Ed Miliband hits back at energy firms over prices plan

 

Ed Miliband: ''We've got to tackle the cost-of-living crisis''

Ed Miliband would "take action" against energy companies if they defied a Labour government by raising prices ahead of his promised freeze.

The Labour leader has pledged gas and electricity bills would not go up for 20 months if he wins the 2015 election.

It has been welcomed by consumer groups angry at price hikes over recent years, but the "big six" suppliers warned it could have serious consequences.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey, a Lib Dem, said it risked "the lights going out".

Mr Miliband told the BBC the UK had "a market that isn't working" and, as the row between Labour and the energy firms escalated, he dismissed them as "unreliable witnesses" after they claimed possible blackouts.

He has written to the big six suppliers warning that without changes, taxpayer-funded guarantees to energy firms might not be sustainable.

The plan for a freeze on household and business energy bills between June 2015 and the start of 2017 was the stand-out announcement of Mr Miliband's party conference speech on Tuesday.

'Overcharging'

The Labour leader argued firms had been "overcharging" customers for many years and millions of households would benefit from the temporary cap on prices at a time when finances were under acute pressure and many were struggling to heat their homes.

Labour says the move will save average households £120 a year and businesses £1,800.

When the lights went out - the BBC reports on California's energy blackouts in 2001

Mr Miliband insisted he wanted energy suppliers to be successful and to continue to invest in new capacity to supply the UK's long-term energy needs.

But he said "public consent" for these arrangements depended on consumers getting a fair deal and that could happen only if the energy market was totally restructured to separate firms' generating and retail operations.

'Patently absurd'

Speaking to BBC News he said: "I've written a letter to [the energy companies] this morning saying there's a crisis of confidence in the system.

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"It's time we fixed it and they can either choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. I hope they choose to be part of the solution."

Rebutting claims that to protect their profits, suppliers would merely put their prices up ahead of Labour's freeze, Mr Miliband said he would "make sure this is a genuine freeze that works for consumers".

"If we have to take action to make sure that happens, we absolutely will."

The party has rejected suggestions the cap, which could cost energy firms £4.5bn, will endanger much-needed investment in new plants, saying suppliers should be able to absorb the cost of the freeze out of recent profits.

Responding to suggestions the policy could lead to energy blackouts, Mr Miliband accused the industry of spreading "scare stories".

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna added the claims were "patently absurd" and "nonsense" put about by the large energy companies.

Since 2007, gas bills have risen by an average of 41% in real terms, while electricity has gone up by 20%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Energy profits

The "big six" - British Gas, EDF, E.On, npower, Scottish Power, SSE - made total net profits of:

2009: £2.15bn

2010: £2.22bn

2011: £3.87bn

2012: £3.74bn

This has contributed to overall industry profits of £2.15bn in 2009, £2.22bn in 2010, £3.87bn in 2011 and £3.74bn in 2012.

But suppliers say prices have gone up to cover their rising environmental and social obligations and in response to commodity price rises - sums paid on wholesale markets.

Speaking at a fringe meeting on Tuesday evening, a senior British Gas executive suggested such a direct price intervention could "threaten energy security in the UK".

"If we have no ability to control what we did with the retail prices, and that (wholesale price volatility) was to happen again, it would mean we are selling products at significant amounts of a loss and that would threaten energy security in the UK," said Ian Peters.

Asked whether it could mean "the lights could go off" he replied: "I think that is a risk."

'Economic ruin'

Energy UK, the trade body representing the six largest energy firms, has described the price freeze as "superficially attractive" but suggested it could bring a halt to future infrastructure projects.

Chief executive Angela Knight said: "It will also freeze the money to build and renew power stations, freeze the jobs and livelihoods of the 600,000-plus people dependent on the energy industry and make the prospect of energy shortages a reality, pushing up the prices for everyone."

Centrica's boss warns that the plan could lead to firms' "economic ruin"

And the chairman of Centrica - British Gas's holding company - said a firm unable to control either its costs or its prices was potentially in danger of "economic ruin".

"We are all concerned about rising prices and the impact on consumers, but we also have a very real responsibility that we find supplies to make sure the lights stay on," Sir Roger Carr said.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: "Fixing prices in this way risks blackouts, jeopardises jobs and puts investment in clean, green technology in doubt.

