This Week's Guests: 2014

Here's where to find out the names of the guests - and their videos - from This Week throughout the year.

December 18th, 2014

Panel: Michael Portillo, Diane Abbott, Charles Kennedy and Tony Parsons

Michael Portillo, Diane Abbott, Charles Kennedy and Tony Parsons

Downturn Abbey films: Quentin Letts, Kevin Maguire, John Pienaar, Isabel Hardman and Miranda Green

Downturn Abbey 2014 – part one

Downturn Abbey 2014 – part two

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

December 11th, 2014

Douglas Murray, Jim Waterson and Agyness Deyn

Michael Portillo, Douglas Murray,  Miranda Green, Agyness Deyn and Diane Abbott

Murray: Be very careful not to criminalise security services

Waterson: Political letters to Santa

Deyn: 'Out of your comfort zone'

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

December 4th, 2014

Rev Richard Coles, Isabel Hardman and Caprice

Miranda Green, Richard Coles, Alan Johnson, Michael Portillo and Caprice

Rev Coles talks 'financialisation’ in his Autumn Statement

Hardman: How Stonehenge was built (sort of)

Portillo: BBC has been 'frightened of its own shadow'

Caprice talks shame... 100%

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

November 27th, 2014

Alex Salmond, Anne McElvoy and Dee Kelly

Diane Abbott, Dee Kelly, Alex Salmond and Michael Portillo

Salmond: Westminster parties deep in the bunker

A political jungle of a week in Westminster

White Dee talks class and snobbery

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

November 20th, 2014

EARLY: Ekow Eshun, Quentin Letts and Omid Djalili

LATE: Iain Duncan Smith, George Eustice, Vernon Coaker, Brian Paddick and Suzanne Evans

Michael Portillo, Suzanne Evans, Ekon Eshow, Miranda Green, Omid Djalili, and Alan Johnson

The 'broken, grotesque, patronising and offensive cliches' of Band Aid

Letts and penguin review the political week

Andrew Neil interview with Mark Reckless at Rochester count

Rochester and Strood declaration

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

November 13th, 2014

Parliament in recess: No programme

November 6th, 2014

Shami Chakrabarti, Adam Boulton and David Mitchell

Diane Abbott, Michael Portillo, Shami Chakrabarti and David Mitchell

Abbott: Labour MPs are always whingeing

'No excuse for ditching legality and our privacy'

Boulton's high-wire view of the political week

David Mitchell: Do we all over-react too much?

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

October 30th, 2014

Ian Birrell, Susie Boniface (Fleet Street Fox) and Tracey Emin

Michael Portillo, Ian Birrell, Miranda Green and Alan Johnson

Birrell: Daft war on drugs is finally coming to an end

Fox screams through the political week

Emin: Much harder for women to become recognised on a grand scale

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

October 23rd, 2014

Charlie Webster, Mary Ann Sieghart and Robert Webb

Charlie Webster, Michael Portillo, Robert Webb, Miranda Green and Alan Johnson

Webster: How do you rehabilitate someone who believes he has done nothing wrong?

Should Ched Evans return to the football pitch?

Mary Ann Sieghart tastes the week's news

Robert Webb talks revolutions

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

October 16th, 2014

Jon Gaunt, Victoria Derbyshire, and John Lydon

Diane Abbott, Michael Portillo, John Lydon and Jon Gaunt

Film: Cameron immigration pledge 'too little, too late'

Debate: How is immigration affecting the UK?

Westminster’s week of the living dead

CLIP: Punk veteran John Lydon kisses Andrew Neil on TV

FULL VERSION: No anger, just love, with Lydon on This Week

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

October 9th, 2014

EARLY: Mehdi Hasan, Nick Watt and David Baddiel

Mehdi Hasan, Miranda Green, Michael Portillo, Diane Abbott and David Baddiel

Hasan: Is Prime Minister Ed Miliband on the menu?

Watt steers through political headlines

Baddiel: Jews and Muslims 'basically the same religion'

LATER: Greg Hands, Michael Dugher, Tom Brake and Diane James

Labour's Liz McInnes on winning Heywood and Middleton

Clacton: Douglas Carswell becomes first elected UKIP MP

Clacton by-election: Statistics of Douglas Carswell's win

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

October 2nd, 2014

Francesca Martinez, Isabel Hardman and Paris Lees

Paris Lees, Tom Watson, Suzanne Evans, Francesca Martinez, Miranda Green and Michael Portillo.

