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  1. Net migration jumped 80,000 to 298,000 in the year to September 2014, the ONS said
  2. The Conservatives had hoped to cut the figure to "the tens of thousands"
  3. The NHS came under fire in new reports on the extent of sexual abuse carried out at hospitals by Jimmy Savile
  4. State-rescued RBS reported £3.5bn loss for 2014, better than 2013 but chief exec won't take bonus
  5. The UK is one of six Nato countries that will cut defence spending in 2015, a study said
  6. There are 70 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Dominic Howell and Tom Moseley

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Recap of the day's events

    Here's a quick recap of today's top political stories (and a couple of things to look out for tomorrow):

    • A surge in net migration to 298,000 has killed off David Cameron's hopes of reducing it below 100,000 before the election
    • MPs have said the TV licence system does not have a long-term future
    • State-owned bank RBS has reported a loss of £3.5bn for 2014, down from a £9bn loss the previous year
    • UKIP has requested police bodyguards for Nigel Farage during the election campaign
    • Things to look out for: Labour are expected to announce their much-anticipated tuition fee policy at some stage tomorrow, and the UKIP spring conference gets under way
  2. Goodnight

    Phew! Today is coming to a close, and it has been busy. Net migration figures dominated the political conversation with all the other parties keen to point out the Tories' failure to get the numbers down to the "tens of thousands" as they had promised. But the Conservatives came back and argued that the figures were the result of a successful economy. Away from the campaign trail, another big story which attracted lots of attention was the Islamic State (IS) extremist "Jihadi John" whose identity was said to be that of Mohammed Emwazi from London. Check in with Politics Live tomorrow where we will endeavour to bring you all the political news, reaction and analysis from 6:00 GMT onwards. Until then, goodnight.

  3. QT - Syria: Victims or terrorists

    Earlier, Sunday Times journalist Camilla Long answered a question about whether the girls who have seemingly left the UK en route to Syria should be viewed as terrorists or victims. "Terrorists," she said. "It's a real pity such glamour is associated with it... it really is not running away to join the circus," she added.

  4. This Week

    Kevin Maguire

    The BBC's This Week returns tonight with the Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire taking to the skies as a low-budget Top Gun to review the political news of the week, while Conservative MEP Dan Hannan will put the case for MPs not only having a second job, but making politics secondary to a main job. Presenter Andrew Neil is joined by Diane Abbott, Michael Portillo, Miranda Green and Nick Hewer live on BBC1, straight after Question Time at 11.45pm (or 12.15am in Northern Ireland). Desktop users can watch the programme via the Live Coverage tab at the top of this page.

  5. QT - pay rise

    In a moment of mutual appreciation, the crowd burst into spontaneous applause from a question from audience member, who is a nurse, and accuses the government of being in "breach of a contract" because she has struggled to get a 1% pay rise. "They earn more than enough," she says.

  6. QT - MPs' second jobs continued

    Reeves admits she earns three times as much as her constituents in Leeds West. Journalist Camilla Long chips in: "I really personally think it should be one job for each MP, I have elected them to be there in parliament and be in the constituency office." But she adds: "If we value our MPs we should give them a bit more money, so if someone comes to their door they don't have to think twice."

  7. QT - MPs' second jobs

    "It's plain wrong," declares Rachel Reeves, who is sporting a cardigan which is a similar colour to Labour's controversial campaign minibus. She says that MPs should represent their constituents and it's a "full time" job. Lib Dem Tessa Munt concurs with Reeves' general point. She says 281 MPs out of a total of 650 have second jobs, and earned combined £7.4m for outside work in the last year. "This is disgraceful," she exclaims. But Tory Grant Shapps adds a different view: "When you start to think about it when you become a minister you already have a second job.....You receive a second salary." He adds: "Ed Miliband has only ever worked in politics... do we really want the House of Commons full of people who know nothing about the outside world."

  8. QT - Mark Reckless

    UKIP's Mark Reckless argues that "an Australian style points based system" is the answer get the net migration figures down. He says the UK would be able to choose who comes in and what skills they have.

  9. QT - Munt attacks the Conservatives

    Lib Dem Tessa Munt says that the Tory ambition to cut net migration down to the tens of thousands was a "silly promise to have made". "It could not possibly have been kept," she adds.

  10. QT - Reeves on migration

    Labour's Rachel Reeves says that under this government 4.9 million migrant workers are paid less than the minimum wage. "We have got to do something about that," she says.

  11. QT - More from Shapps on migration

    Tory chairman Grant Shapps adds that from within the EU there are currently no restrictions for migration movements. He says that the UK has the fastest growth in Europe, and the country has produced more new net jobs than the rest of Europe put together, therefore people want to come to the UK. But he says: "We want to see these numbers come down because it puts a lot of pressure on public services. We want to have more control."

  12. QT - Migration numbers

    First question from the audience tonight is unsurprisingly on today's net migration figures. UKIP's Mark Reckless comes out all guns blazing and says the number of migrants coming to the UK is comparable to a city the size of Hull. He poses the question how can you plan public services when you have such an "enormous and unpredictable" number of migrants coming to the country. "There is no control," he adds. Tory chairman Grant Shapps admits the figures are "disappointing".

  13. Friday's Metro front page

  14. Mirror front page

    Daily Mirror
  15. Friday's Daily Express

    Daily Express
  16. Financial Times front page

  17. Question Time


    Tweets: This is your #TenMinuteTeaWarning . We're on at 10.45pm. #bbcqt

  18. Tomorrow's Guardian

  19. Friday's Daily Telegraph

    Daily Telegraph
  20. Robin Brant - BBC political correspondent


    Tweets: New poll good for @Nigel_Farage name recognition in #ge2015

    Robin Brant tweet
  21. Mark Reckless - UKIP MP


    Tweets: Catering for @bbcquestiontime and they've let me on panel for UKIP but will they let any UKIP into audience?