"Ed Miliband made a significant contribution to tackling climate change with the 2008 Climate Change Act. But he is putting this all at risk with his ill thought through plan which will put off investors in low carbon power generation."

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme whether a Labour government would step in if a firm went bust, Mr Miliband said: "That's not going to happen."

But he added: "Of course if there was a major shock, companies could make their case."

Energy regulator Ofgem, which Labour plans to replace after 2015, has suggested legislation would need to be passed to change pricing arrangements.

In his speech, Mr Miliband also promised Labour would build 200,000 new homes a year by 2020 and enfranchise 16 and 17 year olds.

 

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  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1366.

    Come on Ed, forget the price cap on energy prices.
    Have you seen the price of beer and fags these days.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1365.

    // riff77

    My, my but Mr. Milliband has the torykippertarians upset....and a lot of repeating of lies and myths, accompanied by ridiculous comparisons with the 1970s.//

    No, and despite your assertions, the vast majority of people here, in the rest of the developed and developing worlds, enjoy unprecedentedly high standard of living.

    Labour fouled up in the 70's and the 2000's. They're crap.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1364.

    @1084 JPatrick I believe Swedish winters are colder than UK ones?
    @126 NeilD42 Do you prefer unsustainable energy?

    Let's not be defined by the worst performers.

    I think the gauntlet has been been well and truly laid down for the energy firms to provide the evidence behind their assertion that this will lead to black-outs etc.

    Otherwise it is blatant scare-mongering to protect profit margins!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1363.

    This policy announcement pretty much sums up Milliband ....... utterly clueless on Global issues and goes to show why we should NEVER trust Labour again !!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1362.

    the UK has some of lowest energy bills in the developed world, so why do we think we can get it cheaper?
    The problem is our priorities has changed, every one says the energy Bills are to high, yet Sky TV and Vodafone made more in profit that most of the big 6. Maybe we should be questioning our priorities on what we spend money, sky, cigarettes, ready meals, alcohol, mobiles, cars etc.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1361.

    I would like miliband to explain why huge numbers of diesel generators are being installed all across the country to keep the lights on in winter?Also to recognise that some of the cost increases are their own 'green' taxes along with the major costs of closing perfectly good coal fired power stations .... just because the eu say's so!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1360.

    So Ed wants to destroy the British economy for the sake of £120 a YEAR for a family ?!! I agree with 1348. Uberior below. And what planet is Ed M on if he thinks £120 a YEAR means anything serious in purchasing power in today's world ? His speech was pure cloud cuckoo land - nostalgia for a time that never existed. Get Real, Ed or please leave the stage.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1359.

    The publically owned CEGB (1958 - 1990 - RIP) operated under statute to supply Area Boards with the cheapest possible supply of bulk electricity consistent with security of supply using Command & Control of its power station's output. Its obligation extended to strategic planning & investment to ensure our future security of supply. There was no "market", no shareholders, only consumers.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1358.

    What is Ed on? There's a global price for energy that is reflected in local prices. If he really wants to ease the burden on families he'd cut government spending and reduce taxes so that they can decide what they'd like to spend their money on.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1357.

    So, if the price of gas rises on the world markets, the energy companies cannot put up their prices, they go out of business, or decide its not good business to be in, the taxpayer will have to step in, and end up paying for the higher prices though the tax system, and having to pay for re-nationalisation, and clearing up the mess left.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1356.

    Clearly Milliband, in common with most politicians, doesn't actually understand what a market is. A market can only exist when it is not subjected to artificial constraints such as he is threatening.
    Our energy prices are determined by factors outside of UK Govts control, because we import most of it. Detach us from the European market and prices will fall. Nuclear and fracking are the answer.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1355.

    Energy firms have said for years they have to increase energy prices, which hits the poorest of society the hardest

    at the same time theyre giving their shareholders and exectuives massive pay offs as they net outragous profits by squeezing the poor for heating and lighting!

    it simply has to stop, our society has been abused for too long by the 1% who use us as a cash point when they want a car

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1354.

    In 1998 the State of Califonia introduced a price freeze on enegy companies. The result? A series of power blackouts.