Francesca Martinez on Ice Chancellor's benefits freeze

Debating changes to benefits and welfare

Hardman clucks through the Tory week

Evans: 'At least' eight UKIP MPs next year

Paris Lees: I have got saucy pics online

Twelfie pics of viewers in pyjamas

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

September 25th, 2014

George Galloway, Andrew Rawnsley, Damian McBride and Stephen K Amos

This Week panel on 25 September

I’d be happy if every member of ISIS was lying dead here in this street

Galloway: You killed a million people in Iraq

Andrew Rawnsley looks for a man called Ed

Stephen K Amos: Sticking to the script

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

September 18th, 2014

No programme due to coverage of the Scottish referendum result

September 11th, 2014

Elaine C Smith, Brian Cox, Niall Ferguson and Humza Yousaf

Diane Abbott, Michael Portillo, Andrew Neil, Humza Yousaf and Charles Kennedy

Smith's case for a yes independence vote

A Great Scottish Bake Off (or break-off)?

What referendum campaign means for Scotland and UK

Ex-pats Cox and Ferguson's views of Scotland's future

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

July 17th, 2014

Tanni Grey-Thompson, Isabel Hardman and Ginger Baker

Alan Johnson, Michael Portillo, Andrew Neil, Tanni Grey Thompson and Molly the Dog

Grey-Thompson: In their eyes, my life's not worth living

Hardman and dummies go window shopping on political week

Baker: Everyone thinks Cream was Eric's band because he played the guitar

Andrew Neil drums views in to the summer recess

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

July 10th, 2014

Tommy Sheridan, Sarah Charles Kennedy, Stewart Hosie, Susan Boyle and Nicola Benedetti

Susan Boyle and Nicola Benedetti

Sheridan: Choose a new fairer Scotland

Smith dresses for the political week

Predictions on the Scottish referendum result

Proof that Scotland's got talent: Boyle and Benedetti

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

July 3rd, 2014

Andrew Billen, Mary Ann Sieghart and Chelsea Handler

Andrew Neil and Chelsea Handler

Billen: Celebrity got too big for its boots and television

Sieghart on the week's news cycle

Handler: You sound like a drunk woman at a brothel

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

June 26th, 2014

Andrew Roberts, Victoria Derbyshire and Charlie Webster

Charlie Webster, Alan Johnson, Andrew Roberts and Miranda Green

Roberts: Obama is the worst president since Carter

Derbyshire treasures the week's news

Webster talks pressure (and biting)

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

June 19th, 2014

John McTernan, Nick Watt and Sofie Grabol

Sofie Grabol, Michael Portillo, Diane Abbott and Miranda Green

McTernan: We were right to go into Iraq and we left too early

Watt's Chinese whispers of the political week

Killing star Sofie heads to the Scottish stage

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

June 12th, 2014

Sarfraz Manzoor, Jane Moore and Annabel Croft

Sarfraz Manzoor, Michael Portillo, Annabel Croft and Alan Johnson

Manzoor: I don't think there is a Trojan Horse plot

Jane Moore's review of the political week

Annabel Croft talks gender politics

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

June 5th, 2014

EARLY: Mr Kate Williams, Andrew Rawnsley and Hank Marvin

LATE: Diane James, Grant Shapps, Jon Ashworth and Sir Malcolm Bruce

Andrew Neil and Hank Marvin

This Week's Guests: 2014

Kate Williams on future of UK monarchy

Andrew Rawnsley reviews a royal week

Talking heroes with Hank Marvin

Conservatives win Newark by-election

UKIP 'encouraged' by Newark result

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

May 22nd and 29th, 2014

No programmes due to election night and recess

May 15th, 2014

Mr Drew (Stephen Drew), Sarah Smith, Natalie Bennett, Nigel Farage and Clarke Peters

Natalie Bennett and Nigel Farage

Mr Drew: Free schools just don't make sense

Smith reviews the week at Westminster and Holyrood

Election week debate with Bennett and Farage

Clark Peters: We can get rid of the N-word

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

May 8th, 2014

Dan Hodges, James Landale and Ruby Wax

Michael Portillo, Ruby Wax, Miranda Green and Dan Hodges

Labour policy offer: 'Voters aren’t swallowing it'

Landale (and Landale) on the election race

Wax: If you don't have curiosity, you are a moron

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

May 1st, 2014

Christine Hamilton, Kevin Maguire, John Pienaar, Nick Watt Quentin Letts, and Henry Blofeld

Dine Abbott, Michael Portill, Andrew Neil and Christine Hamilton

Hamilton: The political elite don't know how to stop us

What does UKIP rise mean for the 2015 general election?

