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Live Reporting

Adam Donald and Dominic Howell

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodnight

    Adam Donald and Dominic Howell

    Well it's goodnight from us, having taken the wheel when most of the day's pot-holes were in the rear-view mirror. The latter half of the day saw reaction to Prime Minister's Questions, with Ed Miliband on the receiving end of a challenge from Lord Fink to put up (outside Parliament) or shut up. The parties - and media commentators - went back and forth on the merits of Labour's pink minibus. Meanwhile, the business of running the country continued, with MPs accepting amendments suggested by the House of Lords to the Infrastructure Bill. Also of note was the fact that MPs rejected calls for the former chief executive of HSBC, Stephen Green, to make a statement about the tax row engulfing HSBC. The Labour Party made the demand during a Commons debate, but it was rejected by a majority vote. We'll be back from 06:00 on Thursday with all the latest political news, views, and analysis - it's set to be a big day. We know you'll be joining us from entry number one.

  2. Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian


    tweets: Lib Dems putting out front page of their manifesto tonight, but unhappy members of policy committee say given no prior sight. Tussles ahead.

  3. Tomorrow's papers


    BBC News


    tweets: Thursday's Express: "New plan for early EU vote" (via @suttonnick) #TomorrowsPapersToday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Express front page
  4. 'He stands by the assertion'

    Carole Walker

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    Asked on Newsnight whether Ed Miliband would repeat the allegations about the tax arrangements of the former Tory co-treasurer Lord Fink, Harriet Harman said: "Yes and he stands by the assertion that these questions must be answered that are in the Guardian...."

    Asked if that was the basis for Mr Miliband's claims, Ms Harman said: "There is evidence set forth in there and he's entitled to put those to the prime minister and to have those questions answered".

  5. Tomorrow's papers


    BBC News


    tweets: Thursday's FT: "Miliband seeks to entangle Tory donors in HSBC tax evasion row" (via @suttonnick) #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's FT front page
  6. Tomorrow's papers


    BBC News


    tweets: Thursday's Guardian: "Four times he evaded the answer" (via @suttonnick) #TomorrowsPapersToday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Guardian front page
  7. Tomorrow's papers


    BBC News


    tweets: Thursday's Mail: "Left to die by callous paramedic" (via @suttonnick) #TomorrowsPapersToday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Mail front page
  8. 'Do you take us for stupid?'

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    Charlotte Leslie

    Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie says the pink Labour minibus campaign is "exactly the kind of gimmick us women look at and think: do you take us for stupid?".

  9. 'I suppose it was mine'

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    Harriet Harman

    Asked whose idea it was to have a pink Labour minibus, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman said: "I suppose it was mine."

  10. Politics 'turning women off'

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    Allegra Stratton and Gloria de Piero

    Shadow minister for women and equality, Gloria de Piero, has told Newsnight's Allegra Stratton that the pink minibus campaign does not risk creating a "niche" of women's issues which are distinct from the economy and other policy battlefields. But she does say "there is something about politics which is turning women off, in particular".

  11. 'Enormous amount of scrutiny'

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    John Mills also tells Newsnight that he really doesn't know whether Lord Fink "has done anything wrong", but says "if you're going to be a major donor you've just got to expect this sort of treatment". He says donors are "subject to an enormous amount of scrutiny, it goes with the rations". He added that he will continue to "donate on a regular basis" to the Labour Party.

    Asked if he thinks Ed Miliband should aim to crack down on tax avoidance - i.e. legal attempts to minimise tax payments - should he form a government in May, Mr Mills says yes, and adds: "There is a big agenda that needs to be tackled to stop people, or to change the law, to make it more difficult for people to avoid paying tax."

  12. Labour-business 'tensions'

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    John Mills

    John Mills, the Labour Party's largest single donor, has told Newsnight that he wants to see "good relations between the business community and the Labour Party". Asked if Ed Miliband's rhetoric on business was putting a good relationship at risk, Mr Mills said: "Well, I think you've got to realise the Labour Party stands for employees and the Conservative Party on the whole stands for employers, so there are tensions there, I think you've just got to recognise these."

    He added: "I think there are going to be fences that have to be mended with the business community, but when you're having a general election, this sort of knock-about is what you're going to get."

  13. Tomorrow's papers


    BBC News


    tweets: Telegraph: "Tory donor: I'll sue over Miliband's 'dodgy' slur" (via @suttonnick) #TomorrowsPapersToday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Telegraph front page
  14. Gove response to Mirror

    In response to the Mirror's front page lead about Michael Gove using a vehicle to take a short journey, a spokesman for the chief whip said: "This is a total non-story. As chief whip, Michael Gove carries sensitive papers and the rules are these have to be transported securely. Government cars often make short journeys like this to transport papers even if there is no minister in them. The Chief Whip has followed the standard Cabinet Office protocol and will continue to do so."

