Royal Mail sale: MPs recall Vince Cable for evidence

Vince Cable

Related Stories

Business Secretary Vince Cable is being recalled by MPs to give more evidence over the privatisation of Royal Mail.

The announcement follows a report by the National Audit Office last week saying the government could have achieved better value for money for taxpayers through the sell-off.

Mr Cable will be questioned for a second time on 29 April by the House of Commons Business Committee.

Business minister Michael Fallon will appear alongside him.

Royal Mail shares are more than 70% higher than their 2013 sale price.

Labour has called the privatisation a "first-class disaster", but Liberal Democrat Mr Cable has insisted the government was "right to take a cautious approach" to price-setting to ensure that it went smoothly.

'Price'

He refused to apologise and said the sale had raised £2bn for the taxpayer, with a further £1.5bn from the 30% stake in Royal Mail which it had retained.

The privatisation of Royal Mail took place amid huge public interest and the shares rose by 38% from 330p to 455p on their first day of trading, meaning taxpayers had lost out on at least £750m in the sale.

Royal Mail

Last Updated at 26 Jan 2015, 11:30 ET Royal Mail twelve month chart
price change %
451.30 p +
+10.30
+
+2.34

In last week's report, the National Audit Office was critical of the government's approach.

Its head, Amyas Morse, said: "The [business] department was very keen to achieve its objective of selling Royal Mail, and was successful in getting the company listed on the FTSE 100.

"Its approach, however, was marked by deep caution, the price of which was borne by the taxpayer."

Demand for Royal Mail shares was 24 times the maximum number available to investors, the NAO said, but the banks overseeing the sale had advised there was not sufficient demand to justify a significantly higher figure.

The Business Select Committee is compiling its own report on the privatisation.

The controversy over the Royal Mail sell-off prompted angry exchanges between Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband in Parliament last week.

Mr Miliband said Mr Cameron was "not so much the 'Wolf of Wall Street' as the 'dunce of Downing Street'".

The prime minister likened the Labour leader and shadow chancellor Ed Balls to "two Muppets".

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Politics stories

RSS

Politics Live

  1.  
    23:59:

    That's all for today. We will be back from 06:00 GMT with more coverage, including speeches by David Cameron and Ed Miliband. They will be setting out more pledges for the general election, with 100 days to go before the UK goes to the polls.

     
  2.  
    23:50: Online voting proposal BBC News Channel

    Areeq Chowdury, Chief Executive of WebRoots Democracy, told BBC News: "A number of studies recently have shown that people are more likely to vote if they could do it online.

    "We need to recognise the shift in the culture of society."

     
  3.  
    @MSmithsonPB 23:48: Mike Smithson, editor of politicalbetting.com

    Tweets: "This is the best series of polls for the Tories since George Osborne's budget in March 2012"

     
  4.  
    23:41: Voting with contempt

    Former Conservative cabinet minister Ken Clarke tells BBC Newsnight that protest parties across Europe are succeeding due to voters' "contempt" for the governing parties. He says Syriza has "quite a core of Trotskyites", but its victory does not herald a resurgence of the left across the continent, because most European protest movements are "of the nationalist, anti-foreigner right".

     
  5.  
    23:36: Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party

    The Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion tells BBC Newsnight the choice between the Conservatives and Labour is between "austerity and austerity light".

     
  6.  
    23:34: 'Shift in centre ground'
    Diane Abbott

    Labour MP Diane Abbott tells BBC Newsnight that although Syriza's victory in Greece doesn't mean "we'll see a resurgence of the Marxist left", recent years have seen a "steady move towards a critique of free markets and Tory austerity". She says there has been "a shift in the centre ground" on attitudes towards "untrammelled free markets".

    Asked by presenter Evan Davis what lessons Labour could learn from Syriza, Ms Abbott said she would like to think "this would give us the courage not to deny the need to do something about the deficit, but to offer a critique of Tory austerity".

     
  7.  
    23:28: 'Sunifesto' The Sun

    On foreign affairs, the paper wants an in/out referendum on the EU following a renegotiation of the UK's relationship with the union. It thinks the next government should scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights to enshrine "British values". And it wants to do away with the pledge that 0.7% of GDP should be used for foreign aid. The paper says it recognises that ground troops may have to be deployed to Iraq and Syria to battle Islamic State.