Reviewing the political week with Dads' Army

Henry Blofeld talks humiliation in sport (and politics)

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

April 17th and 24th, 2014

No programmes through Easter recess

April 10th, 2014

Theo Paphitis, Isabel Hardman and Aisling Bea

Isabel Hardman on chocolate bunnies

Paphitis: Squeezed middle 'does not actually exist'

Hardman stirs up the Westminster week

Aisling Bea: A tiny little symbolism that makes a huge difference

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

April 3rd, 2014

Rachel Johnson, Quentin Letts and Angela Rippon

Rachel Johnson, Miranda Green, Angela Rippon, with Missy Piggy and Kermit muppets

Johnson: It takes a lot of money to be this skinny

Debating Rachel Johnson's film on healthy eating

Letts digs over the week's political news

Angela Rippon talks make-up and how men and women look

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

March 27th, 2014

David Starkey, Laura Kuenssberg and Warwick Davis

Andrew Neil and Warwick Davis

Politicians 'abandoned any discernible pursuit of the national interest'

Debating David Starkey's film on political leadership

Kuenssberg reviews political week at Westminster

A scary Gove and Portillo archive

Warwick Davis: Typecasting is not always a negative thing

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

March 20th, 2014

Liam Halligan, Kevin Maguire and Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Ranulph Fiennes, Miranda Green and Liam Halligan

'We have made threats to Russia we just can't keep'

Halligan debates Russia with This Week panel

Sherlock, aka Maguire, reviews the political week

Ranulph Fiennes talks political adventures - and chopping off fingers

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

March 13th, 2014

Owen Jones, Isabel Hardman and Sol Campbell

Andrew Neil and Owen Jones

Owen Jones on Bob Crow's legacy for the trade unions

Debating Bob Crow's legacy and union power in Britain

Isabel Hardman reviews the political week

Sol Campbell talks 'inconvenient truths'

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

March 6th, 2014

Douglas Murray, Nick Watt and Rupert Everett

Douglas Murray, Diane Abbott and Rupert Everett

Douglas Murray talks Ukraine and Russia

Viking Watt reviews the political week

Rupert Everett's call to legalise prostitution

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

February 27th, 2014

Pat Kane, Rafael Behr and Stewart Lee

Alan Johnson, Michael Portillo, Andrew Neil and Stewart Lee with Molly the dog

Pat Kane's case for Scottish independence

Behr's round-up of Westminster political week

Comedian Stewart Lee talks sensitivity

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

February 20th, 2014

No programme - Parliament in recess

February 13th, 2014

Paul Daniels, Debbie McGee, Victoria Derbyshire and Matthew Modine

Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee

Daniels and McGee on Environment Agency floods response

Westminster political news review with Victoria Derbyshire

Matthew Modine on Full Metal Jacket film computer app

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

February 6th, 2014

John Amaechi , Anne McElvoy and Brian Cox

John Amaechi

Sochi Olympics: John Amaechi on gay rights and sport

Westminster political news review with Anne McElvoy

Actor Brian Cox on alcohol, water and binge drinking

Brian Cox: Scottish independence 'getting there slowly'

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

January 30th, 2014

Dr Halla Diyab, Andrew Rawnsley and Dr Leah Totton

Andrew Neil and Leah Totton

Syria: Dr Halla Diyab on refugees in UK and Arab states

Westminster political news review from Andrew Rawnsley

Apprentice winner Dr Leah Totton talks entrepreneurs

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

January 23rd, 2014

Amanda Stretton, Nick Watt and Russell Kane

Andrew Neil, Amanda Stretton and Miranda Green

Amanda Stretton on sexism in politics and motor sport

Political review of Westminster week with Nick Watt

Russell Kane on aspiration and working class kids

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

January 16th, 2014

David Ginola, Jane Moore and Ross Kemp

Andrew Neil and Ross Kemp

Ginola on French president Francois Hollande's marriage

Westminster week political review with Jane Moore

Ross Kemp on sex and drugs slaves around the world

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

January 9th, 2014

Katie Hopkins, James Landale and Dan Snow

Katie Hopkins

Katie Hopkins: More welfare cuts for Benefits Street

Benefits and welfare: Diane Abbott and Katie Hopkins

Political review in Landale's public information film

Political history: Dan Snow on Blackadder TV lessons

Whole show on iPlayer (available for UK viewers for 12 months)

TW on social media

TW on twitter

TW on facebook

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Politics Live

    11:11: Guardian election poll

    The Guardian's latest election poll projects the Conservatives will win 277 seats at the general election, Labour 271, the SNP 51, the Lib Dems 25, UKIP 4, the Greens 1.

    11:10: "Plebgate"

    In November former chief whip Andrew Mitchell lost his High Court libel action against News Group Newspapers over a story in the Sun in 2012 which claimed he called PC Toby Rowland a "pleb" during a row about whether he could cycle out of the main gates in Downing Street. Mr Mitchell acknowledged that he had used bad language but maintained he had not used that word. Delivering his ruling, Mr Justice Mitting said he was satisfied that the MP did say the word "pleb". PC Toby Rowland counter-sued Mr Mitchell over the claims, hence today's settlement.