  15. Emily Maitlis, BBC Newsnight presenter


    tweets: Tonight on #newsnight. Harriet's chariot ( the pink bus) labours biggest donor. ( John mills) and piers Morgan ( john Stewart)

  16. Tomorrow's papers


    BBC News


    tweets: Thursday's Mirror: "Gove's £110k limo to go 400 yards" (via @suttonnick) #TomorrowsPapersToday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Mirror front page
  17. Tomorrow's papers


    BBC News


    tweets: Thursday's International NY Times: "Putin friend now sits at the table for Ukraine" (via @hendopolis) #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's International New York Times front page
  18. Tom Feilden, Today programme science editor


    tweets: 1/2 Tomorrow on #r4today: If research is funded by industry is it automatically suspect? The BMJ seems to think so, and...


    tweets: 2/2 Lambasting farmers over declining wildlife and habitat loss hasn't worked. So why not try praising them instead? #r4today

  19. 'Lazy narrative'


    On Iain Dale's LBC radio show this evening, a listener grilled Chuka Umunna on how many members of the shadow cabinet had ever run a business. Mr Umunna said that "offhand" he couldn't think of anyone specifically, before eventually saying that Jon Trickett - shadow minister for the cabinet office - had run his own construction company. The shadow business secretary also said members of his shadow ministerial team, such as Liam Byrne, had business experience.

    He added: "I think there is a bit of a lazy narrative. I've often actually seen it said about me that I am some kind of career politician...I was a solicitor for the best part of the decade.

    "I look around the shadow cabinet table, I'm very proud of the background of my colleagues."

  20. Post update

    Channel 4

    Lord Swraj Paul

    Earlier on Channel 4 News, Labour donor Lord Paul said that he had a Swiss bank account because he had a house in the country. "I use it when I go to Switzerland," he said.

  21. Post update

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    Labour campaign pink bus

    Tonight on @BBCNewsnight: Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman goes head-to-head with presenter Emily Maitlis on today's political developments - especially the bus that's had everyone talking. Also, Piers Morgan discusses today's announcement that Daily Show host Jon Stewart is to step down at the end of the year.

  22. Michael Savage, Times chief political correspondent


    tweets: Could a party have recorded a clear lead? RT @MSmithsonPB: Tomorrow's @IpsosMORI poll being described as a "corker" - whatever that means.

  23. 'No need for girlie colours'

    At Prospect Magazine, Serena Kutchinsky says Labour "has important things to say to female voters, there's no need to wrap them up in girlie colours". She says it's true politicians need to get out and hear the concerns of women voters, but "please ditch the frills and the faux girliness, remove any references to kitchen tables from speeches, and give the bus a gender-neutral paint job".

  24. i newspaper


    tweets: .@SamGyimah says Green Party manifesto makes Communist Manifesto look 'like a right-wing tract' at the #idebate

  25. Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent


    tweets: Super Thursday tmrw in #ge2015 as @ukip go for a soft launch, @LibDems unveil their book & speeches from DC & EM

  26. Post update


    Natalie Bennett

    Leader of Green Party in England and Wales

    Tweets: Great to see the verdict at #idebate tonight - young people should vote! #bitetheballot

    Young people at the idebate
  27. Do you know there's an election coming up?

    The Daily Telegraph

    James Kirkup from the Telegraph has written a comment piece based on a survey which suggests 46 per cent of people do not know about the election happening in May.

  28. Post update


    Clive Myrie

    BBC News

    Tweets: On The Papers tonight James Rampton of @Independent and @JoelTaylorMetro .Join us from 22.30 #BBCPapers on the BBC News Channel.

  29. Today in Parliament, 23:30 GMT

    BBC Radio 4

    Palace of Westminster at night

    Joni the BBC's Today in Parliament team tonight for all the highlights from today's action in the Palace of Westminster. It's no surprise that the main exchange between the leaders at Prime Minister's Questions was over HSBC and tax evasion - a topic which also occupied the Public Accounts Committee, who hosted the leadership of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. All this and more tonight at 23:30 GMT on Radio 4.

  30. Coalition 'unlikely' for SNP

    Channel 4

    Scottish first minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon reiterates on Channel 4 News that she "won't have any formal or informal arrangement with the Tories - the Tories have been rejected in Scotland for all of my lifetime".