    Mark Reckless tweet
  22. The state of play

    It's 22:00, but there's plenty of politics still to come and this is the place to get it. We'll be scouring the front pages for political scoops, and you can take your pick from Question Time, Newsnight and This Week on the Live Coverage tab above. In the meantime, for the benefit of those checking in after a long day at work/the pub, here are some of today's top political stories:

    • A surge in net migration to 298,000 has killed off David Cameron's hopes of reducing it below 100,000 before the election
    • MPs have said the TV licence system does not have a long-term future
    • State-owned bank RBS has reported a loss of £3.5bn for 2014, down from a £9bn loss the previous year
    • UKIP has requested police bodyguards for Nigel Farage during the election campaign
  23. Nick Clegg - Lib Dem leader


    Tweets: Great to visit Bradfield Dungworth primary in Sheffield today. Lots of great questions from their year 6 class!

    Nick Clegg with schoolchildren from Bradfield Dungworth primary in Sheffield
  24. Julia Hartley-Brewer - Journalist


    Tweets: I'll be on @BBCRadio4 #AnyQuestions Fri 8pm along with... long pause, cough, er, pause... Green Party leader Natalie Bennett. Should be fun!

  25. Campbell criticises Prevent cuts

    Here's a bit more on security matters from Sir Menzies Campbell, who sits on the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).

    Asked why supposedly intelligent people, raised in Britain, were attracted to Islamic State, he said: "There is a real issue as to how you get to people like that. One of the ways we've tried to do that in this country is by the 'prevent strategy' which was introduced under the last Labour government, the purpose of which was to identify people who may be susceptible to radicalisation and do what possibly could be done in order to prevent them going any further.

    "But again, unfortunately, as part of this period of austerity the funds for the 'prevent strategy' have also been cut.

    "You've got to prevent the terrorist act and for that you need well-resourced and highly efficient and professional security services. But you also need to start at the other end and make sure that the people you're talking about understand and realise that they do have a stake in this country."

  26. Press 'fear TV debates'

    Here's a bit more from Labour's Michael Dugher's interview with The House magazine. The shadow transport secretary suggests a public rail operator could follow the French or German model and bid to run services abroad. He also accuses the press of fearing the TV debates because they will allow the public to see Ed Miliband "for who he really is".

  27. Question Time coming up

    Hold up, it's Question Time tonight. On the panel in Telford this evening is Tory defector and UKIP MP Mark Reckless, Conservative chairman Grant Shapps, shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves, Sunday Times journalist Camilla Long, and Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt. You can watch on the Live Coverage tab above from 22:45 GMT.

  28. More career opportunities - Crabb

    Stephen Crabb

    The Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb has also been interviewed by The House magazine. Asked if he wanted to be Tory leader he said "of course I'd love further jobs after this one that give me more opportunities' to further "social justice". He also attacks Conservative colleague John Redwood for his remarks on single mothers, and talks openly about his own upbringing in a single parent family.

  29. Menzies Campbell

    Ming Campbell

    On the news masked Islamic State militant "Jihadi John" has been named as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man in his mid-20s from west London, former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: "We are told that he has been identified but as we have just heard the White House that there is neither confirmation or denial, and that is still the position of Downing Street and the Met Police."

    Sir Menzies, who is a member of Parliament's Intelligence and Security committee, added that the prime minister's pledge earlier this year to spend an extra £130m over two years on the UK's intelligence services "doesn't really amount to very much" given that their budget at the moment is about £2bn in round figures.

  30. 'Clarkson is an idiot' - Dugher

    Michael Dugher

    The House magazine has an interview with shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher, who says Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is an "idiot" who is "not remotely representative of motorists".

  31. James Chapman, Daily Mail


    Tweets: Is it in Ukip's interests for Farage to be gallivanting with Palin in US rather than here for long-scheduled pre-election migration stats?

  32. Balls denies 'bust up'

    Ed Balls and Ed Miliband

    During a factory visit in Glasgow Ed Balls has has denied having a "bust up" with Labour leader Ed Miliband over the party's tuition fees policy, which is expected to be announced in the coming days. The shadow chancellor said the Labour team had "all worked closely together" to finalise its plans to take into the general election. Mr Miliband signalled in 2011 he would promise to cut fees from the current maximum of £9,000 a year. Internal negotiations over what precisely will be in their manifesto have been described by Labour's own shadow Treasury team as "tortuous". But asked earlier if the process had "involved a bust up" between him and Mr Miliband, Mr Balls said: "No. Not at all. We've all worked closely together. It's going to be announced, the sums add up, it's a good policy. And unlike the Liberal Democrats, we'll stick to it."

  33. Second jobs for MPs

    Birmingham Mail

    Labour is keen to introduce a cap on outside earnings for MPs if it wins the general election. The Birmingham Mail has been taking a look at how its local MPs would fare under the proposals. It says shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, singled out by David Cameron during PMQs yesterday, would "narrowly avoid" being forced to give up his role as a history lecturer under Ed Miliband's plans.

  34. Immigration recap

    Here's a quick recap on one of the top political stories of the day, which is about the Office of National Statistic's announcement on net migration figures.

    • Net migration to the UK has risen to 298,000, according to the final set of figures before the election
    • The numbers, for the year ending in September 2014, are now well above the level of migration when David Cameron came to power in 2010
    • The Tories, who had promised to get it to below 100,000, said the figures were "disappointing" and blamed a rise in EU migration - and Lib Dem "constraints"
    • Labour said Mr Cameron's "grand promises" were "now in tatters"
    • Downing Street said the rise in immigration was driven in part by Britain's economic success relative to its neighbours in the eurozone.
    • UKIP's Steven Woolfe says the government should be "thoroughly embarrassed"
    • Net migration is the difference between the number of people who come to live in the UK (for at least a year) and the number who are leaving (for at least a year)
  35. New Statesman


    Tweets: A four-graph guide from @May2015NS: net migration hits 300,000 - a ten-year high

  36. Hague on defence spending

    Carole Walker

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    William Hague has said he "strongly supports" spending 2% of GDP on defence and said the government does not accept the latest estimate from the European Leadership Network that UK will spend less than 2% next year. Mr Hague told a Westminster lunch "we are spending 2% on defence". He said the government had taken a lead on the issue and set an example to others within Nato. Asked whether the Conservatives should commit to spending 2% in future he said that was a matter for the manifesto and for the next government. Mr Hague said it was important Britain retained strong and effective defence forces and that would certainly happen under a Conservative government.