    11:07: "Plebgate" payout
    Andrew MItchell

    If you're a little behind the times on the "Plebgate" row or it it passed you by somehow then the BBC has a handy timeline, which should take you through it all.

    10:51: Plebgate pay out

    It's been a long and tangled tale, the plebgate saga. Here's our news story on the latest development - the £80,000 pay out by Andrew Mitchell to Pc Toby Rowland. We'll be building it up as more details come in.

    10:45: 'Job isn't done' BBC News Channel

    Business Minister Matthew Hancock begins his interview rather like his boss did earlier by avoiding the question raised by the IFS report about the divergence in fortunes between young and old. "It's a big moment. This is very big news," he says, hailing the positives. But he goes on to say: "The job isn't done. We're moving in the right direction." He adds that the government doesn't "care about the data" but about individual people.

    @matthewchampion Matthew champion, news editor at i100

    tweets: attention residents of Thurrock: do not buy any walls today.

    @David_Cameron David Cameron
    David Cameron buidling a wall

    tweets: Seeing homes being built by @barrattplc in Thurrock. 95% will be sold to first time buyers with Help to Buy mortgages

    @BiteTheBallot Bite the Ballot, movement to encourage young voters

    tweets: A third of people who registered to vote on #NVRD were aged 16-24: are you registered?

    10:34: HSBC tax scandal

    Yup it's true, we've checked. John Humphreys did in fact ask George Osborne the same question six times as Ed Balls has claimed. In case you missed it, it was did he [the chancellor] speak to Lord Green about the allegations that HSBC clients had evaded tax before the government appointed him as a trade minister?

    Breaking News

    From the Press Association: Pc Toby Rowland, the police officer at the centre of the notorious Downing Street "Plebgate" incident, has accepted £80,000 damages in settlement of his libel action against former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell, a High Court judge was told today.

    @DPJHodges Dan Hodges, commentator for the Telegraph and Total Politics

    tweets: Joking aside, if you read @Nigel_Farage Telegraph article, most significant thing is change of tone. Migrant bashing gone. And that's good.

    @JGForsyth James Forsyth, from the Spectator

    tweets: Most encouraging thing for the Tories about latest YouGov is that their vote share is up to 36%, might not be stuck in the low 30s anymore

    10:12: HSBC tax scandal

    Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls has responded to Chancellor George Osborne's interview on the Today programme earlier. He accuses the chancellor of refusing to answer the same question six times. We may go back and listen to see if this is true.

    Mr Balls says: "George Osborne was asked six times whether he discussed allegations of tax evasion at HSBC with Lord Green, the bank's former chairman, and six times he refused to answer.

    "What has George Osborne got to hide? People will draw their own conclusions from his total failure to answer.

    "The chancellor also struggled to explain why, since the government received these files in May 2010, only one person has been prosecuted out of 1,100 names.

    "David Cameron and George Osborne must now come clean about their discussions with Lord Green - both while he was a Tory minister and before they appointed him."

    10:08: Age discrepancy BBC News Channel

    "The slowness of this recovery seems to me to be quite unprecedented," says Jonathan Portes, from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. He's being asked about the IFS's report out today. Mr Portes also points out something we spotted too, that George Osborne avoided answering when it was put to him on the BBC News Channel earlier that people over 60 are getting richer while younger people aren't.

    09:52: Immigration cap

    Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, told the Today programme a week ago that existing limits on skilled migrants were "draconian". He said the fact the government couldn't block EU migrants meant all the burden fell on those people coming from outside the EU, "and that's really damaging". "They should be able to come here freely if they are qualified and able and many of them have been students here and often have to leave rather than work in the country they have come to call home," he added.

    @asabenn Asa Bennett, @HuffPostUK business reporter

    tweets: Ukip's migration cap joins the flat tax and their 2010 manifesto in the "dumped by @Nigel_Farage" list

    09:42: Coming up later Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Transport minister Claire Perry and shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn join Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn throughout the programme. They'll look ahead to the election with Tim Farron from the Liberal Democrats, and UKIP MP Mark Reckless will be on to discuss his party's immigration plans. Journalist and editor of Briebart UK James Delingpole will say why he thinks obese people are putting too much of a strain on the NHS, and there will be live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions. Desktop users can watch the programme live, or later, via the Live Coverage tab above.

    09:40: Existing immigration cap

    It's also probably worth pointing out that last week, the Institute of Directors (IoD) said the current cap on skilled migrants entering the UK from outside the European Union - yes there already is one - of 20,700 annually was "damaging and restrictive" to the UK economy. It called on the government to raise the limit.