    She says a a coalition with Labour is "highly unlikely", but that it might be possible to work with Ed Miliband's party on an "issue-by-issue, case-by-case" basis.

  31. James Chapman, Daily Mail political editor


    tweets: Harriet Harman reveals on @Channel4News she has a 'pink iPad'. 'It has not drained away my feminist credentials' #pinkbus

  32. 'Police accessing phone records'

    Julian Huppert
    Image caption: Julian Huppert tabled the ammendment

    New safeguards requiring police to seek approval from a judge before they can access the phone records of journalists could be enacted in law before the general election. Under an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill, which is being backed by the Liberal Democrats and was tabled by Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert it would require police to obtain judicial approval before accessing journalists' phone data as well as data from other legally privileged conversations, such as those between doctors and patients.

  33. Tax avoidance: the latest

    HSBC logo

    MPs have rejected calls for the former chief executive of HSBC Stephen Green to make a statement about the tax row engulfing the bank. The Labour Party made the demand during a Commons debate over claims that the bank helped customers avoid tax by using accounts with a private subsidiary in Switzerland.

    The Conservative peer served as a trade minister for three years after being appointed by David Cameron. But a Labour motion calling for a statement from Lord Green about his role at HSBC and his appointment as a Minister was thrown out by 73 votes.

    A separate coalition motion was approved pointing out that "while the release of information pertaining to malpractice between 2005 to 2007 by individual HSBC account holders was public knowledge, at no point were ministers made aware of individual cases due to taxpayer confidentiality or made aware of leaked information suggesting wrongdoing by HSBC itself" and notes "that this Government has specifically taken action to get back money lost in Swiss bank accounts".

  34. Tax avoidance vote

    House of Commons


    MPs have backed the government's amendment by 289 votes to 208. The House of Commons is now moving on to discuss Lords amendments to the Infrastructure Bill.

  35. Emily Maitlis, BBC Newsnight presenter


    tweets: Tonight on #newsnight.... Shades of hsbc grey ... And hot pink. Plus @piersmorgan talks @TheDailyShow as Jon Stewart signs off.

  36. Bez is back in town

    Bez and wife

    Mark 'Bez' Berry - a former musician with the Happy Mondays - will be representing the 'We are the reality party' in May's election after the Electoral Commission approved its registration but tweaked its name. Previously, it was known as the The Reality Party. Bez, who is standing in Salford and Eccles, responded by saying. "Labour has sold working class Britons down the river...Meanwhile, the Tories are now beating us black and blue in a dark alley. I am standing for everyday Britons who want their country back."

  37. Tax avoidance debate

    House of Commons


    MPs are now voting on the government amendment to the opposition motion on tax avoidance. The amendment states that the government has taken firm action to tackle tax avoidance and reclaim lost money. The result of the division is expected at 19:25 GMT.

  38. Tax avoidance debate

    House of Commons


    MPs are voting on an opposition motion on tax avoidance. The motion calls on the government to clamp down on tax avoidance and to introduce a penalty regime for the General Anti-Abuse Rule which it says is currently "too weak to be effective".

    The result of the division is expected at 19:10 GMT.

  39. Simon Jones, BBC political reporter


    tweets: #HSBC sparks angry #tax row at PMQs & protection for #NHS whistleblowers. All the details #TodayinParliament with @Susanh12 @BBCRadio4 2330

  40. 'New level of determination'

    shabana mahmood

    Among the feisty political spats which have played out today Labour's shadow treasury minister Shabana Mahmood outlined some policy pledges at the start of an Opposition Day debate in the Commons today as the HSBC tax scandal row continued to rage.

    The Labour front bencher said: "We will take further action, primarily to stop umbrella companies exploiting tax relief, to force the UK's overseas territories and crown dependencies to produce publicly available registers of beneficial ownership. The problem of tax avoidance and evasion is not new - for as long as the state has been levying tax people have tried to avoid it. Levels of resentment, levels of trust have risen to critical levels. This is a problem that requires a new level of determination to fix."

  41. Significant substance

    Amid all the political theatre of today's clash between Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of the Public Accounts Committee, and Lin Homer, the chief executive of HMRC, there was some significant substance. First, HMRC has now revealed it is looking to expand the scope of its investigation and is meeting other law enforcement agencies later this week. Sources tell the BBC's business editor Kamal Ahmed that HMRC is likely to meet both the Serious Fraud Office and the police. Read his full column on the matter here.