    Ed should read his economic history books.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1353.

    @1345

    Clearly you don't understand what you talk about ...look up the meaning of endothermic .....

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 1352.

    those thieving energy company's now want to hold us to ransom,
    do anything to us and we will cut your country off.
    if this is not a reason to re-privatize the energy company's i didn't know what is, this is an outrageous THREAT TO OUR COUNTRY

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1351.

    Big brother all over again. When it comes to the push there won't be any shove as Ed is all talk/threat and no action

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1350.

    The energy companies HAVE a price fixing regime NOW. A party that is largely FUNDED by the power companies is hardly going to REGULATE them properly. 3.5 BILLION seen profits, REALLY HUGE unseen profits sent offshore. The 6 big companies have a cartel here so they can rip off UK consumers. Energy companies sell power to themselves at inflated prices so as to HIDE their TRUE profits.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1349.

    If the many work for the needs of the one and the one work for the needs of the many then the land will prosper. A line many in government seem to forget. Everyone seems to be so busy rubbing palms together, scared to loose a penny, while the world burns. Promises are all well and good but I fear that they are just words in order to grasp power.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1348.

    "The average household will save £120 a year".

    That's enough of a saving to cover 2 peak returns from Oxford to London by train. Or to park for 4.5 days in the Labour controlled Westgate Car Park in Oxford.

    If you want to get people moving and working, why not cut the price of a days parking in a council owned or on street car-park outside London to a maximum of one hours minimum wage?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 1347.

    JPatrick
    In Sweden it's common to spend over £500/month in heating bills over the winter.

    Fair point, but how do their tax/vat rates, wages, transport costs, etc etc compare with our? I don't know - just asking as the whole picture needs to be looked at if a fair comparrision is to be drawn

 

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    tweets: Quite a few MPs criticising media's naming of Emwazi & the three schoolgirls who've gone to Syria. Theresa May backing calls for 'restraint'

     
  46.  
    16:26: Tony Hall on the licence fee The World at One BBC Radio 4 Presented by Martha Kearney

    More now on what BBC Director General Tony Hall had to say on proposals to move away from the licence fee. Speaking on the World at One, he said the licence fee was a "much cheaper way of funding great content than subscription".

     
  47.  
    16:17: 'No rush' on defence decisions House of Lords Parliament

    The Government has stressed its commitment to debate and the search for consensus on defence spending. Challenged on the next Strategic Defence and Security Review in the Lords, the minister, Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD), said he hoped there would be more time for the 2015 review, due to start after the election, than there had been in 2010. That would allow time for debate on the UK's role in the world, the threats faced and how much spending was appropriate. The former First Sea Lord and Labour peer, Lord West of Spithead, called for more, open discussion earlier in light of the likely need for the incoming government to review urgently public spending in general.

    Lord Wallace accepted the UK was "in a much more acute security situation, not only in Eastern Europe but also in North Africa and across the Middle East" than had been the case five years ago. The exchange followed concerns raised earlier by the head of the US Army about the impact of cuts on the UK's armed forces.

     
  48.  
    16:15: 'Dangers and horrors' House of Commons Parliament

    "It's important to make clear to people the dangers and horrors, even if people are going to Syria for humanitarian and the best of intentions," Mrs May tells MPs. "We are consistently saying people should not be travelling to Syria and Iraq."

     
  49.  
    16:07: Handing over

    At this point, Nick Eardley and Victoria King are handing over the reins of Politics Live to Angela Harrison and Tim Fenton for the rest of the day. We're here through to midnight, so stick with us for more political updates and analysis.

     
  50.  
    16:03: Human rights House of Commons Parliament
    Home Secretary Theresa May defending the government's counter-terrorism policies in the House of Commons Home Secretary Theresa May defending the government's counter-terrorism policies in the House of Commons

    Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke asks Mrs May if she agrees more powers should be given to authorities. Mrs May tells him human rights laws have in the past have an effect on attempts to remove individuals and that needs to be be reformed

     
  51.  
    @LordAshcroft Lord Ashcroft, Tory peer and pollster

    tweets: Ashcroft National Poll, 2 Feb-1 March: CON 34%, LAB 31%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRN 7%. Full details on @ConHome, 4pm.