  37. Robin Brant - BBC political correspondent


    Tweets: #UKIP conf goers will be attending gala dinner tonight at Walpole bay hotel surrounded by art work incl. local girl Tracey emin

  38. Peerage for Sir Bob Kerslake

    Former head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, has been granted a peerage following his retirement from Whitehall. The peerage was conferred by the Queen following his retirement as permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government. Sir Bob, who will turn 60 on Saturday, was nominated for a life peerage by David Cameron.

  39. Plan for more homes

    Vince Cable

    Plans to tackle the housing crisis, including building more homes off-site to cut costs and increase productivity, have been unveiled by the government. Business Secretary Vince Cable said there was an urgent demand for new, affordable homes because only 150,000 houses were built last year, half the number needed. Mr Cable said councils should be encouraged to build houses, while more public land should be freed up for development. He added: "To have any chance of meeting the demand for affordable homes, the industry must embrace the latest house-building techniques."

  40. Those pregnancy comments

    Rachel Reeves

    The row which broke out after Tory MP Andrew Rosindell raised a query about Labour's Rachel Reeves potentially working as a cabinet minister while pregnant continues to provoke strong reaction. Mr Rosindell said that people must be "put in positions they can handle", and be able to give the role of a cabinet minister their "full attention". But in the Daily Mirror today Alec Shelbrooke - the Conservative MP on the newspaper's politics panel - says his Tory colleague's view on working women has no place in the 21st century. Meanwhile, in the Daily Express, columnist Virginia Blackburn argues that Rachel Reeves is doing women a disservice, because she "would enter the cabinet if Labour won the election and then go on maternity leave a few weeks later".

  41. Lollipop man "high five" campaign

    Lollipop man Nkosana Mdikane

    In other news, several thousand people have joined an online campaign calling for a Scottish council to lift a ban on a lollipop man giving "high-fives" to children crossing the road outside two schools in Dumbarton.

    West Dumbartonshire Council said it had told Nkosana Mdikane, who is 74, to stop greeting the children so energetically because of national guidelines on how he does his job. Mr Mdikane says he doesn't think he's done anything wrong.

    He told BBC 5 live: "They say 'stop dancing in the road and stop high fiving because' you watch this... [he does a dance and you can hear his stick tapping] when you are high-fiving you are not concentrating on the traffic. But I don't worry about the traffic, the traffic is concentrating on this - the stick does the talking, I don't do the talking." Full story here.

  42. Register to vote

    Don't forget to register to vote if you want to take part in May's general election. It takes five minutes and you will need your national insurance number.

  43. Business people's verdict on Miliband?

    Eleanor Garnier, BBC Political correspondent

    On their way into the conference hall business leaders I spoke to weren't entirely convinced Ed Milband would get a warm response from the EEF audience, with one telling me the Labour leader could get a "rough ride". At the end Tony Walker, the deputy managing director of Toyota UK told me Mr Miliband "got a very warm reception and he was very engaging in the way that he spoke to us".

    Naomi Weir, the acting director at the Campaign for Science and Engineering, said she thought Ed Miliband "recognises that business in the UK is a backbone of the UK economy and so he can't be looking to implement policies that will damage the UK's ability to be a productive nation and that very much includes a strong science and business sector."

    Privately though one senior business leader, who didn't want to be named, said they were "very worried" about the prospect of a future Labour government and said the "them and us rhetoric" was very concerning.

  44. No 10 on 'Jihadi John'

    On reports of the identification of "Jihadi John" as Mohammed Emwazi the PM's official spokeswoman said: "Our long standing position is that we neither confirm nor deny matters relating to security services. I'd point you to what the Met Police has said about not speculating on an individual's identity."

  45. Miliband woos manufacturers

    Eleanor Garnier, BBC political correspondent

    Ed Miliband

    Wooing business leaders at the EEF conference Ed Miliband said earlier: "There is no greater threat to the long-term stability and prosperity of Britain and British business than leaving the European Union." He added "that's why it is so wrong to play fast and loose with our membership of the EU". His words followed a warning from the chairman of the EEF, Martin Temple, that "some political leaders here are adopting a laissez-faire attitude that could see us sleepwalk out of Europe. They must avoid being trapped by promising unrealistic reforms that cannot be delivered." The Labour leader said that if he was prime minister after the general election he would "champion" the cause of the business leaders in the audience saying, "I believe manufacturing and engineering are the wave of the future. Not simply the pride of the past."

  46. No 10 'isn't weeping' over immigration figures

    On the immigration figures which are dominating the political headlines today the BBC's Norman Smith finds out why, despite failing to meet its target, there isn't any weeping and wailing inside No 10.

  47. Syrians can extend stay in UK - minister

    Syrians already in Britain will be able to extend their stay in the country without first having to return home to get a new visa, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire has announced. As the civil war continues in Syria, the government has relaxed restrictions, allowing Syrians who are legitimately in the country, or were until 28 days ago, to continue their stay.

  48. UKIP leader's police protection

    Robin Brant

    Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Nigel Farage leaves under police escort after a protest in Rotherham
    Image caption: Mr Farage was forced to abandon an event in Rotherham due to protestors

    UKIP has requested police bodyguards for Nigel Farage as he prepares to tour the country for the general election campaign. The BBC understands the party made a formal submission to the Home Office last week. MI5 and the police will now assess whether Mr Farage needs specially trained officers to protect him, at taxpayer expense.

  49. Miliband on Madonna

    Eleanor Garnier, BBC Political correspondent


    Ed Miliband started his speech at the EEF conference with an admission of relief, relief that he hadn't stacked it on his way up to the podium and ended up on his backside. The Labour leader's joke was, of course, on Madonna and her mishap at the BRIT Awards on Wednesday night. It would have been a truly remarkable achievement if he had fallen over because Mr Miliband was making a solo walk up onto the stage wearing a suit and tie. Madonna was decked out in a cape and heels whilst dancing and singing in a choreographed routine with a troop of performers.