  42. Isabel Hardman, assistant editor of The Spectator


    tweets: Labour source says Miliband will repeat allegations against Lord Fink in public as soon as he has the opportunity

  43. Pink bus spoofs

    The Daily Telegraph

    The Telegraph collates some of the Twitter spoofs of Labour's pink bus campaign, including the following:

    Image caption: @bazzared1903 says 'Gordon Brown rolls into town to woo the ladies #pinkbus '
    Image caption: @dominic4346 says 'Green Party launches own low carbon #pinkbus'
  44. Tax evasion scandal

    Kamal Ahmed

    Business editor

    Sources say Jennie Granger, director general of enforcement and compliance at HMRC, is going to meet the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and police later this week to look at possibly expanding this investigation. If the SFO and police decide to take forward investigations into the matter, this becomes a much more serious matter for HSBC.

  45. Farage on Greece

    Yanis Varoufakis
    Image caption: Yanis Varoufakis

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage has spoken out on the recent Greek election and new Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras. Mr Farage said he hoped the new Greek government would "stand firm" and called for the results of the Greek election to be respected. He also said he suspected that the new Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, was the "real deal" despite having the appearance of an "off-duty nightclub bouncer".

  46. Andy Bell, 5 News political editor


    tweets: Lord Fink says Ed Miliband playing the man not the ball, which has become a habit for him - and challenged him to repeat allegations #HSBC

  47. If I were prime minister...

    The Independent

    For each of the final hundred days before the polls open, The Independent has been inviting one contributor to outline what he or she would do as prime minister. Today's candidate is writer and ex-soldier Joe Glenton. His priorities? "I'd return the army to its radical New Model origins by changing its allegiance from the Crown to the social class from which it is overwhelmingly drawn. That was the original purpose of the army - to replace one class with another. The tier it brought to power - we know it as the middle class - is empty of progressive potential. It is high time to replace it."

  48. No smoking in cars with children

    Driver smoking
    Image caption: Smoking will be banned if under-18s are in the car

    MPs have today approved regulations that will forbid anyone smoking in a car when children are present. The measure will come into force on 1 October, and drivers in England could be fined £50 if caught. However, the law will not apply to anyone driving alone or driving in a convertible car with the top down. Read the full story here.

  49. Mark Sparrow, Channel 4 presenter


    tweets: And for those constituencies that are harder to convince...

    pink tank
  50. Tax avoidance debate

    House of Commons


    David Gauke

    David Gauke, the financial secretary to the Treasury, says "there is no suggestion that Lord Green had acted improperly, was complicit in tax evasion, or was involved in this particular activity, and this could not be clearer".

    Asked by Labour's Shabana Mahmood if Lord Green should give a statement, Mr Gauke said: "It is a matter for Lord Green as to what he says."

  51. Patrick Wintour, Guardian political editor


    tweets: Did HMRC never ask if HSBC was complicit in Swiss tax avoidance Did PM ask Lord Green abt bank stewardship shld EM apologise to Lord Fink

  52. Abuse inquiry 'up to four years'

    The Home Affairs Committee's pre-appointment hearing with Justice Lowell Goddard has finished. The new head of the inquiry into institutionalised child sex abuse has suggested it could take up to four years to complete and hopes to start work in early April. Lowell Goddard, a High Court judge in New Zealand, also reassured MPs that she was not part of the "establishment".

  53. Tax avoidance debate

    House of Commons


    Shabana Mahmood

    Labour shadow Treasury minister Shabana Mahmood calls for a "full and frank statement" on the HSBC tax scandal from Lord Green. She has also called for a statement from George Osborne as to what he knew about any HMRC knowledge of HSBC potentially advising clients to evade or avoid tax.

  54. Tax inquiry: Round-up

    House of Commons


    HMRC leaders have told the Public Accounts Commitee the agency is now talking to other law enforcement agencies about the HSBC data, having received clearance to do so from the French authorities. Jennie Granger, HMRC's director general of enforcement and compliance, said: "We will broaden the scope of Solace [which is what the investigation is called]."

    "We will call together the relevant authorities and in fact we will be meeting them later this week, and share with them what we already have".

    HMRC says 150 clients could have faced criminal investigation, but just three cases went to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), from which there resulted only one prosecution. Lin Homer, chief executive and permanent secretary at HMRC, said only the UK and Ireland have had a successful prosecution, and defended HMRC against claims that other countries have been more successful in pursuit of this case.

  55. PMQs: key exchanges

    The Guardian

    The Guardian has picked out what it considers to be the key exchanges in the verbal clash in the Commons earlier between Cameron and Miliband over Stephen Green's involvement in the HSBC tax scandal.

  56. Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome


    tweets: Miliband alleged tax avoidance not tax evasion. Accepted wisdom is former not as severe a charge as latter. But is accepted wisdom right?