     
  8.  
    @BBCNewsnight 23:11: BBC Newsnight

    Tweets: "Former chairman of the Financial Services Authority Adair Turner: "austerity has been too tight across the whole of Europe" #newsnight"

     
  9.  
    23:08: A look ahead to tomorrow's papers

    The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail lead on changes to benefits. The latter says that with 100 days to go before the polls open, David Cameron will launch a "new crackdown on the workshy", with the current cap on household benefits of £26,000 reduced to £23,000 if the Conservatives win the election.

     
  10.  
    @BBCNewsnight 22:56: BBC Newsnight

    Tweets: ""If Greece falls and is removed from the Eurozone, the Eurozone will collapse," Syriza economics spokesperson tells #newsnight"

     
  11.  
    22:50: A look ahead to tomorrow's papers

    The Financial Times, The Guardian and the International New York Times all lead on the fall-out from the Greek elections. The Guardian says Syriza are promising to "end the humiliation" of austerity and repayments, but the International NYT says Alexis Tsipras faces "tougher constituents" than those who elected him - in the form of Greece's creditors.

     
  12.  
    22:40: Labour's NHS '10-year-plan'
    Ed Miliband

    Ed Miliband will pledge tomorrow that a Labour government would bring in new safety checks to identify people at risk of needing hospital treatment and employ 5,000 new home care workers.

    In a speech in Trafford, Greater Manchester on Tuesday, the Labour leader will say the NHS faces "its most perilous moment" at May's general election.

    Labour's previously-announced NHS pledges include 20,000 more nurses and providing cancer tests and results within a week.

    All of the major parties have pledged what they say is enough money to maintain NHS services in the next Parliament after the general election.

     
  13.  
    @BBCNewsnight 22:27: BBC Newsnight

    Tune in to BBC Newsnight at 22:30 on BBC Two for an in-depth look at the Greek election results - as well as analysis of what the victory of Syriza signifies for left-wing parties in other European countries.

     
  14.  
    @robindbrant 22:22: Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Tweets: "It runs into 6/7 pages with something in it for cam, mili and Farage. Seems more in line with what Tories are saying though in general."

     
  15.  
    22:19: The Sun
    The Sun front page

    With 100 days to go until the polls open, The Sun leads tomorrow with its "Sunifesto" - the list of policies it would like to see the next government pursue. The paper wants the deficit eliminated by 2020. It calls for a government prepared to "think the unthinkable" and "radically reform the NHS with private sector help". It also calls for more women and ethnic minority MPs.

     
  16.  
    @robindbrant 22:11: Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Tweets: ".@Sun_Politics publishing it's 'sunifesto' with 100 days to go until Elex, says the paper 'hasn't decided' who it wants in power yet"

     
  17.  
    22:02: Tories lead Labour - ComRes poll The Independent

    A ComRes poll for The Independent suggests that the Conservative Party has nudged ahead with 100 days to go. The full results:

    Conservatives - 31%

    Labour - 30%

    UKIP - 17%

    Liberal Democrat - 8%

    Greens - 7%

    Others - 7%

    The poll is based on telephone interviews with 1,001 adults in Great Britain between 23 and 25 January.

     
  18.  
    21:54: PLP chair out

    Dave Watts, the MP for St Helens North, has announced he will stand down early as Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party - a role in which he acts as an intermediary between Labour backbenchers and the Shadow Cabinet.

    Mr Watts has already said he will not stand for re-election to Parliament in May and said tonight that it would be best for a new chairman of the PLP to be in place before the election.

    Labour leader Ed Miliband praised Mr Watts, saying he had led the PLP with "good humour, diligence, and decency".

     
  19.  
    @simonwjones01 21:43: Simon Jones, BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament

    Tweets: "Vigorous debate in #TodayinParliament - #fracking, a "snooper's charter" & the child abuse inquiry. With @Susanh12 2330 @BBCRadio4 tonight."

     
  20.  
    21:27: Deputy PM Tim Farron?
    Tim Farron

    Last week BBC Newsnight enlisted several political commentators to imagine the different scenarios that could arise if the May election produces a hung parliament.

    And earlier today Tom Clark at the Guardian thought about the potential wheeling and dealing between parties if there is no clear victor.