    But Ed Miliband did at least sympathise with Madonna and even admitted that he'd had his fair share of difficult photo ops. If Madonna wanted any advice he said, "my people are happy to talk to her people".

  50. More on defence spending

    The prime minister's spokeswoman said earlier that the government is spending 2% of GDP on defence and will do so next year. She said "we are confident we will spend 2% this year and in 2015/16."

  51. 'Utterly let down'

    House of Commons


    Shadow work and pensions minister Stephen Timms is summing up for Labour in the Equitable Life debate. He says Conservative candidates and many Lib Dems were encouraged to sign a pledge promising to support and vote for "proper compensation for the victims of the Equitable Life scandal". He claims that the Equitable Members Action Group (EMAG) campaign now "feels utterly let down".

  52. Defence spending

    Statistics published by the Ministry of Defence earlier this month said there is already a deficit of 6,100 personnel across all three services compared to the number of people needed to "achieve success in its agreed tasks". Professor Chalmers (mentioned in previous entry 15:20 GMT), who is also a special adviser to the government's National Security Strategy joint committee, adds: "Events in Ukraine have brought home a great concern about Russia which means thinking about different ways to organise our armed forces and different ways to deploy them."

  53. 'High levels of migration simply constitute the new normal'

    BBC News Channel

    Don Flynn

    Don Flynn from the Migrants' Rights Network (MRN) says the immigration figures "reflect that the UK economy is growing once again".

    He tells the BBC News Channel: "I hope that we put aside rather daft targets as being things for government policy to aim for."

    And he says there need to be better "public education" on the issue.

    "If targets are measuring the wrong thing, if targets are achieving the wrong thing, then it's actually time to set them aside. The effect they are having is that they are obscuring the real policy issues, about what happens when we're living in a economy in which high levels of migration simply constitute the new normal," Mr Flynn adds.

  54. Defence spending

    A Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft

    The UK must continue to invest in the armed forces if it is to remain capable of defending itself from evolving threats like Russia, a defence expert has said. Professor Malcolm Chalmers, research director at security think tank the Royal United Service Institute, said manpower is still "most vulnerable" if further cuts are to be announced in the next budget after the general election in May.

  55. RBS owned Coutts in Swiss tax probe

    In its annual report earlier RBS said "a prosecuting authority in Germany is undertaking an investigation into Coutts & Co Ltd in Switzerland, and current and former employees, for alleged aiding and abetting of tax evasion by certain Coutts & Co Ltd clients". It adds the bank is "cooperating with the authority".

  56. RBS owned Coutts in Swiss tax probe

    RBS chief executive Ross McEwan, says if any evidence of wrongdoing is discovered "we will come [down] incredibly hard on any of those issues". He adds the bank takes the situation seriously. He adds: "This is what has tarnished the banking industry and in my view private banks have taken far too long to catch up with the public's expectations." Coutts was founded in the late 17th century and is the bank used by the Queen. In 2003 it bought Zurich-based Bank von Ernst & Cie .

  57. 'Redouble our efforts'

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Alp Mehmet, the vice chair of Migration Watch, which calls for reduced levels of immigration to the UK, said the figures showed more needed to be done to limit the numbers of people coming to Britain to start a new life. He said: "Apart from it being disappointing for the prime minister, I'm sure that there are millions of people around this country who are going to be hugely disappointed. I think all this shows is that we've got to redouble our efforts to get numbers down; you just can't ignore an additional 300,000 people a year coming to this country, with all the pressures that that means, with the housing and the rest of it."

  58. Manufacturers on Miliband

    he production line at the BMW Mini plant in Oxford.

    There's been some reaction to Ed Miliband's speech to manufacturers' organisation EEF earlier today. Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the EEF, says "Ed Miliband's clear support for manufacturing and engineering and its critical requirement for skills and innovation are welcome". He adds: "If Labour is in power later this year they must seek to build on what's worked well in the last few years - including sector industrial strategies, support for innovation and competitive business taxes."

  59. George Galloway - MP for Bradford West


    tweets: In fact the time has come for Ed Miliband to close down Bradford Labour and start again. I'm serious. And we would co-operate with him...

  60. Nigel Farage - UKIP leader


    tweets: The British public have said that UKIP has the most appropriate policies on immigration

  61. 'Jihadi John' unmasked


    BBC Radio 4

    tweets:AUDIO: 'Jihadi John' background has "echoes of the case of Adebolajo" - @MingCampbellMP

  62. Immigration

    The Spectator

    Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, writing on the magazine's website says: "The embarrassing truth is that David Cameron did not think carefully about this pledge to take net migration into the 'tens of thousands'. The pledge originated in a Thick-of-It style farce: it was an aspiration mentioned by Damian Green, then immigration spokesman, that caught media attention."

  63. Immigration

    BBC Radio 4

    Yvette Cooper told the World at One "we [Labour] always warned" the Conservatives against making their net migration pledge. She adds it is "disgraceful" that Home Secretary Theresa May hasn't come out to respond today" to today's immigration figures.

  64. 'Jihadi John' unmasked

    BBC Radio 4

    Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper tells The World at One the unmasking of Mohammed Emwazi as "Jihadi John" points to a wider issue of people known to be vulnerable going out to Syria. She says Labour has previously questioned the wisdom of removing control orders the government. "Of course this is a very difficult area... but we can't get away from the need to prevent people from being radicalised," she adds.

  65. Nick Sutton, editor BBC Radio 4's The World at One


    tweets: We wanted to intv Home Office Minister about immigration stats on @bbcworldatone. Unfortunately no one available.

    Empty chair
  66. Immigration

    BBC Radio 4

    No 10 says the prime minister is "disappointed with today's immigration figures" but doesn't regret making his original promise ahead of the 2010 election to cut net migration to tens of thousands. Madeleine Sumption is the director of the Migration Observatory in Oxford and she tells the World at One that the main reasons for the increase in net migration is the better performance of the UK economy and the increase in the number of people looking for jobs in the UK.