     
  52.  
    16:01: Role of universities House of Commons Parliament

    Matthew Offord MP, Conservative, asks about universities and their role combating extremism. Mrs May says universities should have a care for the welfare of students. If radicalism is taking place on campus, institutions should be aware and willing to deal with it, Mrs May adds.

     
  53.  
    Cage comments House of Commons Parliament

    Michael Ellis, the Tory MP, asks Mrs May about campaign group Cage's comments on Mohammed Emwazi. She says there can be "no excuse for the barbarism that has been shown" by ISIL.

     
  54.  
    15:54: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown House of Commons Parliament

    A fake passport apparently used by one of the girls from London in travelling to Turkey suggests problems, says Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a Tory MP. Exit checks are being introduced in April, Mrs May says.

     
  55.  
    15:52: Reporting on IS House of Commons Parliament

    Tory MP Bob Stewart says it is "utterly abhorrent" that the media uses a picture of Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi and continues to use a nickname in referring to him. He suggests this may encourage others. Mrs May won't comment on the specific cases, but expects the barbarity of IS to be reflected in reporting.

     
  56.  
    15:49: Keith Vaz House of Commons Parliament

    Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee and Labour MP, asks why it took days for Turkish authorities to find out the three London schoolgirls had travelled to the country. Mrs May said police had made the information "absolutely clear". She says movement to Syria is an on-going issue and she will look at whether there are further measures that can be taken to try and prevent people travelling on airlines to the country.

     
  57.  
    15:48: Jack Straw House of Commons Parliament

    Former home secretary and Labour MP Jack Straw is on his feet. He asks whether Mrs May thinks she made a mistake removing powers in 2011. Mrs May highlights again that some cases were before changes were made.

     
  58.  
    15:47: David Davies House of Commons Parliament

    David Davies, the Tory MP, asks Mrs May if she will revisit the issue of intercept evidence in court. Mrs May replies that this is an issue that has been looked at a number of times and says the latest review found it was clear it was not appropriate to change arrangements.

     
  59.  
    15:45: Theresa May House of Commons Parliament

    "This is not just a question of government... it is about families and communities as well", Mrs May adds. "We all have a role to play".

     
  60.  
    15:44: Counter-claim House of Commons Parliament

    Theresa May tells the Commons Ms Cooper has failed to highlight that the many cases in the media were from when relocation powers were still available.

     
  61.  
    15:43: Theresa May House of Commons Parliament

    On Prevent, Theresa May says the government changes were made for "very good reasons". She suggests Ms Cooper has not learned the mistakes of her government on the issue. Mrs May explains the difference with control orders and says Ms Cooper "should study the history" of the UK's constitution. Control orders were not sustainable, Mrs May adds.

     
  62.  
    15:42: Yvette Cooper House of Commons Parliament

    Some 600 Brits are believed to have travelled to Syria to join ISIL (also known as IS), Yvette Cooper says in reply. She calls for answers on certain government polices:

    Yvette Cooper
    • Control orders were abolished and in some cases people subject to them reportedly left for Syria. Did removing control orders make it easier for terrorist groups to recruit? Will she now look at whether it made it harder for security services?
    • In light of three east London school girls travelling to Syria, was there an agreement with airlines on minors travelling to known Syria routes?
    • What help was given to parents of children from the London school the girls attended? And what is being done to help their community?
     
  63.  
    15:41: Everyone's responsibility House of Commons Parliament

    Despite "robust" government action, everyone needs to play a part in protecting the UK, Theresa May says, highlighting the roles of social media companies, schools and families.

     
  64.  
    15:36: Theresa May statement House of Commons Parliament

    Over 2,000 people have been referred to a scheme to identify those vulnerable to terrorism, Theresa May says. Local Prevent projects have reached 55,000, she says. Additionally, the government has promised exit checks from later this year.

     
  65.  
    15:34: Theresa May statement House of Commons Parliament

    Theresa May says the government has taken steps to make sure the UK is protected from terrorist attacks. She lists a number of measures introduced recently to try and combat terrorism in the UK and abroad.

     
  66.  
    15:33: Labour's urgent question House of Commons Parliament

    Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, has asked the government for a statement on counter-terrorism. Theresa May says the threat is "grave and growing". She says she can't comment on specific cases, but reaffirms a terrorist attack is highly likely.