     
  21.  
    @Nigel_Farage 21:16: Nigel Farage, UKIP leader

    Tweets: I'm not always one for predictions, but the latest Mirror poll puts us on 23%. Make of it what you will! http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ukip-course-16-seats-mays-5047512

     
  22.  
    20:58: Fracking

    MPs have overwhelmingly rejected a bid to suspend fracking for shale gas, but the government had to accept proposals by Labour to ensure 13 conditions were met before any gas extraction takes place. Read the full story.

    Earlier today protestors, including the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, gathered outside the Palace of Westminster to campaign against fracking.

     
  23.  
    @davidshukmanbbc 20:54: Fracking vote - David Shukman, BBC Science Editor

    Tweets: Call for moratorium on #fracking rejected overwhelmingly in Commons vote - but Govt concedes outright ban in national parks.

     
  24.  
    20:54: Impossible to call
    Ballot box

    The editor of the BBC's Political Research Unit, David Cowling, looks at some of the reasons why the 2015 election is shaping up to be the most difficult to predict in a long time.

     
  25.  
    @JGForsyth 20:51: James Forsyth, political editor of The Spectator

    Tweets: "New Mirror/Survation poll intriguing. Tories ahead despite Ukip being on 23% and Labour down at 30% despite the Greens only being on 3%"

     
  26.  
    @jameschappers 20:31: James Chapman, Daily Mail political editor

    Tweets: "Biz Sec Vince Cable breaks ranks to suggest deal with Tsipras: 'Several European countries have enjoyed substantial debt relief in the past'"

     
  27.  
    20:20: The Daily Telegraph

    Dan Hodges writes that it would be foolish of left-wing voters to want - or expect - Ed Miliband to mimic the rhetoric of new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras: "For all the post-crash wishful thinking, the pendulum of history is not swinging leftward."

     
  28.  
    20:05: Online voting proposal BBC News Channel

    Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, told BBC News the UK needed to engage the public more with democracy and make it easier for people to vote.

    "We are in a digital age and the public are using their smart phones and the internet to do everything, so why should they not be able to do online voting," he said.

    Mr Halfon is a member of the Commons' Digital Democracy Commission, which published a report earlier, calling for people to be able to vote online in the 2020 general election.

     
  29.  
    20:05: Tracking poll changes

    The results of tonight's polls - and the hundreds sure to come in the months ahead - will be incorporated into the BBC's new interactive poll tracker.

    The tool allows you to compare the parties' current ratings from a range of pollsters, and see how they have performed since 2010.

     
  30.  
    @patrickwintour 19:50: Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian

    Tweets: "By evening end, 5 opinion polls published today - Survation, ComRes, Ipsos Mori, Populus and Ashcroft. At this rate 500 polls to go."

     
  31.  
    19:40: BBC Generation 2015

    If you are aged between 18 and 24 and eligible to vote in May's General Election, the BBC wants to hear from you. You could Be part of BBC Generation 2015 - a UK-wide group of young voters who will take part in local and national BBC programmes in the run up to the General Election in May.

    You could find yourself on the One Show, Radio 1 Newsbeat, or Newsnight - in fact, anywhere across BBC output where the Election is being discussed.

     
  32.  
    @susanh12 19:28: Susan Hulme, BBC Parliamentary Correspondent

    Tweets: Ban on #fracking in #national parks? Lots of confusion in the Commons over whether minister @AmberRuddMP announced something new. Or not?

     
  33.  
    19:17: House of Lords

    Former Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi says she is concerned that peers have not been given enough time to scrutinise the amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill put forward today.

    Describing herself as a person "who will probably be subjected to more random checks than other members" of the House of Lords, she says the extra powers being suggested worry her.

    National security is very hard to define, she argues, and can be interpreted to justify a "very wide and very broad" number of reasons to check citizens' communications.

    Baroness Warsi
     
  34.  
    19:07: Interactive poll tracker

    On the BBC's new interactive poll tracker, you'll be able to see how different organisations have gauged party fortunes since 2010, along with a timeline that suggests how key events since the last election may have shaped public opinion.

    The BBC's own poll of polls is a rolling average of all polls included in the tracker.