  67. 'Jhadi John' unmasked

    BBC Radio 4

    Sir Menzies Campbell says the security threat to the UK at the moment is so great that the government should look again at the funding it is proposing in the next parliament. He says the government is planning to increase funding by "only £100m" which isn't a great deal of money in the circumstances.

  68. More migration stats

    Carole Walker

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    Some extra points on net migration, which has risen to 298,000 in the year ending December 2014.

    • In 2014 there were 8% more work-related visas - up 12,422 to 167,202
    • In 2014 study-related visas rose slightly up 0.7%
    • In 2014 there were 5% more family visas, 6% more asylum applications and enforced removals fell 6%.
    • The number of non-UK nationals in employment in October to December 2014 was 3m, an increase of 239,000 or 9% from the comparable quarter in 2013
    • This change was driven by EU nationals: EU nationals in employment increased to 1.8m (+269,000; +17%), whereas non-EU nationals in employment decreased to 1.1m (-29,000; -2.5%).
  69. "Jihadi John' unmasked

    BBC Radio 4

    Security services have known for some time that the masked Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" was Kuwaiti-born British man Mohammed Emwazi, it has emerged. The Liberal Democrat MP Sir Menzies Campbell who sits on Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, claims he only discovered the identity of Emwazi himself today. He says although the committee is entitled to evidence relating to certain security operations it is only entitled to that evidence after the operations have been completed, so as to avoid "a running commentary".

  70. Miliband woos manufacturers

    Ed Miliband has pledged to be a "champion" for engineering and manufacturing if he becomes prime minister after the general election. At the EEF conference, the Labour leader warned company bosses they may not always agree with what his government does. But he insisted they would always have "a voice", adding: "Our future depends on you."

  71. BBC' hopeful' over election debates (pt2)

    First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson

    But Mr Robinson has said he hadn't heard anything from the BBC representatives that was new or strengthened what he described as their "threadbare argument". He said his party would await an outcome to its appeal to the BBC Trust, which is expected to be heard next month, and this would provide the BBC and other broadcasters with an opportunity to change their position before the matter goes to court.

  72. BBC 'hopeful' over election debates (pt1)

    The BBC's director of news and current affairs, James Harding, says he remains extremely hopeful that UK general election TV debates will be broadcast as planned in April. Mr Harding met the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader, Peter Robinson, in Belfast today to discuss the DUP's complaint that they have not been invited to take part in a seven party debate, even though Scottish and Welsh nationalists will participate.

  73. Meaningless target

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    The net migration target is a meaningless one, Labour's David Hanson tells Daily Politics. The shadow immigration minister is pressed over whether Labour has a target number. Mr Hanson refuses to do so, saying he is interested in the long term interests of the British economy. He does say he would take students out of the immigration figures - "about 80,000 a year".

  74. Race for City Hall


    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    London mayor bid: "There could still be candidates who may come out of the woodwork later on, I don't know who they are though" @IvanMassow

  75. Not looking back in anger...

    Brian Wheeler

    Political reporter

    Noel Gallagher

    UKIP's Steven Woolfe has another claim to fame (apart from appearing on Britain's top rated lunchtime politics show). The former hedge fund lawyer, who grew up in a tough part of Manchester, was in the same primary school class as Oasis star Noel Gallagher. He once told me the famously gobby rock legend was a "straightforward" character. As if to prove the point, Gallagher said last week that Nigel Farage "doesn't look capable of running a corner shop, let alone a country".

  76. UKIP on migration figures

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Steven woolfe

    UKIP migration spokesman Steven Woolfe tells the Daily Politics "there needs to be a radical review of how we deal with net migration". He says UKIP would set a cap on gross migration into the UK of "50,000 for those who have the right to work with the option for permanent residence here". There would still be flexibility for short term work needs, he says, but that move "would take out 167,000 of these figures each year".

    Earlier Mr Woolfe told reporters government policy was "fatally holed beneath the water line and is sinking fast".

  77. Pic: The Daily Politics line-up

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Daily Politics
  78. Empty chaired

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Daily Politics graphic

    The net migration figures are being discussed on Daily Politics now. Andrew Neil says no Conservative ministers, or MPs were available to come on to the show to discuss the figures. He reads out a list of questions that he would have asked them.

  79. PM on Savile report

    Carole Walker

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said David Cameron believes that the fact that Jimmy Savile's "horrific abuse was allowed to go on for so long" shows the need to learn lessons, which is why the government set up the Kate Lampard review. She said decisions on prosecutions are a matter for the prosecuting authorities, the issue for the government is "to make sure such horrific abuse does not happen in future".

    The spokeswoman said there are already stronger incentives for staff and managers to pass on information about their concerns, but she said "the prime minister wants to do more". She said he is committed to consulting on mandatory reporting of child abuse and will now seek to extend that to vulnerable adults too.

  80. 'Jihadi John' named

    Carole Walker

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said she would not confirm or deny reports that Jihadi John has been named as Mohammed Emwazi. She said "we do not confirm or deny matters relating to the intelligence services". On the alleged murders of British hostages, she said "we are absolutely determined to bring the perpetrators to justice" and said the police and security services are working hard to do that.

  81. A packed show

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Coming up on the Daily Politics from 12:00-13:00: Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn on the report into Jimmy Savile which described him as an "opportunistic predator" at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, and talking migration figures with UKIP's Steven Woolfe and Labour's David Hanson, plus the future of the BBC licence fee.

    They will also hear about Ivan Massow's bid to be a future mayor of London, and he talks gay politics with Peter Tatchell. And Conservative MP Robert Jenrick, will draw on his past work for Christies, as he looks at the finances and rare antiquities of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

    You can watch the programme live on the 'Live coverage' tab above.

  82. Chart: Net migration over the years

    Net migration over the years
  83. Post update

    Hugh Pym

    Health editor

    tweets: Andy Burnham calls for more formal inquiry into role of Dept of Health,ministers,hospital chiefs in giving Savile power at Stoke Mandeville

  84. Labour response on Savile

    House of Commons


    Andy Burnham

    Shadow health Secretary Andy Burnham lends Labour's support to Jeremy Hunt's announcement. "It beggars belief that abuse on this scale known to many people was allowed to go on", he says. He adds that increasing accountability must now be the priority for "this government and the next, and the next".