    In theory, as they argue, UKIP would be able to bring net migration down very swiftly if the UK were to leave the EU as they desire. Last week, official figures showed 57% of those coming to the UK were from Europe.

    @paulwaugh Paul Waugh, editor of

    tweets: Farage: "Our intention is to bring net migration to between 20k + 50k". From cap to target to ambition. And now an 'intention'

    09:32: Salary target

    On the subject of migrants' salaries, you might be interested to know that Nigel Farage pays his wife, who was born in Germany, £27,000 a year to be his secretary. Here's the Daily Mail's story from last year about that.

    09:28: 'Unskilled mass migration' BBC News Channel

    Pressed further by the BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith over his immigration policy, Nigel Farage says: "We need a degree of flexibility over what we need, and what we don't need is the continued mass migration into the UK of unskilled workers. Our intention is to bring net migration to between 20,000 and 50,000." He says the media are "obsessed by targets, let's talk about policy".

    09:27: Policy muddle? BBC News Channel

    Mr Farage is asked if he is just making policy up as he goes along? He says not. He repeats his claim that 27,000 people would have come into the UK under the points system UKIP is proposing. "Some years it will be more, but at the moment net migration is running at 10 times what it was for most of last 50 years of the 20th century," he says.

    09:25: Minimum salary BBC News Channel

    Asked if people coming to the UK would need to meet a minimum income target of £27,000 - something they had been expected to announce - Mr Farage says: "There will be no statement that it will be £27,000. It is likely to be £27,000. What we want is people who come to the UK with a skill, who don't have a criminal record or life threatening illness," he adds.

    09:22: UKIP migration U-turn BBC News Channel

    Au contraire, says UKIP leader Nigel Farage, "it isn't a U-turn". "I don't think we get anywhere near 50,000," he says. Under an Australian points-based system only 27,000 people would have been admitted to the UK last year, he insists.

    09:21: UKIP migration U-turn Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    It looks like UKIP are going to be completing a policy U-turn on immigration targets today. That's after UKIP's immigration spokesman Steve Woolfe told the BBC last week that the party was committed to a migration target of 50,000 coming to work in the UK, only for his party leader to claim UKIP would not commit to a target in a Daily Telegraph article today.

    @JamesTapsfield James Tapsfield, Press Association

    tweets: Now describing Ukip net immigration target as a "range" of between 20k and 50k

    09:16: UKIP immigration policy BBC News Channel

    "There isn't a U-turn, there's a change in emphasis," says Nigel Farage, when pressed whether his immigration policy has changed.

    @LadPolitics Ladbrokes Politics

    tweets: UKIP heading for 6 seats according to @GoodwinMJ - currently 10/1

    Election briefing by Matthew Goodwin, associate professor of politics at Nottingham University
    09:07: Kew Gardens spending cuts risk
     Vsitors enjoying the weather at Kew Gardens

    The government's financial management of Kew Gardens is "a recipe for failure", MPs have warned today. The Science and Technology Select Committee says cuts in government funding are placing Kew's world-class science status at risk.

    The London-based organisation faces a financial black hole £5.5m a year and has lost 47 core science posts. The report says Kew needs long-term funding in place and more control over its spending.

    08:49: 'UKIP cannot be outbid' The Times

    Our correspondents are wondering if UKIP might be damaged by what seems to be something of a muddle on immigration policy, but Daniel Finkelstein, writing in the Times (£), doesn't think so. "UKIP cannot be outbid on immigration. There is no such thing as a bad bit of politics on immigration for UKIP. While it is being talked about, they are winning."

    @wallaceme Mark Wallace, executive editor of ConservativeHome

    tweets: Last June, @Nigel_Farage was attacking the power of quangos... today he's proposing putting one in charge of our borders.

    08:43: HSBC tax scandal BBC Radio 4 Today

    Mr Osborne says it would not be right for him to get into the tax affairs of individuals and that HMRC operates as an independent body. He says the "information available to me" was that certain individuals had attempted to evade tax in Swiss bank accounts, but the news that HSBC colluded with those individuals only came to light recently. He adds HSBC is a "very important bank to the UK" that employs around 50,000 in the country and it is important the UK "has successful and well run banks".

    08:41: HSBC tax scandal BBC Radio 4 Today

    Asked what he knew before the appointment of Lord Green - the former chairman of HSBC - as a government trade minister in 2010, the chancellor says the only thing he was aware of was what the public was aware of. That was that HMRC had been handed "some information by the French government before we came to office". But this was all handled by HMRC, he says.

    Mr Osborne also points out Lord Green was "chair of the business council of the previous government. He was a cross party figure."