     
  35.  
    18:59: Murray 'more prime ministerial' than Miliband
    Al Murray holding a pint of beer

    The communications agency Hotwire PR unveils a poll which shows that comedian Al Murray is thought of as a better potential prime minister than Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg. More than 2,000 respondents were asked: "Who would make the best Prime Minister?" The full results were as follows:

    David Cameron - 28.7%

    Al Murray - 26.3%

    Ed Miliband - 14.9%

    Nigel Farage - 12.4%

    Natalie Bennett - 10.5%

    Nick Clegg - 7.2%

     
  36.  
    @MrHarryCole 18:51: Harry Cole, contributing editor at The Spectator

    Tweets: "So Tories roll over on plain packs and now fracking? Why not just give Labour the keys..."

     
  37.  
    18:42: Miliband speech

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has been holding a "People's Question Time" session in Hednesford, Staffordshire. He told attendees that his party would "put working people first" in order to build a prosperous UK if it wins the general election. Hear more about what he had to say here.

    Ed Miliband Mr Miliband has been holding a 'People's Question Time' in Hednesford, Staffordshire
     
  38.  
    18:36: Fracking vote

    Bid to suspend fracking until further environmental research has been done in to the impact has failed in the Commons by 308 votes to 52.

     
  39.  
    House of Lords 18:22: Internet privacy

    Lord West of Spithead, a former minister for security and counter-terrorism, argues that the measures have been "kicked into touch" for political reasons, and the new powers being debated today are "considerably" different from the measures that received scathing criticism back in December.

    Lord West of Spithead
     
  40.  
    @patrickwintour 18:08: Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian

    Tweets: "Government retreat on fracking in face of likely defeat is serious blow to the nascent industry. Zombie Parliament less dead than thought."

     
  41.  
    @paulwaugh 17:59: Paul Waugh, Editor of Politics Home

    Tweets: "Looks like Govt have cracked on fracking . Big u-turn to accept Labour new clause 19. Must've faced huge Tory rebellion."

     
  42.  
    17:48: The opposite of Clegg-mania
    Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown and David Cameron

    George Eaton, political editor of the New Statesman, writes that the format of the prospective leader's debates is far from ideal for Nick Clegg's party: "Sidelined in the seven-way, and locked out of the two-way, the danger for the Lib Dems is that the debates would leave them looking more irrelevant than ever."

     
  43.  
    17:42: Isabel Hardman, assistant editor of The Spectator The Spectator

    Isabel Hardman says the Labour Party's attack at Work and Pensions Questions today fell flat, leaving the session feeling "a bit like a Tory campaign launch".

     
  44.  
    @andybell5news 17:33: Andy Bell, political editor of Channel 5 News

    Tweets: "Are Sinn Fein to be included in #TVDebates ? Even if they don't take their seats in Parliament? Do they want to be ?"

     
  45.  
    House of Lords 17:26: Internet privacy

    Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Lord Blair of Boughton, argues that the police and security services are not asking for new powers, but for a retention of powers that they "already have had and are losing" due to the changing way communications are sent and received.

     
  46.  
    @paulwaugh 17:19: Paul Waugh, editor of Politics Home

    Tweets: "Looks like an 8-way. Labour back DUP too. Source: "We can see no good reason to treat NI differently to the rest of the UK in these debates"

     
  47.  
    @MichaelLCrick 17:14: Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

    Tweets: "Forget this 100 days tomorrow lark, it's now 78 days, maybe fewer, before people start voting in significant numbers in election - by post"

     
  48.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 17:04: Get involved

    G Kelly, Hampshire: 101 days of what seems to be a no-brainer. After the election, regardless whether there is an overall majority or not, there will only be one Prime Minister and that will be either David Cameron or Ed Milliband. Minority parties could enter into coalition, but with whom? Dreams of holding a working balance of power are just that - dreams.

     
  49.  
    House of Lords 16:50: Internet privacy

    The Lords have begun considering the main business of the day: an 18-page cross party amendment to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, re-introducing the so-called "Snoopers Charter" which makes internet service providers log more of what people do online.

    It would also make the logged data more easily accessible to law enforcement and security services.

    The motion has been tabled by four senior peers: Lord King of Bridgewater, a Conservative former defence secretary; the cross-bencher and former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Lord Blair of Boughton; the Labour former security minister Lord West of Spithead, and the Liberal Democrat Lord Carlile of Berriew, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.

