithí McKay

    The BBC has learned that police in Northern Ireland are investigating reports that a bomb has been left at the home of Sinn Féin's North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay.

    An anonymous caller contacted the MLA's Dunloy office claiming a device had been left at the family home.

     
  29.  
    16:00: Defending PMQs LBC
    Grant Shapps

    Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has been defending Prime Minister's Questions during a phone-in on LBC radio. Host Shelagh Fogarty said the exchanges on the NHS were the worst she could remember. "I'm not going to pretend it's the pinnacle of political debate," Mr Shapps replied. But he pointed to the viewing figures it attracts and added that he had a five-year waiting list of constituents wanting to come and watch. "It keeps the prime minister on his or her toes," he added.

     
  30.  
    15:52: What is a major incident?
    ambulance

    David Cameron and Ed Miliband have clashed in the Commons over the NHS, amid a row about guidance to hospitals over when they can call a "major incident". So what exactly is a major incident?

    • An internal major incident is activated when a trust is under significant pressure that is internal to the organisation - and is not the result of an external event.
    • It is a business continuity arrangement, where a decision is taken to reduce some services to support higher priority ones.
    • A major incident is a significant incident or emergency that cannot be managed within routine service arrangements.
    • It requires the implementation of special procedures and involves one or more of the emergency services, the NHS or a local authority.

    Source: NHS England - London region

     
  31.  
    15:42: 'Weaponising' policy
    George Osborne

    Amid continuing Conservative criticism of Ed Miliband for his suggestion he would "weaponise" the NHS, Paul Waugh at PoliticsHome reports that Chancellor George Osborne apparently previously used the word "weaponise" in a political context.

     
  32.  
    15:36: The SNP halts fracking

    Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing announces a moratorium on planning consent for all fracking north of the border. He's targeting the Tories rather than Labour, calling the Conservatives' plan to remove landowners' right to object to shale gas extraction "a disgrace". By contrast, he says, the Scottish government is taking a "responsible, cautious and evidence-based approach".

    Fracking in Balcombe, southern England
     
  33.  
    @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Scotland's First Minister says she'd find it "strange" if Labour refused to deal with the SNP following the election, rpts @TimReidBBC

    and

    tweets: It follows the shadow Chancellor Ed Balls remarks yesterday in which he appeared to rule out a coalition with the Scottish nationalists.

     
  34.  
    @robindbrant Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: .@UKIP give a taster of what's to come in #ge2015 manifesto with list of 100 things they'd do - link

     
  35.  
    15:09: Afghanistan service Peter Hunt Royal correspondent, BBC News
    The Queen at the Cenotaph memorial service

    The BBC's Peter Hunt tweets that Prince Charles - and not the Queen - will attend a service in March commemorating the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. The Queen, in 2009, attended a service marking the end of combat operations in Iraq.

    Earlier today in the House of Commons, David Cameron announced the service would take place on 13 March.

     
  36.  
    15:01: Consensus collapsing? The Guardian

    George Monbiot writes in The Guardian that the rise of more left-wing parties across Europe - such as Syriza and the Scottish National Party - heralds the "sudden death of the neoliberal consensus". He claims: "If people voted for what they wanted, the Greens would be the party of government."

    Natalie Bennett and Green Party supporters
     
  37.  
    14:51: Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, speaking before the apology, described Lord Wigley's remarks - comparing the Trident base on the Clyde to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz - as "offensive". Mr Carmichael said the Welsh nationalist peer's comments were offensive to those who died and to those who worked at the Faslane naval base.

     
  38.  
    14:43: PMQs reaction The Spectator

    The Spectator's political editor James Forsyth says that, with little of substance said between the party leaders, "at the end of PMQs, politics was in the same place as it was at the start" - and this suits David Cameron and the Conservatives, who are "now convinced that events are moving their way".

     
  39.  
    14:35: If I were PM... The Independent
    10 Downing Street

    The Independent is counting down the days to the general election by inviting one contributor every day to describe what he or she would do as prime minister. Political commentator John Rentoul was first up yesterday, saying he'd be like "a free-market version of Natalie Bennett".

    Today it's the turn of Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

     
  40.  
    14:31: House of Commons Parliament

    Over in the House of Commons, the debate on government spending on the NHS is - quite predictably - proving to be a tetchy session. Health minister Dr Daniel Poulter is batting for the government, but there are lots of shouts being directed at him from sedentary positions on the Labour benches.