    08:35: Change of plan? BBC Radio 4 Today
    George Osborne (stock photo)

    We stand to be corrected but we're quite sure George Osborne didn't mention the Conservatives' favourite phrase of "long-term economic plan", in his interview with the Today Programme just now. There was mention of a plan, of course, but the much-used phrase was distinctly absent. Change of rhetoric perhaps, or a more innocent slip of the mind?

    08:34: HSBC tax scandal BBC Radio 4 Today

    Only one person so far has been prosecuted for tax evasion out of the more than 1,000 people thought to have engaged in it as part of the recent HSBC tax scandal. Mr Osborne says he can't direct HMRC or the director of public prosecutions to prosecute people. "Imagine the kind of country we would live in if I could," he says.

    "If there are deficiencies in the law, if it is difficult to bring these prosecutions then, of course, we should change the law," the chancellor adds. He says the government is looking at possible changes to the law, but points out that the National Audit Office, which regularly criticises the government, did look at HMRC and said it was doing a pretty good job of collecting the taxes that are required.

    @tnewtondunn Tom Newton Dunn, political editor at the Sun

    tweets: Farage abandoning an immigration target has gifted the down and out Tories a way back into the debate. He may regret it.

    @RobDotHutton Robert Hutton, political reporter for Bloomberg News

    tweets: The hope that politicians have when they go silent during a scandal is that it'll have gone away when they next emerge. Doesn't always work.

    08:27: Immigration cap BBC Radio 4 Today

    Nigel Farage seems to be making his immigration policy up as he goes along, Mr Osborne says. He comes up with a policy one day then ditches it live on air the next. Asked if Theresa May was right to say the government would continue with its so far unsuccessful efforts to cut net migration to the tens of thousands, the chancellor replies "Yes absolutely."

    @JBeattieMirror Jason Beattie, @DailyMirror political editor

    tweets: Osborne was enjoying Today interview, now squirming on whether he discussed HSBC tax affairs with Lord Green

    @faisalislam Faisal Islam, @SkyNews political editor

    tweets: Osborne says "we're looking at changes in the law" as regards hmrc ability to collect an investigate taxes in wake of #swissfiles

    @ChrisLeslieMP Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury

    tweets: Did Osborne really just say "we've got on top of our debts and deficits"??!

    08:19: Eurostar sale BBC Radio 4 Today

    Mr Osborne says the government was a minority shareholder in Eurostar. He adds the government got good value for its shareholding from "a very sensible sale" and that the money raised from selling assets [often to foreign companies or pensions funds] will allow the government to invest in the infrastructure in the future. "If we can get the Chinese to invest in building the nuclear power stations of the future it means the British taxpayer doesn't have to pay for it," he adds.

    08:16: 'Work to do' BBC Radio 4 Today

    "We have been dealing with a particularly difficult financial crisis but we have grown faster than many western economies... and there are now more people in work, Mr Osborne says. He adds that incomes should be higher in 2015-16 than they were in 2010-11. "I'm the first to say a lot of damage was done to the economy and there is still a lot of work to be done," he adds.

    08:14: 'Narrowing inequality' BBC Radio 4 Today

    Mr Osborne says the IFS report confirms the richest have paid the most in taxes and that "inequality has been narrowing". He says the UK economy is growing, the richest have paid the highest share and inequality has fallen. "Britain is in a fundamentally better place than it was five years ago."

    08:12: Household incomes BBC Radio 4 Today

    So the IFS tells us average household incomes are back to the same level they were in 2007-08. But the recovery has been slow and poorer people aren't that much better off. Chancellor George Osborne tells Today the country has reached a milestone but "we have got to reach a truly national recovery and that can't be risked by abandoning the [long term economic?] plan".

    @LSEge2015 London School of Economics, 2015 general election coverage

    tweets: "After #GE2010 we had 3 different 2-party systems: after #GE2015 we may have a much more complex electoral geography" Read more.

    08:03: UKIP manifesto The Guardian

    Quick hat tip to the Guardian's Andrew Sparrow. He points out that Nigel Farage was wrong to say UKIP never said it would publish its manifesto at the spring conference during his Today interview. Suzanne Evans, UKIPs deputy chairman, said this in January, when she took over responsibility for the manifesto.

    "I relish the task of putting together the final details and presenting a sensible, radical and fully-costed manifesto at our spring conference in Margate."

    @patrickwintour Patrick Wintour, political editor of the Guardian

    tweets: The UKIP migration target of 20,000 to 50,000 is billed by Farage as "Back to Normality", a fine broader election slogan for UKIP.