  57. Pippa Crerar, Evening Standard political correspondent


    tweets: First meeting of two future world leaders? @standardnews

    Boris Johnson and Hillary Clinton
  58. 'Using pink won't make me vote'

    Asda shoppers in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, have waded into the debate on the Labour party's "Woman to Woman" pink minibus. The intention behind the bus was for it to travel round the country encouraging women who did not take part in the 2010 general election, to vote this time around. But upon seeing the vehicle Nicola Dinnage from Stevenage, said: "I think it's silly and I think it's patronising."

    Her sister, Kirsty Dinnage, added: "Them using a pink bus wouldn't make me vote."

  59. Good afternoon

    Adam Donald and Dominic Howell

    Hello, it's been highly charged day of politics so far with a verbal spat between Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband in the Commons, and an acrimonious meeting of the Public Accounts Committee as HMRC boss Lin Homer faces a barrage of questions over the HSBC tax scandal. We will, of course, be bringing you the live updates of that, as well as news, views, and analysis from across the BBC and the wider political scene. Read a quick update of today's events so far below...

  60. What's been happening today?

    David Cameron and Ed Miliband

    Let's take a moment to have a look back through today's biggest political stories so far:

  61. Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent


    tweets: (Fink v Miliband could end in litigation, although sounds a bit like duel's in order)

  62. Register to vote

    A gentle reminder - for those of you that want to take part in May's general election, you must register to vote. You can do so by clicking here. It takes about five minutes.

  63. BreakingBreaking News

    Lord Stanley Fink

    Lord Fink, the Conservative peer and party donor charged by Ed Miliband today of having undertaken "tax avoidance activities", has written to the Labour leader. He explains why Mr Miliband's allegations are incorrect, and then says: "I find it extraordinary that you have made claims against me that are without foundation or without contacting me. I challenge you to repeat your allegation outside the House of Commons - or to withdraw it publically."

  64. Election? What election?

    The Daily Telegraph

    picture of ballot box

    Political junkies - like patrons of the BBC's Politics Live page - have undoubtedly marked 7 May in the calendar: vote, stock up on treats, and settle down for the long haul in the evening with the BBC's political team. But at the Telegraph, James Kirkup has some depressing figures for those who can't get enough of the political circus: "A survey out today suggests that a lot of people don't know very much about the political process. It suggests that 46 per cent of people don't know about the election." And 59% don't appear to know who the prime minister is.

  65. SNP 'could put recovery at risk'

    BBC News Channel

    Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael responds to Nicola Sturgeon's speech on austerity.

    Mr Carmichael defends the UK government's policies, saying they have led to growing employment and falling unemployment. He says the UK is vying with the US in terms of economic growth.

    And he accuses Ms Sturgeon and the SNP of wanting to put that at risk. He says: "They are talking about going back to the sort of model that we had before 2008 and that crashed then."

  66. This is our stop

    Stephen Robb & Pippa Simm

    Time for the two of us to disembark, but this Politics Live page rolls on with our seats ably filled by Adam Donald and Dominic Howell. They're on board until midnight. We couldn't manage it thus far today, maybe they'll be able to find an answer to the day's most-pressing political question: is that new Labour campaign bus pink, or magenta? Wait a minute, is it a bus or is it a van? Is it a people carrier? No, a women carrier? Oh, it's all so confusing.

  67. Tax chiefs hearing background

    House of Commons


    Members of the Public Accounts Committee are taking evidence from the heads of tax collection from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The hearing follows a refusal by HMRC to disclose information about the possible involvement of the HSBC bank in large-scale tax evasion.

    HMRC was passed a hoard of documents in 2010 from France about clients of HSBC's Swiss operation, but HMRC said it could not share information it had about the bank because of an international agreement. The bank helped 100,000 individuals - 7,000 UK nationals - with tax affairs.

  68. Kamal Ahmed, BBC business editor


    tweets: Lin Homer: "We would have liked to have seen more prosecutions if we had reached the threshold." #swissleaks


    tweets: Margaret Hodge describes HMRC response on criminal prosecutions on tax evasion as "pathetic"

  69. Abuse inquiry: 'Are you sure you want to?'

    House of Commons


    Keith Vaz

    Committee chairman Keith Vaz announces that the pre-appointment hearing is coming to a close. In some final remarks, he notes Justice Lowell's "distinguished" career, and that she will have to give up her position as a High Court judge to take on the inquiry. Are you absolutely sure this is what you want to do for four years?, he asks.

    Justice Lowell replies: "I don't think want is perhaps the right word, but I am prepared to undertake this."

    Mr Vaz says the committee will publish its report on Justice Lowell's appointment as inquiry chairman at midnight on Thursday evening.