     
  67.  
    15:27: Urgent question House of Commons Parliament

    Yvette Cooper is expected on her feet soon for an urgent question on the government's counter-terrorism measures and implications for people travelling to conflict zones such as Syria. We'll bring you the latest.

     
  68.  
    @HarrietHarman Harriet Harman, deputy leader of the Labour Party

    tweets: Breaking news! Man on the #pinkbus It's @tom_watson !

    Harriet Harman and Tom Watson on Labour's pink bus
     
  69.  
    15:17: Should Parliament move to Hull? Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    We mentioned earlier that there had been a discussion on Daily Politics about whether or not Parliament should be moved out of London. Alex Hilton, from Generation Rent, argued our legislature should up sticks to Hull. The package is now on our website. You can find it here.

     
  70.  
    @DouglasCarswell Douglas Carswell, UKIP MP

    tweets: Matter of fact question to minister Nicky Morgan about social mobility / selective schools. She loses it, attacking ukip manifesto. Odd

     
  71.  
    15:11: Chartered Institute of Housing

    The Chartered Institute of Housing has been responding to today's debate. Gavin Smart, interim chief executive, welcomed the focus on supply and affordability that the starter homes scheme represents.

    "But we are very concerned about these sites being exempt from section 106 agreements, which usually require social or affordable homes to be built as part of a development, for people on lower incomes," he said.

    "This smacks of building for one group of people at the expense of another. Social housing is critical if we are going to solve the housing crisis - there are always going to be people who can't afford to buy and we must provide decent, affordable homes for them too. If all the focus is on home ownership, we are never going to build mixed communities."

     
  72.  
    15:07: 'Attainment gap' House of Commons Parliament

    Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt claims "the attainment gap" between poorer and better-off pupils has widened under the present government.

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan accuses Mr Hunt of talking "drivel" and insists the gap is closing.

     
  73.  
    15:06: Questions on education House of Commons Parliament

    In the Commons, MPs are currently questioning education ministers. You can keep up with the session here.

     
  74.  
    15:03: What's coming up

    A brief taste of what's still to come:

    • An urgent question from Labour's Yvette Cooper on the government's counter-terrorism measures and implications for people travelling to conflict zones such as Syria
    • Former prime minister and ex-Labour leader Gordon Brown will be giving a lecture in Glasgow on North Sea oil
    • At 1900 GMT, Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will be hosting an hour-long programme on mental health on LBC radio
    • Defence debate in the Commons
     
  75.  
    14:57: Your housing suggestions

    David Cameron announced today that 200,000 homes will be made available to first-time buyers in England by 2020 if the Tories win the election. Here is a selection of emails from Politics Live readers on the subject.

    If Thatcher hadn't been so obsessed in selling off the public housing stock we would not be in this mess.

    If the private sector rented housing stock was in better condition young people wouldn't be in such a rush to buy.

    Let's get some decent affordable rental properties for people to live in and if they still want to buy they have chance to save the deposit.

    Christine Armitage

    It is commonly accepted that the major building firms are not interested in small-scale building/renovation work. Cannot understand why Local Authorities are not far more pro-active in granting planning permission for small-scale builds/renovations on brown field sites in the inner city areas.

    One incentive might be to abolish any rate relief on empty dwellings to encourage owners to either let or re-develop them. Small builds employ proportionately more people than the large-scale, highly mechanised ones.

    S.M.Tiktin, Leighton Buzzard.

    Why aren't any of the parties talking about improving private renting? That could have an immediate effect for millions of tenants, across the country.

    Building new houses doesn't always help: Cambridge has very high house prices and lots of the new building going on but a new build 1 bedroom flat will cost you at least £200,000.

    Rosie Shaw, Cambridge

    Firstly stop any more immigrants coming into the country. That will relieve the pressure on housing and the Health service in one go!