    @jameschappers James Chapman, Daily Mail political editor

    tweets: How would quitting EU allow migration control as Ukip claims? Free trade would have to include free movement. Switz has migrant pop of 23%

    07:54: After the riots BBC Radio 4 Today

    BBC Radio 4's Tom Bateman is in Tottenham for the Today programme. He's looking at how much - if anything - has changed in the area since the 2011 London riots.

    Despite a number of high-profile initiatives there are still not enough funds available to help young people into jobs in Haringey, Chris Hall, the head of a local school for children expelled from the mainstream system, says.

    He adds that lack of jobs remains the biggest problem in the borough, with unemployment levels well above the national average, At the same time the council has to find £70m of spending cuts.

    07:50: UKIP manifesto BBC Radio 4 Today

    When will your manifesto come out Mr Farage? "It'll be coming out in April. I suspect it'll come out later than the other parties... Later so that what we say will have some impact." He says he would "never have contemplated" releasing it last week despite it being reported that, in fact, that was what was originally planned.

    @sundersays Sunder Katwala, director of @britishfuture on identity and integration

    tweets: Ukip 5 year "immigration ban" was actually a moratorium on integration (settlement & citizenship). Glad if thats gone

    07:44: Outside the EU BBC Radio 4 Today

    Pressed on the suggestion of a 50,000 limit made very recently by his immigration spokesman, Mr Farage replies, his ire rising a bit: "We're not having caps, we're getting rid of caps." He goes on: "I do not believe we would need up to 50,000 people a year. I think the figure would be substantially lower." He says the UK is currently discriminating against better skilled people from outside the EU in favour of low-skilled European workers.

    @IsabelHardman Isabel Hardman, assistant editor of the Spectator

    tweets: Chris Leslie's r4 slot showed programming your frontbenchers to chant "out of touch" isn't quite enough to deal with good economic news

    07:36: Immigration 'normality' BBC Radio 4 Today

    "Back to normality - what we had from Windrush to the year 2000" - that's what Nigel Farage tells Today he wants to return the level of net migration to.

    07:34: 'More flexibility' BBC Radio 4 Today

    "I'm not putting caps or targets," Mr Farage continues. "You need to have more flexibility than that." "What I want to talk about is how we'd be better off with an Australian-style points system."

    @Peston Robert Peston BBC economics editor

    tweets: Living standards back to where they were in 2007-8, but mainly for those over 60. & are rising strongly now, says IFS

    07:28: Eurostar sale
    Eurostar train

    In case you're wondering what Barry Sheerman was tweeting about, the government announced overnight it had sold its stake in Eurostar. The stake is being bought by a Canadian pension fund and a UK asset manager, who will buy shares for £585m. Eurostar will also hand over £170m to redeem shares which guarantee a dividend. The government's stake was officially valued last year at £325m.

    'Who benefits?' BBC Radio 4 Today

    Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie is sure that people aren't feeling richer. "I don't think we can dispute there is a recovery, but the question is who benefits from that recovery," he tells Today. He certainly doesn't accept that the IFS report blows any holes in Labour's arguments about a cost of living crisis.

    07:24: Household incomes

    Big discussion about the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report on household incomes. Whether the average household income is back to levels they were at before the financial downturn struck. One one measure, for the over 60s, it is. But for most of the rest of us, it hasn't got there yet. Our story here.

    @PickardJE Jim Pickard, chief political correspondent for the Financial Times

    tweets: Household incomes returning to pre-crisis levels, more or less. Labour's campaign theme for March? Cost of living crisis.

    07:15: 'Sounds a lot' BBC Breakfast

    Mr Farage says his new immigration system would cost "a few hundred million pounds" which "sounds a lot" but would bring huge savings in the long run.

    07:14: 'Some exceptions' BBC Breakfast

    UKIP suggests someone coming in to Britain should earn £27,000 or more. But when it's put to Mr Farage that a nurse's starting salary is much less than that, he admits: "I do accept that with the health service there will be some exceptions."

    07:12: Skilled workers BBC Breakfast

    Nigel Farage has moved on to BBC Breakfast. He says last year 27,000 people came into the UK who would have passed UKIP's points system. He seems happy with that as long as all of that number don't claim benefits for five years and have health insurance.

    07:06: 'Wages have struggled' BBC Radio 4

    Over on Today - which you can listen to via the live tab above - Paul Johnson, from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, says incomes have "taken an awfully long time to recover", but the government has made a "reasonably significant effort at reducing the deficit". More on the IFS's view of wages in our story here.

    07:01: 'Back to normality'

    Nigel Farage has done his first interview of the day on Good Morning Britain. He was pressed about his immigration policy. He said the 50,000 mentioned by Steven Wolfe wasn't about net migration it was "about the number of foreign workers" arriving in Britain. He says the British public are "bored of targets", and he wants to get immigration "back to normality", which traditionally "varied between about 20 and 50,000 a year". He sounds slightly exasperated when it's put to him that, actually, that still sounds like a target.