    Asked about her start date, Justice Lowell says it is yet to be decided but she envisages she will be in the job in early April. The inquiry panel will be in place before then, she confirms.

  70. 'Personally horrid'

    The Daily Mail

    Miliband in Commons

    The Mail Online reports that "David Cameron complained that Ed Miliband was 'personally horrid' to him when they clashed during Prime Minister's Questions" today. The paper says that when Mr Cameron was leaving the Commons he "complained to Tory ministers about the onslaught, claiming Mr Miliband had hit out 'because he was losing'".

  71. Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor


    tweets: I'm thinking Lin Homer is going to need a stiff drink this evening. Maybe a Bloody Margaret ? #hsbc

  72. MPs' hearing 'charged' over tax scandal

    Norman Smith

    BBC Assistant Political Editor

    On the HSBC tax scandal, there is currently a "furious" hearing as Public Accounts Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge questions the boss of HMRC about why more was not done to investigate HSBC.

    Our assistant political editor says: "I have been in many many select committees and this is one of the most charged I've come across. Margaret Hodge telling Lin Homer [HMRC's chief executive] to her face that she has feelings of anger towards her.

    "She has also attacked her for not bringing along one of her top officials to the committee."

  73. Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland business and economy editor


    tweets: .@NicolaSturgeon hopes her strategy "will help to halt march to further austerity at Westminster: will bring benefits to Scotland + all UK"

  74. Abuse inquiry background

    Claims of an establishment cover-up of historical child sex abuse involving public figures, including politicians, prompted Home Secretary Theresa May to announce two inquiries in July last year. One, which reported last November, looked at how the Home Office dealt with allegations about powerful figures and paedophilia in the 1980s.

    The other is an overarching inquiry into the way public bodies and other important institutions have handled child sex abuse claims, and it is this one that Justice Lowell Goddard will be chairing.

    Here is a timeline of the key incidents that led to the inquiries?

  75. Abuse inquiry head quizzed by MPs

    House of Commons


    Justice Lowell informs MPs that she will have to step down as a High Court judge in New Zealand to take on the inquiry, as the length of time it may take means it is "not appropriate" for her absence to be treated as a secondment.

  76. Abuse inquiry head faces 'biggest challenge'

    House of Commons


    Home Affairs Committee

    The Home Affairs Committee's pre-appointment hearing with Justice Lowell Goddard is continuing. Yasmin Qureshi, the Labour MP for Bolton South East, asks the New Zealand High Court judge what her biggest concerns about the role are? She replies that concerns is perhaps not the most "accurate" term, but says: "It's the biggest challenge I've faced yet."

  77. Tax prosecutions: Civil powers call

    House of Commons


    Lin Homer says bringing down the 44-month average timetable for prosecuting an individual for tax evasion would require "a toolkit that also allows us to use civil powers", rather than merely powers in the criminal law.

  78. 'Fairer society, gender equality'

    Ms Sturgeon closes her speech by calling for a fairer society, and argues that one of the ways this can be achieved is through gender quality.

    She says: "My cabinet is only one of three in the world to have a 50-50 gender split. "

  79. Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland business and economy editor


    tweets: "The Scottish Government has balanced its budget every single year. That's partly because we have no choice" @NicolaSturgeon at @ucl

  80. Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland business and economy editor


    tweets: "UK has the deepest regional imbalances in Europe": @NicolaSturgeon tells Londoners: points out most of England worse off than Scotland

  81. Protecting 'vulnerable children'

    House of Commons


    What can you do to restore confidence and put the inquiry on an even keel?, asks Conservative MP Tim Loughton. "Well, just get on with the job. Results speak for themselves don't they?" Justice Lowell replies.

    Mr Loughton resumes his questioning, and ask what she feels is the point of the inquiry, to which Justice Lowell says: "The point of the inquiry for me is very much aimed at the protection of vulnerable children" from the "abhorrent crime" of abuse.

  82. Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor


    tweets: Lin Homer - the things that get written in newspapers do not stand up in court #hsbc

  83. Daniel Sandford, BBC home affairs correspondent


    tweets: Lowell Goddard says point of Inquiry is "To revisit past wrongs, to clarify what happened...And to ensure that....children are protected."

  84. Tim Montgomerie, Times comment editor


    tweets: 65% think govt has done a bad job on tax avoidance. 20% think a good job from @TimesRedBox

    Times graphic
  85. Child abuse inquiry timeframe

    House of Commons


    There is scope for truth and reconciliation in the inquiry process, Justice Lowell tells the Home Affairs Committee. Pressed by Liberal Democrat Julian Huppert over the length of time the inquiry will take, the judge says no timeframe has been set, but it has been indicated it could take three to four years. She adds that she has committed to undertake the inquiry "and so I would want to see it through".