    House of Commons wide shot
     
  41.  
    14:25: Election battlegrounds The Daily Telegraph
    David Cameron and Ed Miliband

    Over at The Telegraph, James Kirkup provides a brief summary of the issues set to dominate the election - from the NHS and the economy to housing and "Dave vs Ed".

     
  42.  
    14:22: Auschwitz comments

    Comments made by Ex-Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley (pictured) comparing the Trident base in Scotland to Auschwitz concentration camp are branded "crass" and "offensive" by Conservative former Wales Secretary, David Jones. Mr Jones, Clwyd West MP, says it is right the peer apologised, albeit in a "mealy-mouthed" way. He says it was "not appropriate at any time" to use Auschwitz to make political points, "but to say it at Holocaust memorial time is even worse".

    Ex-Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley
     
  43.  
    @TimReidBBC Tim Reid, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Nicola Sturgeon says Europe at heart of SNP election campaign - party will seek future vote that EU exit only poss if all 4 nations agree

     
  44.  
    14:14: PMQs reaction The Mirror

    At the Mirror online, Sunday People political editor Nigel Nelson sketches a frustrating bout between David Cameron and Ed Miliband: "The PM has adopted a curious habit for these sessions of late. Whatever the Labour leader asks, Mr Cameron answers an entirely different question."

     
  45.  
    14:08: NHS major incidents BBC News Channel

    Commenting on the new guidelines given in the West Midlands, former NHS Trust chairman Roy Lilley says they are "sensible but... very tough". He says it is clear the timing is to do with the forthcoming general election "because the more hospitals that go in to declaring a major emergency the more embarrassing it gets for the government". But he says it puts hospitals in a "very difficult place" as the harder it becomes to declare a major incident, the greater the "risk" in delivering services.

     
  46.  
    13:58: PMQs reaction

    Something about today's PMQs seems to have got a lot of commentators rather frustrated. Mark Ferguson of the LabourList blog tweets: "I hate having to watch PMQs. Worst part of the job. Writing about this turgid nonsense is like drowning in nonsense." Mehdi Hasan, the Huffington Post UK's political director, is just as desperate in his tweet: "Completely pointless and childish #pmqs today. Seems to get worse each week. British politics at its most dire and unappealing."

     
  47.  
    13:56: Lord Wigley's statement Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Lord Wigley has apologised for his remarks about Auschwitz. He said he was sorry if his remarks were open to misinterpretation. In a statement he said: "I am certainly sorry if my remarks were open to any misinterpretation and I apologise for any offence that has been caused. The point I was trying to make was that you can't have jobs at any cost and I reiterate that."

     
  48.  
    13:55: Apology for Auschwitz comments

    Plaid Cymru peer Lord Wigley has apologised for "any offence caused" after he compared the effects of a Trident submarine base to a Nazi death camp. Here's our story about his original comments which came on BBC Radio 4's World at One.

     
  49.  
    13:53: NHS strike in N Ireland

    A strike by NHS workers in Northern Ireland, including ambulance staff, is to go ahead tomorrow after the "failure" to match a pay offer in England, the GMB union has said.

     
  50.  
    13:48: TV debates The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Turning to the TV election debates, Lib Dem minister Simon Hughes predicts that they probably won't go ahead - but tells the World at One that the Lib Dems want them to. He says the situation has shifted from the initial proposition - which didn't allow the Lib Dems to put their case "equally" as a party of government - to a position where there are so many prospective players "it becomes a very difficult place". He adds that the Tories and Labour are now saying they're not happy unless the Northern Ireland parties are involved - but questions whether including a further three or four parties is realistic. "Honest judgement, money on it, I think probably they won't but we would like them to as long as there is fair treatment for us and others."

     
  51.  
    13:40: PMQs verdict New Statesman

    Over at the New Statesman, George Eaton judges David Cameron's "chutzpah" to have carried him over the line in this week's PMQs. "The session descended into one of the ugliest encounters yet between the two men," he writes, before notching up yet another defeat for Ed Miliband: "Most voters will notice Miliband's equivocation and the rhetorical exaggerations that Cameron provokes... the PM's ruthless form was testimony to his increasing confidence."

     
  52.  
    13:39: MoD... golf courses?

    Defence secretary Michael Fallon has raised eyebrows during his speech at the Institute of Government by revealing the Ministry of Defence owns 15 golf courses. After confirming his department needs to make more efficiency savings in the coming years, he suggested further cuts were essential. "How many cars and vehicles do we really need?" the Daily Mail quoted him as saying. "And does MoD really need to own 15 golf courses?"