  85. Hunt statement on Savile abuse

    House of Commons


    Jeremy Hunt says the government will now consult on making the reporting of sexual abuse of children and adults mandatory, with a view to implementing the change.

  86. Hunt statement on Savile abuse

    House of Commons


    Mr Hunt says he is not accepting the recommendation that all volunteers should have an increased criminal record check, as it would be wrong to substitute national database for "local common sense". He adds that this measure would not have stopped Jimmy Savile - a fact conceded by Kate Lampard.

  87. PM on migration figures

    Downing Street has reacted to the migration figures. A spokeswoman said the Prime Minister "is disappointed".

    "He had said previously that we have not made as much progress as he would like but he had also said that he doesn't regret making this commitment because he thinks it is in the interests of our country, that we will have a better, stronger country, if we have lower net migration."

  88. Hunt statement on Savile abuse

    House of Commons


    Jeremy Hunt

    There are further investigations going on in schools and hospitals, Mr Hunt says, and he encourages victims to come forward.

    He tells MPs that the report found that Jimmy Savile exploited his victims because of the specialist care were only be able to receive at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

    Nine complaints were made, including one formal complaint, but all were ignored because of Savile's celebrity status and the money he brought to the hospital, Mr Hunt says.

  89. Hunt statement on Savile abuse

    More from the health secretary's statement: "We have a collective responsibility to investigate all serious allegations properly in a way that simply didn't happen time after time."

  90. BreakingBreaking News

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has begun giving an oral statement in the Commons on the Savile abuse reports. "Never again must the power of money or celebrity blind us to ... clear signals" that minors were being abused, he says.

  91. House building plan

    Mr Cable says there is a "massive" issue of affordability, especially in London. He adds the housing crisis is "profoundly damaging", and that more needs to be done to help builders access finance. Councils should also be encouraged to build houses, and more public land should be freed up for development, he adds.

  92. House building plan unveiled

    A general view of roof workers building new houses

    Plans to tackle the housing crisis, including building more homes off-site to cut costs and increase productivity, have been unveiled by the government. Business Secretary Vince Cable says there is an urgent demand for new, affordable homes because only 150,000 houses were built last year, half the number needed.

  93. Immigration

    Terence Ward from Cheshire

    These numbers show that currently the UK government has no powers to police our borders. Something needs to change, either change EU laws to allow us to control our borders from poorer EU countries or we have to seriously think about our membership of the EU. I don't want to leave the EU if it is agreed it is better to stay but we are under an attack of immigrants who are flocking here for a better life, which is in turn changing life as we know it in a detrimental way.

  94. Rotherham commissioners announced

    Communities secretary Eric Pickles has just announced the commissioners he will be nominating to investigate the Rotherham child abuse scandal. He has nominated Sir Derek Myers to be the Lead Commissioner. Stella Manzie CBE will take the role of the managing director commissioner, and Malcolm Newsam will be nominated as children's social care commissioner. Mary Ney and Julie Kenny CBE will be nominated as supporting commissioners.

  95. Minister criticises rival parties

    BBC News Channel

    James Brokenshire also tells Norman Smith that "unfortunately" the Lib Dems and Labour are not committed in the same way to cutting migration numbers to sustainable levels as the Conservatives are "and", he adds, "UKIP certainly don't have any answers".

  96. 'Sustainable levels' of migration is target

    BBC News Channel

    James Brokenshire

    Asked by Norman Smith if the target of getting net migration below 100,000 will be a pledge again at this year's election James Brokenshire says the Conservatives' goal remains to get net migration figures down to long-term sustainable levels.

  97. Minister blames EU and Lib Dems

    BBC News Channel

    In an interview with Norman Smith to be shown shortly on the BBC News Channel, immigration minister James Brokenshire says the net migration stats - up to 298,000 in the new figures for the year to September 2014 - are disappointing. But he says the government has "said for some time that our target of reducing net migration... would not be met because of the pressures from the EU. We have also been constrained in government by Liberal Democrats who don't have that same aim and focus on reducing net migration down."

  98. What would Labour do?

    BBC News Channel

    Asked what Labour do, Yvette Cooper says there would be "much stronger" border controls to tackle illegal immigration with 1,000 more border staff paid for by visa charges, more investment in the skills and apprenticeships "we need in Britain" and tighter controls "on areas being abused by people overstaying".

  99. Unskilled workers

    BBC News Channel

    Yvette Cooper tells Norman Smith that skilled and talented people are needed but the migration figures reflect the fact not enough effort is being put into training British people via apprenticeships. The shadow home secretary also says there are recruitment agencies bringing in low paid unskilled workers, which needs to be tackled.

  100. Labour: Cameron policy 'in tatters'

    BBC News Channel

    Yvette Cooper

    Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has told Norman Smith in an interview to appear on the BBC News Channel shortly that the migration figures showed David Cameron's policy was "in tatters". She says immigration needs to be controlled in a way that is "fair" and criticises David Cameron and Theresa May for making "grand promises".

  101. One in six chance of 'Brexit'

    European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels

    There is about a one-in-six chance of the UK leaving the European Union over the course of the next Parliament, according to a new Brexit Barometer. The measure, drawn up by think tank OpenEurope, puts the chance of the UK quitting Europe at 17%, with an overwhelming 83% likelihood it will stay. A poll carried out for OpenEurope suggested that 41% of voters would opt to quit the EU and just 37% to stay in, if a referendum was held under the current terms of membership. But positions were reversed - with 47% voting to remain and 32% to leave - if the 28-nation bloc was successfully reformed.

  102. 'Outward-facing' UK

    Migrants' Rights Network director Don Flynn says the latest migration figures reflect the UK's growing economy: "What these numbers show is that Britain is more than ever an outward-facing, globalised country with a diverse and hardworking population from overseas."