     
  50.  
    @Kevin_Maguire 16:40: Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror

    tweets: How newspaper readers voted 2010: Mirror Lab 59%, Con 16%. Mail Con 59%, Lab 16%! See photo

     
  51.  
    #ukipfilmtitles trending on Twitter

    @EmmaJCot tweets: 10 Things I Hate About EU #UkipFilmTitles

    @miky85tre tweets: Union Jackass #UkipFilmTitles

     
  52.  
    16:27: Silence from Amjad Bashir Guido Fawkes

    The Guido Fawkes blog reports that Amjad Bashir has been "gagged" by the Conservative Party, and is not allowed to make a statement on his own behalf to respond to a number of stories about his past that have emerged since his defection from UKIP. The website says that when directly asked if he had previously been a member of Respect, Mr Bashir hung up the phone without answering.

     
  53.  
    16:16: House of Commons

    In its rolling coverage of today's business in Parliament, BBC Democracy Live reports that the timetable for today's debate on the Infrastructure Bill has been approved and the session is under way.

     
  54.  
    16:04: Lord Ashcroft poll Conservative Home

    At Conservative Home, Lord Ashcroft outlines the results of his latest national poll. Labour and the Conservatives are level on 32%, with UKIP in third-place on 15%. The Greens come fourth at 9%, with the Liberal Democrats in fifth-place with 6%. 1,001 adults were interviewed by telephone between 23 and 25 January.

     
  55.  
    15:50: BBC News Channel

    Tessa Jowell, the Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, tells the BBC's Vicki Young: "People are more interested than we give them credit for. It depends how the campaign is conducted - the real campaign will be on the doorsteps, and church halls, and the villages and town centres of the country. That's where people do engage."

     
  56.  
    15:41: Party support in London

    The Evening Standard unveils a poll which shows Labour have a clear lead in London, with a number of coalition MPs in the capital facing a tough battle for their seats. Ed Miliband's party sits on 42%, with the Conservatives second on 32%. The Liberal Democrats have sunk to fifth-place with 7%, behind UKIP and the Greens.

     
  57.  
    @ftwestminster Financial Times Westminster

    tweets: Four themes that will decide the election on.ft.com/1Dad2gl

     
  58.  
    15:39: BBC/Populus issues poll

    Find out more about the results of the BBC's poll - which asked what people see as 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.

     
  59.  
    15:35: Changing sides
    Douglas Carswell

    "What I do know is that it's incredibly difficult when someone changes side in politics."

    Douglas Carswell tells the Daily Politics show about the defection of UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir to the Conservatives, hours after he was suspended over various allegations by the party he was leaving.

    The Essex MP also speaks to Jo Coburn about his own defection in the opposite political direction last year.

     
  60.  
    15:24: Better than an empty chair?
    Champagne glasses

    Former SNP leader Alex Salmond tells the Aberdeen Press and Journal he thinks the broadcasters should put objects in place of any party leaders who don't show up for the TV debates. He suggested the following:

    David Cameron - a glass of champagne

    Ed Miliband - a bacon sandwich

    Nick Clegg - the pledge not to raise tuition fees he signed during the 2010 general election campaign

    Nigel Farage - a pint of beer

    Mr Salmond also said a debate between just David Cameron and Ed Miliband would be a simple re-run of PMQs, which has "turned off more television sets than the standby button".

     
  61.  
    15:17: Reality Check: Immigration
    Mark Easton

    In this video, the BBC's home editor Mark Easton reports on how immigration could factor as one of the big issues in the general election.

     
  62.  
    Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Get involved

    @Liz_Hutchins tweets: 'We are addicted to the fag ends of fossil fuels' @julianhuppert tells rally #banfracking

     
  63.  
    15:05: Hoax call to No 10

    Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg says it is "quite right" that security is being reviewed after a hoax caller - posing as the head of government monitoring agency GCHQ - got to speak to the prime minister.

    Mr Clegg says: "Downing Street has been clear that this is being looked in to at the moment and when a hoax call like that take place, security arrangements are of course, quite rightly, reviewed."

     
  64.  
    14:59: Today in Parliament

    Work and Pensions questions kick off today's action in the House of Commons, with the controversial under-occupancy penalty - or what opponents label the "bedroom tax" - one of the topics set to be discussed.