    Douglas Annette, Farnborough

    Do you agree? Email us politics@bbc.co.ukor tweet @bbcpolitics

     
  76.  
    @MichaelLCrick Michael Crick, Channel 4 political correspondent

    tweets: It's now only about 43 days before people start voting (by post) in the 2015 election

     
  77.  
    14:41: Housing crisis Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    We haven't been building enough houses since the 1960s. If you listen to charities like Shelter, they say we should be building a quarter of a million homes every year just to keep up with the pace of demand - due to a growing population and an ageing population. House prices are also going up like rocket fuel compared with wages and houses are getting more and more out of reach for many families.

     
  78.  
    14:39: Miliband on the railways
    Ed Miliband at People's Question Time in Brighton

    This was Ed Miliband in action earlier in Brighton. He also discussed public ownership of the railways, arguing that the coalition "has been doing rail renationalisation by the back door". "So if you are a European public company you can actually bid for the British franchise, but if you are British public company you can't bid for the franchise. This is just absolute nonsense," he said.

     
  79.  
    @SkyAnushka Anushka Asthana, political correspondent at Sky News

    tweets: He argues that 9k is right, but suggests split between graduate & Govt because HE has both a private benefit to grad but public benefit too.

     
  80.  
    14:34: Labour's aspiration

    Also at the "People's Question Time" event in Brighton earlier, Ed Miliband rejected a suggestion that Labour was not doing enough for "aspirational" middle-class voters. The Labour leader said his party's plans to cut tuition fees in England would help young people from all backgrounds.

    "That is absolutely about aspiration... there's nothing more anti-aspirational than kids leaving university with £44,000 of debt," he said. "Investment in our young people is about all of us."

     
  81.  
    @SkyAnushka Anushka Asthana, political correspondent at Sky News

    tweet: Interesting letters in Times on uni funding inc by Roger Brown- prof of HE policy at Liv Hope.

    Letter to the Times on education funding
     
  82.  
    14:18: Ed Miliband: No to voting changes

    Ed Miliband says he won't put his energy in to reforming the voting system if Labour comes to power. He's backed votes for 16-year-olds and says he wants changes to the House of Lords. But speaking earlier in Brighton, he said: "Personally I am more interested in changing the way the country works than the way the way the electoral system works.

    "If you are asking about me as prime minister, where would my energies be put into, it would not be into a big debate about the electoral system."

     
  83.  
    14:15: 'Not the first disagreement'

    David Cameron's official spokesman told reporters earlier of the PM's reaction to his Conservative colleague Ken Clarke's dim view of the promise to cut immigration below 100,000. "You won't be surprised to know that he takes a different view from Ken on this one. It won't be the first time that he and Ken haven't had exactly the same views." On the promise itself, the spokesman added: "The ambition remains the right one, but it's clear it's going to take more time, more work and more difficult long-term decisions in order to get there."

     
  84.  
    14:04:

    The Birmingham Post has picked up on comments we mentioned earlier by one of the city's MPs, Gisela Stuart, about the eye-catching idea of a "grand coalition" between Labour and the Conservatives.

    "As you work through the options, do not rule out that you have a grand coalition," she said in an interview with the Financial Times.

     
  85.  
    14:00: Off the bench?

    Is Sol Campbell the Tories' latest signing? After being talked of as a possible Conservative candidate for London mayor, or the Kensington seat being vacated by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, yesterday he said he was taking things "step by step" . Today, some Conservative supporters have reported receiving emails from the ex-Arsenal and Spurs man, trying to rally them to campaign in North London.

    Email from Sol Campbell
     
  86.  
    13:45: Green belt
    Countryside

    David Cameron's argument this morning that protecting the green built should be "paramount" in future housing strategy has been attacked by the free market think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs. Its director general Mark Littlewood said "constraining housebuilding through artificial boundaries such as green belt restrictions is a key reason why house prices in the UK are very high and new homes increasingly small". He says "people not governments" should decide where houses are built.

     
  87.  
    13:33: Extremism debate The World at One BBC Radio 4 Presented by Martha Kearney

    Prof Michael Gunn says new guidance on extremism should provide "clarity, sensibility, proportionality". He says policy should be about encouraging universities to use current guidance on radical speakers, exploring how to support Muslims and how to utilise links with Prevent. Priority needs to be given to free speech and the guidance should make it clear when there is an exception, he concludes.