  103. Net migration target

    "Rising work-related migration from outside the EU has also contributed." Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, says of today's immigration figures. "If the Prime Minister remains in denial about the broken target, he is setting himself up for five more years of failure. It is already clear there is next to no chance of meeting the same target in the next parliament either."

  104. Immigration

    Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, says UK job growth is likely to be a key factor behind the recent increase in net migration. "If the UK's economic performance compared to the rest of the EU had been poor, then we might well have seen net migration fall, but that has not happened," she adds

  105. Ed Balls Day 2015


    Robyn Vinter, Business reporter, Londonlovesbusiness

    tweets: Only 60 sleeps until Ed Balls Day 2015. I still haven't started my shopping or put decorations up

  106. Savile abuse reports


    Dr Androulla Johnstone, lead investigator into Jimmy Savile's abuse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, tells a news conference: "All NHS services should be alert to predatory sexual offenders like Savile who can be placed in a position of trust and authority." The full story is here.

  107. Migration figures

    UK Border

    The big increase in the latest net migration figures was driven by a "statistically significant" rise in immigrants arriving in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics. Immigration was up to 624,000 in the year to September from 530,000 in the previous 12 months. About 327,000 people emigrated from the UK in the same period.

  108. Immigration 'embarrassment'


    Mr Clegg has also weighed in on the latest immigration figures, saying they are "very embarrassing for the Conservatives" as "they made a huge fanfare about it and they were warned, warned by me and others privately don't do this it doesn't make any sense." Mr Clegg says the Conservatives will, "quite rightly will have to suffer the embarrassment of having made a commitment on something that people care about passionately which is immigration. They've made a commitment and they have failed spectacularly to deliver it."

  109. Second jobs for Mps


    Nick Clegg sidesteps a question over MPs having second jobs saying he believes being an MP is "a full time vocation". "It's a form of public service," Mr Clegg adds. Referring to this week's sting involving two former foreign secretaries Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Mr Clegg says: "The crucial thing is to stop MPs from being lobby fodder."

  110. Post update

    Mark Easton

    Home editor

    tweets: Department & NHS officials 'lost control' says Savile investigator. 'Savile was able to access a new cohort of victims."

  111. Immigration target in 'tatters'

    Norman Smith

    BBC Assistant Political Editor

    The blunt truth is that David Cameron's pledge to get net migration down to the tens of thousands lies in tatters. The figures are now 50,000 higher than when the Coalition came into power. The big hoo ha about that has nothing to do with benefit tourism or anything like that but.... because the economy is growing. It is the government's success in getting [economic] growth that means they are failing on their target for immigration.

  112. Kevin Maguire

    Associate editor

    The Mirror

    tweets: 298,000 obliterates not breaks Cameron's "tens of thousands" migration promise. Tricky for Left too. Gift for Ukip

  113. Post update

    Mark Easton

    Home editor

    tweets: Savile report: "Ministers and/or senior civil servants either overrode or failed to observe accepted governance processes."

  114. GDP held at 0.5%

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has left its estimate for GDP unrevised - it still thinks GDP increased by 0.5% between the third and fourth quarter of 2014.

  115. Savile reports


    You can follow full live coverage of the Savile abuse reports on our dedicated live page. Stay with Politics Live for all the political reaction, including the Commons statement by the health secretary - as well as the day's other developing stories.

  116. BreakingBreaking News

    Jimmy Savile's reputation as a "sex pest" at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire was a an "open secret" amongst junior staff and some middle managers but "complaints were probably filtered out" before they reached the attention of senior administrators, an independent report finds.

  117. BreakingBreaking News

    Danny Shaw

    Home affairs correspondent, BBC News

    The last set of immigration figures before the General Election show that net migration has risen to 298,000 in the year ending September 2014. The ONS says this is a statistically significant increase from 210,000 in the previous 12 months.

  118. Clegg on British Muslims


    Nick Clegg

    How representative does Nick Clegg think Wednesday's survey of British Muslims was? Mr Clegg says it is not for him to try to second guess what people are saying to pollsters. But he adds: "One of the greatest anecdotes to extremism in any community, but in this case our Muslim communities, is, of course, moderate, law-abiding, mainstream British Muslim opinion." He says the polls show overwhelmingly that British Muslims were revolted by the attacks on Charlie Hebdo.

  119. TV debates


    Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has told his LBC phone-in show he will take part in election TV debates as long "as they are properly and reasonably organised". He accuses the broadcasters of swinging from a logical position to ones with "Tom, Dick and Harry" and everybody in them. He says everyone (naming only the Conservatives) should make clear whether they are taking part and adds "let's get on with what debates are feasible, because that's what the public wants".

  120. Savile response

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is scheduled to make an oral statement in the House later today in the wake of the publication of a series of reports on sexual abuse carried out by the late BBC radio and TV star Jimmy Savile, at hospitals and children's homes in Britain. In the next few minutes investigators are expected to reveal that Savile assaulted more than 50 patients, staff and visitors at one hospital, Stoke Mandeville, over two decades. It's understood the reports also criticise the NHS for allowing a celebrity unsupervised access to all parts of the hospital.

    Savile (right)
  121. Clegg's election specs?


    Nick Clegg

    Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is not often seen wearing glasses. Could the ones being worn on his LBC Call Clegg phone-in (09:00-10:00) be worn in the heat of the election campaign to come?

  122. Lib-Lab pact?

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    More from Lord Donoughue on political pacts, which he says work better than the coalitions that can compromise a government for years. The idea of a confidence and supply agreement is "much more flexible and means you can reach compromises that are much more practical for the need of the time," he says.

    Are today's politicians more immature than their predecessors, he is asked? "We were very fortunate at that time in that there were very mature politicians in all parties and many of them had fought in the war they were very adult people and maybe today they are less experienced," Lord Donoughue says. Ouch.

  123. Lib-Lab pact?

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    Could the Lib Dems and Labour form a pact after the next election as they did in the 1970s? It worked very effectively, Lord Donoughue, a former head of the Downing Street policy unit under Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan tells Today. There is a reasonable chance after all that the next government will be a minority government that has to rely on support on a "confidence and supply" come 8 May.