    @BarrySheerman Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield

    tweets: Selling off the family silver in a panic as Election approaches Royal Mail East Coast & now Eurostar! What a Govt!

    Gawain Towler, UKIP communications officer

    tweets: @Nigel_Farage waiting to go on Good Morning Britain @ukip

    Nigel Farage

    @WalesPolitics BBC Wales Politics

    tweets: More Welsh voters think David Cameron (34%) would make a better PM than Ed Miliband (23%), according to a BBC Wales/ICM poll published today

    06:48: Policy muddle? Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    You might say this is just policy nerds at Westminster trawling over the details of UKIP policy, but the danger, I think, for them is that this moves from a policy muddle story to a policy shambles story. It could become an issue about UKIP's credibility and how serious a party they are, and that does have the potential to damage them. It also follows a bit of a tangle they got into over the NHS a short time ago about whether they favour a private insurance model or not.

    I wonder - and we saw it to some extent with the Greens last week - if the smaller parties are beginning to sweat a bit now the focus is really on them. They are beginning to find it a bit tougher.

    Despite all the talk of this election being different from any before, I wonder whether actually this might really end up being the usual big clash between the two big parties on the two big issues, the economy and the NHS.

    06:41: Party politics
    David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Theresa May

    We stand corrected. Having said Theresa May seemed unmoved by whatever joke David Cameron and Nick Clegg were enjoying yesterday before the Mexican president's visit, we've found evidence to the contrary. Here she is having a ball with the deputy PM.

    06:38: Lib Dem drug policy
    Nick Clegg

    Nick Clegg is due to give a speech today on drugs. He'll say a future Lib Dem government would take control of drugs policy out of the hands of the Home Office and give it to the Department of Health. He will also pledge to end the "nonsense" of jailing people for possessing small amount of drugs for their personal use, and say young people should not be penalised in later life because of a criminal record.

    @YouGov YouGov, polling firm

    tweets: Update: Cons lead at 2 - Latest YouGov / Sun results 3rd Mar - Con 36%, Lab 34%, LD 5%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%; APP -19

    06:32: Target ditched? Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Nigel Farage is expected to say his party wants a new migration control commission to get net migration down. We already know it also wants to give commonwealth citizens the same rights to come here as EU workers. And if it was in government, UKIP would have a points-based system, like in Australia, to only allow in highly skilled workers that the economy needs.

    But the idea of a cap - or target - on how many can come appears to have been ditched. Having seen the Conservatives get into trouble after they spectacularly failed to deliver on a firm pledge to get net migration down to the tens of thousands, the UKIP leader says he does not want any 'arbitrary targets'. But just last week the party's spokesman on the issue, Steven Woolfe talked about an annual gross target of 50 thousand workers. It's something the party has touted as policy for months.

    06:27: UKIP immigration speech

    On to today's news. Campaign-wise, UKIP are currently top of the shop with a big speech coming up later on one of the subjects they're most associated with - immigration. Leader Nigel Farage will promise not to set "arbitrary" immigration targets and instead focus on controlling our borders with an Australian-style points-based visa system. The use of the word "arbitrary" is no doubt a dig at David Cameron who, of course, vowed to get immigration down below 100,000 at the last general election, but has been unable to do so.

    06:22: Front pages

    Here's our digest of today's newspapers. In terms of politics, the Sun claims to have a Budget exclusive, saying George Osborne is planning to cut the price of a pint again. Elsewhere, the Times' front page carries a big picture of David Cameron and Nick Clegg in stitches at an event on Tuesday. Whatever the joke was, Theresa May, pictured behind them stony-faced, doesn't seem to get it.

    06:18: Labour demands more on abuse

    Labour want to go further and make it mandatory for any allegation of abuse to be reported. They accused the government of "a missed opportunity", but others, including, former Conservative children's minister Tim Loughton, warned against Labour's idea, saying it could put victims off telling anyone about their suffering.

    06:16: Child sexual abuse

    Tuesday was dominated by the issue of child sexual abuse as a damning report into the treatment of girls in Oxfordshire was published. David Cameron held a meeting at No 10 and announced that in future, teachers, councillors and social workers in England and Wales who fail to protect children could face up to five years in jail.

    06:11: Good morning

    Hello and welcome to a fresh Wednesday's political coverage. Victoria King and Matthew West will bring you all the action, reaction and analysis in text and you'll be able to watch and listen to all the main BBC political programmes, from Today and Breakfast through to Newsnight and Today in Parliament. Don't forget you can get in touch by emailing or via social media @bbcpolitics. Here's how Tuesday unfolded.



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