    The House of Lords will consider the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. A number of peers, including former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Blair, are attempting to introduce an amendment to the bill, and have faced accusations they are effectively re-introducing the so-called "Snoopers Charter" after it was emphatically rejected by a joint parliamentary committee on the Communications Data Bill.

    You can follow the BBC's coverage of Parliament on Westminster Live.

     
  65.  
    14:58: 'We've stuck with it' BBC News Channel
    Liberal Democrat MP Ian Swales

    Liberal Democrat MP Ian Swales tells the BBC: "I think the fact that the coalition has been here five years proves that we can do business with people. We've had to react to the problems in the country, we knew that life would be difficult for us, both in government and as a party - but we've stuck at it, we've stuck together.

    "And I think we've made a huge difference that the public will come to recognise - maybe over the coming years when historians start to write this Parliament up they'll realise what a great job we've done."

     
  66.  
    14:48: 'Nasty' tag The Daily Mail

    A YouGov/Prospect poll for the Daily Mail says the Tories' lead Labour when voters are forced to choose between the two parties, but that 42% of voters still see the Conservatives as the "nasty party".

     
  67.  
    14:47: Election scenarios The Guardian

    The Guardian's Tom Clark looks at some of the potential outcomes of a hung parliament in May, and asks what kind of deals - if any - we might expect to see between the parties.

     
  68.  
    14:43: Fracking vote

    MPs will attempt to amend a government bill on infrastructure later on Monday - to bar the fracking of shale gas. The House of Commons debate on fracking should start just after 15:30 GMT - with voting starting at 17:30. You can watch proceedings on Democracy Live.

     
  69.  
    14:37: Three wise men BBC News Channel
    Sir Menzies Campbell, Jack Straw & Sir Richard Ottoway

    Biggest changes they've seen at Parliament? Sir Menzies Campbell, Jack Straw & Sir Richard Ottoway give their views - Watch their BBC News Channel interview on Twitter

     
  70.  
    The Daily Telegraph

    James Kirkup contrasts Ed Miliband's response to the Greek election result with David Cameron's, and says the Labour leader's "bland, faintly pious, and politically pointless" words leave him looking "like a bystander".

     
  71.  
    Isabel Hardman The Spectator

    writes: As coalition rows go, today's 'spat' over who is most supportive of aspirational voters really is the more boring for a while. Read more

     
  72.  
    14:25: Reality Check: Health & the NHS

    And in this report, the BBC's health editor Hugh Pym asks how the NHS will feature in the general election campaign.

     
  73.  
    14:15: Reality Check: Education
    gillian hargreaves

    Over the next three months, the BBC is going to look at the main party manifestos and 'reality check' the facts and figures that are presented.

    In this video, the BBC's education correspondent Gillian Hargreaves examines the issues that politicians will have to tackle affecting schools and universities in the run up to the general election.

     
  74.  
    14:11: Ask Nick Robinson

    More from BBC political editor Nick Robinson, who is doing a live Facebook Q&A until 1430:

    Facebook
     
  75.  
    14:03: Clegg on election debates

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he is "not completely happy" with the proposals for the televised election debates, but acknowledges that "everyone is going to have to compromise".

    He says: "I hope David Cameron takes part in those leaders' debates. I hope everyone does. I think, you know, you shouldn't be looking for excuses to wriggle out of them which appears to be the approach from the Conservative party so far."

     
  76.  
    13:56: Jagger on fracking BBC News Channel
     Bianca Jagger

    Former actress and human rights campaigner, Bianca Jagger, has joined the anti-fracking rally at Westminster. She tells BBC News: "What I hope to achieve is to convince MPs that what is at stake here is our way of life, our environment, our water sources, the air we breathe everyday - that this will be putting in danger even our commitment to reducing CO2 emissions."

     
  77.  
    13:50: Anti-fracking protest
    protesters at westminster

    Anti-fracking campaigners are protesting at Westminster where they will be handing in a petition to MPs later, signed by 300,000 people. They are opposing legislation that would allow companies to frack - or extract shale gas - from beneath people's land and home without landowners' permission.

    It comes as an influential committee of MPs has called for a moratorium on fracking on the grounds that it could derail efforts to tackle climate change.