  124. Second jobs for MPs

    The Independent

    John Rentoul writing in the Independent today says: "What seemed most peculiar... was that the subject is not a clean win for Labour. Yes, Miliband won PMQs - David Cameron admitted that by the increasingly desperate way he said "the unions the unions McCluskey". But beyond that Gordon Brown is the top earner from outside sources even if most outside earnings go to Conservatives."

  125. Ian Dunt


    tweets: V.good response from Natalie Bennett. Can't imagine any other party leader - specifically the men - writing it

  126. Green party leader apologises

    Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

    Green party leader Natalie Bennett has written an apology in the Guardian newspaper this morning following her disastrous radio interview on Tuesday. In it she admits she "gave a terrible interview on LBC - let's not pretend it was anything else". She adds: "If you cringed listening to the show, than I'm sure you can imagine what I felt like."

  127. Gaby Hinsliff


    The Guardian

    tweets: Off to do @BBCWomansHour later. Feel I should maybe do it in a cape #madonna #solidarity (tho sadly it's only politics I'm discussing)

  128. Osborne on RBS

    Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne

    Here's some more from the Chancellor's letter to RBS chairman designate. Sir Howard Davies. George Osborne calls on the new chairman to ensure the bank's business is "conducted to the very highest ethical standards".

    He adds: "Given the extraordinary support it has enjoyed in the past from taxpayers, I know you recognise that RBS must remain a backmarker on pay and continue to show responsibility and restraint."

    Mr Osborne says: "I would also expect that... no executive directors or members of the executive committee will receive bonuses, despite improved profitability."

  129. BBC licence fee

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    One of the alternative sources of funding the Committee looked at is a levy on all households. Mr Whittingdale says the number of people who don't use BBC at all is very, very small but none the less it has "always been a principle that there are certain public expenditures which are a good thing education, health, social services and it doesn't depend on whether or not you use them". People pay for education whether or not they have children, he says and we do think there is a case for public service broadcasting which should be publicly financed.

  130. BBC Licence

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    tv gallery

    The chair of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee tells Today there is no long term future for the licence fee. John Whittingdale says the way in which people watch television and consume content is changing. "More and more people are now using things like catch up services, video on demand, you've got an enormous growth of internet television and therefore the old system whereby you paid a licence for the set top and for the set which sat in the corner is going.," he adds.

    The committee's full report is available for browsing.

  131. Tom Newton Dunn

    Political editor

    The Sun

    tweets: Immigration now higher than when Coalition took power in 2010, figures expected to reveal today

  132. RBS reports loss

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    "It's certainly not going to be months," Mr McKewan tells Today when asked how long it might be before the taxpayer starts to get their money back. "It's up to the government to sell its position," he says. But he insists it won't be as long as ten years before this begins to happen.

  133. RBS reports loss

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    More from RBS CEO Ross McKewan on the bank's figures: "We are building a really good customer bank and we are centring that bank on the areas that are strong in the UK and in western Europe. So that we can get it right, we can get the service levels up, so that we can get more people doing business with us and the value of this bank will return, so that we can sell it off and get the money back [for taxpayers]."

  134. Post update

    The Daily Telegraph

    tweets: The cash-for-access scandal isn't about greed, it's about vanity

  135. RBS reports loss

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    "Given the success we've had in the past year we want to go further and we want to go faster in reforming this bank," RBS chief executive Ross McKewan tells Today. He is talking about reducing the bank's global operations and focusing on the UK. That means a reductions from operations in 38 countries to 14.

  136. RBS reports loss

    In fairness to RBS its losses this year are only a third of the size of those it reported last year. Most of the losses appear to be connected to its US banking operation - Citizens bank which it sold last year.

  137. RBS reports loss

    RBS logo

    Ouch. RBS has just announced another huge loss - £3.5bn for 2014.

  138. Poll update


    tweets: Update: Cons & Lab tied - Latest YouGov/The Sun results 25th Feb - Con 33%, Lab 33%, LD 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 6%; APP -16

  139. Citizenship survey

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    For more than ten years there was a "citizenship" survey conducted in Britain. Then it was dropped. So now, instead of basing decisions affecting (for instance) ethnic minorities on actual research they have to be based on instinct. At least that's the charge that was made on the Today programme on Thursday by the former minister Baroness Varsi. The government's response was that the survey was a "waste of money" that "subsidised pollsters and achieved nothing".

    That's "a bit pugnacious" Penny Young, chief executive at National Centre for Social Research says. She adds what's happened is the survey has now been replaced with a "citizenship survey light" and could go even go online. Instead of canvassing the views of 10,000 people it now canvasses the views of just 2,000. That doesn't help government make proper evidence based decisions.

  140. Owen Meredith


    tweets: The thing missing from the MPs second job debate is the fact that 100 odd MPs have a second job as a Government minister and find the time

  141. RBS results

    A logo at a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland

    At 07:00 Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) - still 80% owned by the taxpayer - releases its annual results. The bank is likely to report more fines for wrongdoing... again. And the bank's boss Ross McKewan is to forgo a share award worth £1m. So when will the bank return to private hands and the taxpayer get their money back? Not for some time to come seems to be the consensus.

  142. Pressure on TV licence

    TV license

    This morning we have also have a report from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee which says the BBC's TV licence does not have a long-term future and is likely to be replaced by a new levy within the next 15 years. MPs say the fee is "becoming harder and harder to justify" given changes in the media. They suggest every household could pay a new compulsory levy instead.

  143. Get in touch

    Don't forget you can get in touch with us to share your views via email at or via twitter @bbcpolitics.

  144. Post update

    Jonathan Beale

    Defence correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: #Russia signs deal with #Cyprus to let Russian warships use ports. Cyprus is main base for UK forces

  145. Trade deal leak

    Trade protest

    A leaked draft of what the European Union (EU) wants excluded from a new trade deal with the United States has been obtained by the BBC. The document describes itself as the EU's "initial offer" in negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It includes the wording that UK ministers have said will protect the NHS from privatisation.