    Michael Fallon
     
  53.  
    13:30: 'Weaponise the NHS'? The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Pressed over whether Ed Miliband said he wanted to "weaponise" the NHS, shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker says Labour will prioritise the health service because that, he says, is what the public wants.

     
  54.  
    13:28: Major incidents rules The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Asked about the guidance given to hospitals over when they call "major incidents", Lib Dem Justice Minister Simon Hughes tells Radio 4's World at One programme it seems "entirely sensible". Conservative minister Mark Harper says the document was issued by the NHS in West Midlands and ministers had nothing to do with it. He acknowledges there are "unprecedented pressures" on the NHS and says only a strong economy can deliver a sustainable NHS.

     
  55.  
    13:17: 'What is NHS England's involvement?' House of Commons Parliament

    Finally, Labour MP Clive Efford asks "what is NHS England's involvement?" in the guidance on major incidents. Jeremy Hunt says he is "quoting selectively" from the guidance. When a local health body makes a decision on a major incident, "it must make sure there isn't going to be a negative impact on the wider economy because patients must come first".

     
  56.  
    13:16: Conservatives reject 'war on Wales' charge Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    In the post-PMQs briefing, the Conservatives say Ed Miliband's claim the PM was mounting a "war on Wales" was an "extraordinary comment to make". PM was "absolutely right" to highlight problems in Welsh NHS, they add.

     
  57.  
    13:13: 'Rely on professionals' House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MP Stephen Mosley says ministers should "rely on local health professionals to make the best choices". Jeremy Hunt agrees. "We don't want an NHS where every single operational decision is taken from behind the health secretary's desk," he tells the House, claiming that this approach will keep politics out.

     
  58.  
    13:07: 'My duty to weaponise NHS' House of Commons Parliament

    Labour MP Barry Sheerman says "it is my duty as a member of the opposition to weaponise" the NHS.

    He argues that Labour needs to win the election and stop the government's "disgraceful policies".

    Jeremy Hunt replies that "there are too many on the Labour side who think exactly like that".

     
  59.  
    13:04: TV debates Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Pollster Ben Page of Ipsos Mori, interviewed on the Daily Politics, says the televised election debates are "almost certain" to happen. He says voters aren't particularly bothered, "to be honest", about the to-and-fro over their exact format which is getting Westminster types so worked up. But he accepts David Cameron is doing well in negotiating to ensure the debates that suit him best.

     
  60.  
    13:03: 'One of the first' House of Commons Parliament

    Labour's David Winnick says Walsall Manor Hospital was "one of the first to declare a major incident" over demand in its A&E department. The Walsall North MP calls on the health secretary not to "minimise" the problems.

     
  61.  
    13:02: Ammunition for Labour Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Norman Smith says the fact the NHS document at the centre of today's exchanges refers to local politics and the media will give Labour ammunition with which to maintain their claims that hospitals are being put under political pressure to avoid calling major incidents.

     
  62.  
    13:00: Breaking News Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    The former leader of Plaid Cymru has compared the Trident base on the Clyde to Auschwitz in an interview with the BBC. Lord Wigley's comments come the day after events across Europe to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi camps.

    Asked about a report that the Trident base could be moved to Wales, Lord Wigley said: "No doubt there were many jobs provided in Auschwitz and places like that but that didn't justify their existence and neither does nuclear weapons justify having them in Pembrokeshire."He is currently Plaid Cymru's general election coordinator.

    (You can listen to the interview on BBC Radio 4's World at One, via the Live Coverage tab on this page.)

     
  63.  
    12:59: Women in politics Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    With a pic of New Labour's 'Blair babes' in the background, the Daily Politics is now looking at the issue of getting more women into Parliament. As Caroline Flint points out, Labour has more women MPs and ethnic minority MPs than all the other parties put together. But she adds: "There was positive discrimination going in favour of men in my party and in other parties for many, many years." David Willetts accepts the Conservatives "need to make more progress" - but says he hopes there will be many more Tory women in Parliament after the election.

    Daily Politics on women in politics
     
  64.  
    12:58: 'Not seen that way' House of Commons Parliament

    Gisela Stuart, the Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, says that Jeremy Hunt's argument that the decision to declare a major incident is purely operational "is not seen that way on the ground". Mr Hunt insists that the decision "must be taken locally".