  86. Tax inquiry: Chairman's 'anger'

    House of Commons


    Margaret Hodge

    Margaret Hodge is on feisty form. She tells Lin Homer: "One of my feelings of anger with you is that you sit there waiting for people to come, you don't go out and police in the way that other authorities are doing, and therefore they're getting more money in, they're doing more litigation, and they're defending their taxpayers."

  87. Sturgeon: We need 'strategy for growth'

    Scotland's first minister says: "Austerity has become an article of faith. I would argue that we need strategy for growth."

    "Morally unjustifiable and economically unsustainable" is how Nicola Sturgeon describes Chancellor George Osborne's methods to get Britain out of debt.

  88. Deficit is 'symptom not just cause'

    Nicola Sturgeon says there has been a "huge surge in engagement" since the Scottish referendum, and in comparison Westminster debates seem "narrow".

    She says the discussion has focused around the deficit, which is "hugely important, but a symptom of economic difficulties, not just a cause of them".

    She calls for more focus on "boosting productivity, and moving to a low-carbon age", adding: "Trying to tackle the deficit, while ignoring those issues makes no sense."

  89. HSBC tax scandal: Whistleblower offer?

    House of Commons


    Margaret Hodge asks if HMRC were offered data from HSBC whistleblower Herve Falciani in 2008, as has been reported. Lin Homer says: "I would like you to share with us the information that makes you think that is the case."

  90. Daniel Sandford, BBC home affairs correspondent


    tweets: Lowell Goddard: "The work of the inquiry will of course be informed by the survivors"

  91. Establishment? 'No such thing'

    House of Commons


    Asked whether she considers herself part of the establishment, Justice Lowell replies: "We have no such thing in my country." She adds that she has no links to people or institutions that are relevant to the subject matter of the inquiry.

  92. Sarah Champion, Labour MP for Rotherham


    tweets: Listening to Justice Goddard discussing how she plans to run the inquiry into establishment child abuse, she seems plausible

  93. Abuse inquiry head considers interim reports

    House of Commons


    Justice Lowell tells the committee she was approached by the government to chair the inquiry. Committee chairman Keith Vaz asks her why the committee does not have a letter declaring her interests, prompting Justice Lowell to say she is in the process of writing it.

    After questioning from the panel about how she will conduct the inquiry, Justice Lowell says careful scoping of the inquiry from the outset will be "critical", to identify how it should be managed and what resources it will need to undertake its work. She also raises the possibility of setting milestones for interim reports, but adds that that's just her thinking at the moment.

  94. Watch Nicola Sturgeon speech

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is giving a speech on economic policy in London, which you can watch here.

  95. Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor


    tweets: It takes 44 (!!) months on average to bring tax evasion case to CPS - HMRC boss Lin Homer

  96. HSBC tax scandal: MPs quiz tax chiefs

    House of Commons


    Lin Homer

    Margaret Hodge asks Lin Homer, chief executive and permanent secretary of HMRC, if banks that give people a card to withdraw money from an account that they know is undeclared in the UK are facilitating tax avoidance or tax evasion. Ms Homer replies: "I think it's not territory where I am prepared to say on a simple one or two-line description, should that person be guilty of an offence or not."

  97. Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor


    tweets: Take cover. HMRC boss Lin Homer getting a battering from @margarethodge at Public Accounts Committee

  98. John Rentoul, columnist for the Independent on Sunday


    tweets: If Leader of Opposition's attack depends on statements he cannot make without parliamentary privilege, it's not a good attack.

  99. MPs questioning tax chiefs

    House of Commons


    Members of the Public Accounts Committee are taking evidence from the heads of tax collection at Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The committee will hear evidence from: HMRC chief executive and permanent secretary Lin Homer; director general business tax Jim Harra; Jennie Granger, director general enforcement and compliance; Edward Troup, tax assurance commissioner; and Indra Morris, director general, tax and welfare. You can watch the proceedings live on the "Live Coverage" part of this page or on BBC Democracy Live here.

  100. Abuse inquiry chair faces questions

    House of Commons


    Justice Lowell tells the committee that she will live in the UK for the duration of the inquiry, and when pressed on her family's arrangements, informs them that her husband will join her but the rest of her family will not.

    A question on her salary prompts Justice Lowell to reply that the terms and conditions of her appointment have not been settled, but she understands they will be put in the public domain.