     
  88.  
    13:25: Radicalism at universities The World at One BBC Radio 4 Presented by Martha Kearney

    Speaking about extremism in universities, Professor Michael Gunn from the Million+ think tank says universities have obligations to ensure free speech at the moment. Debate is a strong way of "resisting radicalism", he says. Universities take their obligations very seriously, he says. The government recently passed laws aimed at banning all "extremist" preachers from campuses. Tory peer Baroness Neville-Jones says if we were confident we could remove the threat of radicalisation, there wouldn't be an issue. But legislation to make obligations statutory is needed because moves so far have not been effective.

     
  89.  
    13:16: Tackling extremism

    Following his speech earlier, David Cameron was also asked about how to tackle extremism. There has been discussion on the issue in light of facts about Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi emerging. Mr Cameron said: "My view is national security comes first whatever it takes, whatever is necessary, to keep the British public safe. I will always be a prime minister who wants to push for those changes, but over time, yes of course we will have to do more, to make sure that as technology develops, we can make sure we keep people safe. I'm not satisfied that we can allow a means of communication to develop which in extremis we are unable to intercept."

     
  90.  
    @BBCRadio4 13:14: BBC Radio 4

    tweets: "It's like a morgue after 7 o'clock." Betty Boothroyd tells Julia Langdon about Parliament now

     
  91.  
    13:01: 'Parliament should stay' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Rehman Chishti says the Parliament in London is iconic and the cost of moving MPs to another city would be high. If Westminster does need to be renovated, he says, politicians should sit nearby.

     
  92.  
    13:00: Parliament on tour? Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Alex Hilton

    Should Parliament be moved away from London? Alex Hilton, from Generation Rent, says yes - to Hull, which has the cheapest rents in the UK. Such a move would help MPs understand and prioritise housing, he suggests, describing today's announcements on the issue as "basically pathetic".

     
  93.  
    12:52: Yellow cards for MPs? Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Nigel Evans

    Nigel Evans, the former deputy speaker, describes a Labour idea to give the House of Commons speaker the opportunity to "yellow card" MPs for bad behaviour as "rubbish". The speaker already has the ability to remove MPs in certain circumstances and has lots of discretion at present, Mr Evans says. "You don't want to turn the chamber into a library," he adds. But Labour's Lisa Nandy says the current system hasn't worked.

     
  94.  
    12:50: Defence spending Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Labour's Lisa Nancy says no party has got everything right on defence, but says we need to look at the bigger picture if we want to give the armed forces "the ability to do their job". She says Liam Fox - ex-Tory defence secretary - was guilty of just looking at funding, not the wider picture, in comments had made yesterday. Baroness Brinton says the UK is still a major player in the world.

     
  95.  
    @_katedevlin Kate Devlin, Westminster Correspondent, the Herald

    tweets: "Don't laugh" it could happen" - David Cameron tells people of Colchester about a Labour government propped up by the SNP

     
  96.  
    @fleetstreetfox Fleet Street Fox, blogger

    tweets: Tory discounts for first time buyers mean developers won't be funding new roads/school places. Taxpayers will! Big business wins again.

     
  97.  
    12:47: Getting the right balance Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    On defence spending, Lib Dem Baroness Brinton says lots of money has been going into big schemes like Trident nuclear weapons, but it is important to balance that with boots on the ground.

     
  98.  
    12:46: Defence spending

    The PM is full of reassurance when asked about defence spending. He says he has committed to growing the defence equipment budget by 1% in real terms every year in the next parliament. He also says he knows "how much the Americans appreciate the fact that Britain is a very strong and very capable partner".

     
  99.  
    12:44: Defence spending Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Daily Politics set

    On military cuts, and the head of the US Army saying he is "very concerned" about the impact of those cuts on the UK's armed forces capability, Tory MP Rehman Chishti says David Cameron has made it clear he wants other countries to step up to the plate and commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence. He says he would like to see that figure in the UK, but won't commit to it. Labour's Lisa Nancy says very few countries have made the target and that her party won't reduce the budget any further, pending a strategic review of defence.

     
  100.  
    12:42: TV debates Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Continuing the discussion on personality and policy, Kevin Schofield, from the Sun, says he doesn't think the TV debates will happen now. There are too many obstacles, he says. Laura Hughes, a regional parliamentary reporter, says she thinks they should - and will - still go ahead.

     

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