     
  65.  
    @bbcnickrobinson Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor

    tweets: Real NHS story is not who said what about it but who will do what to strengthen an NHS under real pressure in future #pmqs

     
  66.  
    12:53: In Pictures: Prime Minister's Questions
    PMQs
    PMQs
    PMQs
    PMQs
    PMQs
    PMQs
    PMQs
     
  67.  
    12:54: Listening to the doctors Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    On the Daily Politics, Conservative ex-minister David Willetts is debating how to improve the NHS with shadow energy and climate change secretary, Caroline Flint. He says that medical advice often suggests raising standards of care means there should be fewer A&E departments - with the inevitable result that A&E gets politicised. She replies by saying that "on one level they may say that, but too often that is said out of the context" - and that doctors have to focus on prevention as well as cure.

     
  68.  
    12:53: Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Norman Smith says: "If anyone was in any doubt that the NHS was the top issue in the campaign currently, they just need to look at today's PMQs and following Emergency Question." Earlier this week a BBC/Populus poll suggested that people think the NHS is the most important issue to be covered by the news ahead of the election. The NHS came ahead of the economy, immigration, welfare and jobs.

     
  69.  
    12:50: 'Leaning from on high' House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Health Select Committee, asks for reassurance that "the secretary of state will never lean on operation decision-making". Mr Hunt says "that kind of leaning from on high" happened under Labour rather than under the present government.

     
  70.  
    12:47: 'A new low' House of Commons Parliament

    Jeremy Hunt says that Labour's "desperate desire to weaponise the NHS" means the opposition has reached "a new low". He accuses Labour of "focusing not on patients but on politics".

     
  71.  
    12:45: 'Called into question' House of Commons Parliament

    Andy Burnham says the NHS guidance he has seen means "the claims that this is purely local is called into question right now".

     
  72.  
    12:45: Keeping the backbenchers happy James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    James Landale says Conservative MPs will be "relatively happy" with the PM's performance because he has "muddied the waters" on the NHS. "It was interesting the prime minister didn't directly refer to Alan Milburn, the former Labour health secretary's criticisms - he chose not to get into that debate. Instead he focused on the phrase 'weaponise' and on Wales again and again. As long as the Tories feel they have something to say about the issue, they'll probably be content."

     
  73.  
    13:17: Pienaar's verdict BBC Radio 5 live

    John Pienaar tells 5Live there were no great revelations in today's PMQs. He said in the run up to the elections, the sessions will become more about political campaigning and bashing the other side rather than presenting options and alternatives. He expects more information about parties' policies will emerge through the media.

     
  74.  
    12:44: Andy Burnham urgent question House of Commons Parliament

    Andy Burnham says Mr Hunt's claim "does not appear to be entirely accurate". The shadow health secretary claims that "major incidents should be agreed with the director on call with NHS England".

     
  75.  
    12:41: 'Local issue' House of Commons Parliament

    MPs can use urgent questions to require a minister to make a statement to the House at short notice. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says: "We have been brought here to discuss a local operational issue" which, he claims, Labour is trying to "spin". He adds: "The decision to declare a major incident is taken locally."

     
  76.  
    12:39: Commemoration service House of Commons Parliament

    David Cameron says the special commemorative event will be held at St Paul's Cathedral on 13 March to mark the end of British combat operations in Afghanistan.

     
  77.  
    12:39: Urgent question on the NHS House of Commons Parliament

    PMQs ends and now shadow health secretary Andy Burnham puts an urgent question to the government. He asks Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to make a statement on what guidance has been issued by NHS England on declaring a major incident.

     
  78.  
    @robindbrant Robin Brant, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: .@David_Cameron reveals there will be a special service at St Pauls and parade in March to mark end of UK military role in Afghanis

     
  79.  
    @paulwaugh Paul Waugh, PoliticsHome editor

    tweets: Cameron in supremely confident mood. Now even getting gag out of his chat with Greek PM: "I asked him what his long term economic plan was"

     
  80.  
    12:38: Greece's new PM House of Commons Parliament

    Jeremy Corbyn wants to know if David Cameron's had time to congratulate the new Greek prime minister - and help Greece write off their debt. The PM says he has had the "privilege" of speaking to Alexis Tsipras, and adds: "I asked him what his long-term economic plan was." That gets a lot of laughter from the government benches.