  101. Abuse inquiry chair faces questions

    House of Commons


    Justice Lowell Goddard before the Home Affairs Committee

    Justice Lowell Goddard is before the Home Affairs Committee for a pre-appointment hearing, having being chosen to head the inquiry into historical child abuse. Justice Lowell, a High Court judge in New Zealand, was appointed last week by Home Secretary Theresa May.

    It follows the resignations of two former inquiry chairwoman over claims about their perceived closeness to establishment figures.

  102. Firefighter strike

    Fire Brigade picketers

    Firefighters in England are to stage a further 24-hour strike, the Fire Brigades Union has said.

    The union said the strike, part of a long-running dispute about firefighters' pensions, would take place "in the coming weeks".

  103. Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent


    tweets: I understand fmr Cons Treasurer Lord Fink regards Miliband's comments as defamatory, will sue if he repeats outside Parl

  104. Women's issues 'need addressed'

    New Statesman

    Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman

    At the New Statesman, Helen Lewis says: "The moment I saw the picture of the pink bus I knew Labour's women launch was doomed." But, she adds, she would "rather be mildly patronised than totally ignored", and women's issues still need to be on the agenda.

  105. Coming up shortly

    House of Commons


    Just a reminder that there are two big parliamentary committees taking place shortly: the Home Affairs Committee, which will be questioning the new chairwoman of the independent inquiry into historical child abuse; and the Public Accounts Committee's evidence session with the boss of HMRC, who will be asked about the HSBC tax revelations.

  106. Andrew Sinclair, BBC East political correspondent


    tweets: I'm in Stevenage with the famous pink labour battle bus

    Pink bus
  107. EU referendum viewpoints

    The World at One BBC Radio 4

    UKIP MP Mark Reckless claimed David Cameron wanted to bring forward the EU referendum because he "knows he's not going to get any of the things" he wants from his renegotiation. He added that UKIP wanted the referendum as soon as possible, so it could campaign in favour of leaving the bloc. Labour's Chuka Umunna told the programme that his party's priority was to focus on the economy, and not an in/out referendum.

  108. 'Neurotic debate'

    The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Some more from today's World at One programme, where the panel of politicians have been discussing the European Union. Conservative Ken Clarke said it would be a good idea to bring forward the in/out referendum - which David Cameron has pledged to hold in 2017 if the Conservatives win the election. "We can't spend two years with this neurotic debate about Europe carrying on any longer than necessary." But Lib Dem Danny Alexander said "we shouldn't be plunging the country into a referendum" unless treaty change requires it, warning of the potential impact of "dramatic uncertainty" on the economy.

  109. PMQs: Miliband 'attacks fell flat'

    The Spectator

    At the Spectator, James Forsyth says Ed Miliband missed his opportunity at PMQs to really embarrass the government over the recent revelations about the HSBC's facilitation of tax evasion for some wealthy clients. What now? "I suspect that this row will rumble on but that it will not be as politically potent as many on the Labour side hope that it will be."

  110. Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor


    tweets: All proper procedures were followed in the appointment of Stephen Green as a minister say No 10

  111. Leaders clash at bad-tempered PMQs

    To recap, David Cameron and Ed Miliband have clashed angrily in the House of Commons over political donors who held Swiss bank accounts with HSBC. It was a really bad-tempered Prime Minister's Questions, with the leaders throwing verbal punch after verbal punch at each other. The tone of the session is captured well in the picture below. Here's our report on what happened.

    David Cameron and Ed Miliband
  112. Daily Politics


    tweets: Is the Labour bus pink or magenta?

    @VickiYoung01 awaits the #pinkbus in Stevenage and talks to @afneil on #bbcdp

    Labour campaign bus
  113. Call for more tax prosecutions

    The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Presenter Martha Kearney recalls David Cameron's claim at Prime Minister's Questions that Chuka Umunna invited Stephen Green on a trade mission, which the shadow business secretary says is "categorically not true". He says he did invite Lord Green to a local event for small business, however. Over to UKIP MP Mark Reckless, who calls for more prosecutions of tax evaders, arguing that civil penalties are not the right way to change behaviour. People need to be punished, he argues.

  114. 'Very good minister'

    The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Challenged over Stephen Green's appointment as a trade minister, Danny Alexander says: "Appointments on the Conservative side are a matter for the prime minister." Former Conservative cabinet minister Kenneth Clarke defends Stephen Green's record in government, saying he was "a very good minister". He notes that no objections were raised by politicians or journalists to his appointment, adding: "If something has now come out - and it hasn't yet - that actually reveals Stephen Green did anything wrong, then of course I would wish to see it pursued."

  115. NHS whistleblowers: 'Union time' defended

    House of Commons