     
  78.  
    13:47: Clegg on Greece

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said that differences of opinion between Greece and other European countries must be "resolved quickly" to avoid "a long period of instability" in the eurozone.

    "Clearly the election results in Greece will now lead to a period of uncertainty in the eurozone. Any uncertainty is frankly unwelcome because what you need is stability and certainty for economic growth to really take root. And I think that one of the lessons that we can all draw looking at Greece is that we could have been Greece. As a country our deficit back in 2010 was very similar to the deficit that Greece had.

    "We took the difficult and frankly at times downright unpopular decisions to pull the country back from the brink and I hope that whatever the differences of opinion are between Greece and those other parts of the eurozone, that those differences can be resolved quickly because we can't afford a long period of instability."

     
  79.  
    13:45: Ask Nick Robinson

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson is on Facebook now, dispensing wisdom on your questions and comments in a live Q&A. Here's a sample:

    Facebook
     
  80.  
    13:39: 100 constituencies
    thurrock

    The BBC's Today programme is visiting 100 constituencies between now and polling day. The BBC's Matthew Price has been in Thurrock and finds that it is now a three-way battle.

    "The fracturing of the political landscape, which is happening across the country, makes this one of the least predictable general elections the UK has seen in recent memory," he says.

    As far as Harris, a 27-year-old scrap metal merchant from Grays in Essex, is concerned, the last five years have seen a shift in the political landscape of this country. "People's ideas of what they want have changed," he says.

     
  81.  
    Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    tweets: Ed Miliband accuses PM of playing politics over reaction to Greek election result

     
  82.  
    13:29: Ask Nick Robinson

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson is at his keyboard, preparing to answer your questions on a live Facebook Q&A.

    Nick Robinson
     
  83.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk Get involved

    Louis Lavery emails: Online voting, by mobile too, I assume? That'd likely encourage far more youngsters to vote. So long as it can be made secure. Someone give Dave a ring and see what he thinks.

     
  84.  
    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: YouGov for Standard puts Lib Dems 5th in London, behind UKIP & Greens, Lab 10 ahead of Cons standard.co.uk/news/politics/… via @JoeMurphyLondon

     
  85.  
    13:01: How Parliament has changed BBC News Channel
    Sir Menzies Campbell, Jack Straw and Richard Ottoway

    The BBC's Norman Smith spoke to three eminent Parliamentarians planning to step down at the next election. Richard Ottoway, right, Jack Straw, centre, and Sir Menzies Campbell, who said the big changes he had seen was the pace of the news cycle and the lack of time to "sit, read and to think". He also said constituents were much more demanding than they used to be.

     
  86.  
    Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay Get involved

    @x00 tweets: Not sure I trust online voting enough. Or e-voting either >> Election should include online voting in 2020 - Bercow http://bbc.in/18hEQG1

     
  87.  
    12:45: Online voting plans

    Labour's Angela Eagle, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, said the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy "suggests some interesting ways to improve our democracy and help us meet the challenges of our modern age".

    "Labour is committed to piloting online voting to see if it can be done securely and affordably. We will also create a new democracy portal to draw together in one place all of the things you need to know before you vote, we will make it easier to register to vote and we will reform the scrutiny of legislation to formalise a role for the public and give a greater role to backbench MPs."

     
  88.  
    12:34: Lib Dem tax plans
    Danny Alexander Danny Alexander, left, with Vince Cable earlier this month

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander hits back at Conservative claims that Lib Dem plans to raise taxes are the "enemy of aspiration".

    "The Tories seem to think that aspiration should be for the rich. The Lib Dems are delivering opportunity for everyone. We have been cutting taxes from millions of working people against the wishes of the Conservatives, eight million families over £1,300-a-year better off thanks to the Liberal Democrat tax cuts. The Tories need to recognise that everybody has the right to expect the government to be on their side, not just the wealthiest."

     
  89.  
    @estembassyuk Estonian Embassy UK

    tweets: John Bercow talks abt perks of e-voting http://ow.ly/HWeOu via @guardian. #Estonia has used e-voting since 2005 http://ow.ly/HWa1H

     
  90.  
    12:20: Greek election fallout Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    The prime minister "respects the decision of the Greek people" but he believes that the new Greek government "need to meet their international commitments" to the IMF and other creditors, Downing Street says. Asked if David Cameron has spoken to either Germany's Angela Merkel or France's President Hollande since the election result, the PM's official spokesperson said "no".