     
  81.  
    @anntreneman Ann Treneman, political sketchwriter

    tweets: Dave's voice is going on strike I think. This makes me wonder if Dave's frog in his throat is labour supporting

     
  82.  
    12:33: Trident 'not moving'

    The Ministry of Defence releases a statement saying: "Today's Scottish Daily Mail inaccurately reports that Ministry of Defence officials are examining plans to move Britain's nuclear-armed submarines from Scotland to Wales. The MOD is fully committed to retaining the deterrent on the Clyde and indeed we are basing all our submarines there from 2020. We can be very clear the MOD is therefore not planning to move the nuclear deterrent from HM Naval Base Clyde to Wales, or anywhere else."

     
  83.  
    12:33: House of Commons Parliament

    Conservative MPs cheer the mention of the party's "long-term economic plan" catchphrase by Lancashire and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw, who asks about support for coastal communities.

     
  84.  
    @ShippersUnbound Tim Shipman, Sunday Times political editor

    Tweets: In the House that felt like 4-2 to Cameron. On television I suspect it was 4-2 to Miliband. So I'm going 3-3. More hot air than light

     
  85.  
    12:29: Hinchingbrooke hospital House of Commons Parliament

    Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert raises the privately-run Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire. Mr Cameron says Labour is in confusion over the extent of private sector involvement in the NHS.

     
  86.  
    12:27: A whisper in Cameron's ear House of Commons Parliament

    George Osborne has a habit of whispering advice to the prime minister as questions are asked, and this week is no exception. He's leaned forward, unlike every other Cabinet frontbencher, throughout these exchanges so he can get past Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers to give Cameron hints.

    David Cameron answers questions at PMQs - with help from George Osborne
     
  87.  
    @nicholaswatt Nicholas Watt, Guardian chief political correspondent

    Tweets: Will @David_Cameron's voice last till end of PMQs

     
  88.  
    Vicki Young, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: Felt like both Cameron and Miliband went off script at #PMQs as they yelled at each other about NHS. Cam's voice croaky from shouting

     
  89.  
    12:25: Skinner on food banks House of Commons Parliament

    Labour veteran Dennis Skinner asks David Cameron to apologise to people using food banks, on "zero hours" contracts and using payday loans. Mr Cameron says the government has acted on food banks and zero hours contracts, and uses the question to mention criticism of Labour election tactics from former Labour ministers Alan Milburn and John Hutton in this morning's papers.

     
  90.  
    @bbcnickrobinson Nick Robinson, BBC Political Editor

    tweets: Small irony. Watching from my sickbed as PM tries to shield himself on NHS by quoting my "weaponise" report. Time for an aspirin! :) #pmqs

     
  91.  
    @MSmithsonPB Mike Smithson, Political Betting

    Tweets: Today's #PMQs is the best argument against having TV debates. This is dire.

     
  92.  
    @Kevin_Maguire Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor

    Tweets; Miliband let Cameron off the hook for breaking promises by shutting NHS units. Won't keep that #pmqs in his video highlights

     
  93.  
    @thomasbrake Tom Brake, Lib Dem MP

    tweets: #pmqs nhs centre stage. All that was missing was a reference to #savesthelier.

     
  94.  
    @andybell5news Andy Bell, Channel 5 News political editor

    tweets: Win for Cameron - Miiband failed to make new #NHS attack stick after NHS England shot it down - also still vulnerable on the w word

     
  95.  
    12:19: Stuck in the middle? House of Commons Parliament

    Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Gilbert is next up after the prime minister's tussle with Ed Miliband. He invokes Stealers Wheel hit Stuck in the Middle with You, saying there are "clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right".

     
  96.  
    Robin Brant, BBC Political Correspondent

    tweets: Did I just hear correctly, @Ed_Miliband accused PM of having a 'war on wales' ?

     
  97.  
    12:17: Leaders clash House of Commons Parliament

    More angry exchanges between the leaders. After David Cameron calls the Opposition "completely useless", Mr Milband says there are "99 days to kick out a prime minister who has broken all his promises on the NHS".

     
  98.  
    @iainmartin1 Iain Martin, political journalist

    Even by the standards of #PMQs this is dire.

     
  99.  
    @ShippersUnbound 12:16: Tim Shipman, Sunday Times political editor

    Tweets: Michael Gove doing a good impersonation of the Churchill dog, nodding judiciously as Dave speaks

     
  100.  
    @DavidJonesMP 12:15: David Jones, Conservative MP

    tweets: Remarkably, Miliband raises Welsh NHS; silly, silly.

     

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