     
  91.  
    12:09: Online voting plans BBC Radio 4 The World at One

    Professor Ian Brown, Associate Director of Oxford University's Cyber Security Centre, has told the BBC's World at One that a proposal to introduce online voting by 2020 is "really incredibly optimistic". Professor Brown, who contributed to the democracy commission set up by Commons Speaker John Bercow, said the proposal would not be deliverable in time.

    "For national elections you really want to be very sure indeed that people aren't able to break into voting systems and to affect people's opinion of the trustworthiness of the results, which I think unfortunately would be a very significant risk if we in the UK were to introduce online voting in the kind of time-frame that John Bercow has talked about," he has told the programme.

     
  92.  
    12:07: Daily Politics

    The Daily Politics with Jo Coburn is under way - today they are looking at Greece's election fallout, the row over fracking and whether the old-fashioned ballot box will be a thing of the past by 2020. You can watch it live via the Live Coverage tab on this page, or on a TV on BBC Two.

     
  93.  
    12:01: Cameron on TV debates

    The prime minister has suggested that he believes that the general election leaders' debates should also represent parties in Northern Ireland. The PM was asked if he would "turn up" for the proposed seven-way debates which would include the Green Party, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru.

    He said: "We are making good progress. I was told that it was 'appalling' and 'outrageous' that I had suggested that you couldn't have one minor party without having the other minor party and I'm delighted the broadcasters have gone away and thought again. They've actually come up with rather more minor parties that I had in mind, but anyway, I'm sure they've thought it all through and they know what they are doing. Although I don't quite see why Northern Ireland seems to be missing out, because as far as I am concerned that's as important part of the United Kingdom as Wales or Scotland. But anyway, we are making good progress and I'm sure they know what they are doing.

    "I want to take part, they needed to do the minor party thing and they've certainly done that."

     
  94.  
    11:53: Coalition lessons from abroad Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor

    The average time it takes continental governments to form a coalition is, on average, 30 days. "So after the election we could have a good few weeks of wrangling and manoeuvring as we try and cobble together a coalition."

     
  95.  
    11:53: Hung future?
    Nick Pearce

    Nick Pearce, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, talks to the BBC about the possibility of a hung Parliament at the next election.

    He says coalition negotiations are often down to policy but the personal dynamics between leaders are very important too.

    "Britain is clearly evolving into a truly multi-party system," he says.

     
  96.  
    @Neil_FindlayMSP 11:53: Neil Findlay, Labour MSP

    tweets: Good to see the SNP do a U turn on the proposed women's super prison - public and Labour pressure making a real difference!

     
  97.  
    11:51: Downing Street latest Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Downing Street says an internal review is under way but the prime minister's official spokesman says the hoax call failings are not a disciplinary matter and they don't believe a crime was committed.

     
  98.  
    11:49: Downing Street latest Robin Brant Political Correspondent, BBC News

    The prime minister believes GCHQ should "learn what lessons to learn from this" as Downing Street confirmed an internal review was underway into how a hoax caller got through to the PM yesterday. The prime minister's official spokesman said it was not a disciplinary matter, although she admitted that parts of the protocol for putting calls through to the PM "were not followed". Asked if GCHQ's director Robert Hannigan had apologised to the PM she said that had not happened.

     
  99.  
    11:47: Osborne: Fishing & the risk from Greece

    George Osborne continues: "It is just a reminder to me - and I think a reminder to everyone here - of something very important, which is that we are linked to the fortunes of Europe. And so for everyone, today's result from the Greek election will increase economic risk for us in the European economy and I think it reinforces the need for us to go on working through an economic plan that is delivering economic security here at home."

     
  100.  
    11:45: Osborne: Fishing & the risk from Greece
    George Osborne

    UK Chancellor George Osborne, speaking in Plymouth, says: "This morning I was on a fishing boat in Newquay and the fisherman, Phil, who has fished for crabs and has done so for the last 40 years, was explaining to me how his business was being affected by the fact that spider crabs that he sells to Spain are not being sold in the same volumes - because the eurozone is not working, because jobs aren't there in Spain."

     

Features

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.