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Summary

  1. Ed Miliband says Labour will not go into coalition with the SNP after the election
  2. Nicola Sturgeon promises the SNP can be a "constructive" force at Westminster for the whole of the UK
  3. UKIP has been added to the list of parties entitled to at least two party election broadcasts, but the Green Party has not
  4. Conservative chairman Grant Shapps faces questions over his outside business interests
  5. Danny Alexander launches a review of business rates aimed at making the system fairer
  6. There are 52 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Nick Eardley and Angela Harrison

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Signing off

    Here's a quick look back at the main stories from the world of politics today:

    • Labour leader Ed Miliband ruled out a formal coalition with the Scottish National Party in the event of a hung parliament, but not a looser arrangement
    • David Cameron said it was "despicable" Mr Miliband had not ruled out a post-election deal with the SNP
    • SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said in a speech that her party could help overhaul the UK's "crumbling" institutions
    • Newsnight reported claims an undercover police operation that gathered evidence of child abuse by Cyril Smith and other public figures was scrapped shortly after the MP was arrested
    • Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said he had "screwed up" by suggesting he had never had a second job while an MP
    • UKIP was put on the list of "major parties" entitled to at least two party election broadcasts - but the Green Party was not

    That's all from the Politics Live page for tonight. We'll be back from 06:00 GMT with all the day's election news, comment and pre-Budget predictions. See you then.

  2. Tomorrow's Herald

    Herald front page
  3. Tomorrow's i

    i
  4. Paper review

    BBC News Channel

    Paper review

    Joanne Hart says the UK is not used to discussions over coalitions or pacts - we're more used to majority governments. Torcuil Crichton says Labour wants to talk down the idea of pacts. The party fears that if it starts the conversation on coalitions, it will start talking itself out of power and a possible majority.

  5. Paper review

    BBC News Channel

    Paper review

    On the paper review, Torcuil Crichton from the Daily Record and Joanne Hart from the Mail on Sunday are discussing the Times splash. The paper reports a Home Office minister - Lord Bates - saying immigration must be reduced as foreign-born mothers are having too many children. Mr Crichton says Lord Bates is wrong - without immigration into the country, "we will fossilise and die off". We need migrants to boost the economy, he says. Ms Hart agrees, saying "Today's migrants are tomorrow's citizens if it's handled properly". And English people aren't having enough children, she adds.

  6. DailySunday Politics

    @daily_politics

    tweets: Tuesday's guest of the day is @Nigel_Farage joining @Jo_Coburn for our eve-of-Budget #bbcdp programme from 12-1

  7. Tomorrow's Telegraph

    Daily Telegraph
  8. Official Secrets

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    Alison Millar, a lawyer representing victims of abuse, has been telling Newsnight the Home Secretary Theresa May should make it clear to officers that they would not be bound by the Official Secrets Act if they wanted to pass on information about investigations into Cyril Smith and an alleged child sex abuse ring in London. The Metropolitan Police is under investigation over claims of a cover-up. It is not commenting because it says the investigation is live.

  9. Jim Murphy on coalitions

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    Jim Murphy

    "There isn't going to be a coalition... and we aren't looking for any sort of deal", Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy tells Newsnight. He says Labour wants to retain the Barnett formula and the SNP want to get rid of that - a form of austerity Mr Murphy says Scotland has never seen the likes of before.

    Mr Murphy says the party with the most seats in the Commons will form the next government - Labour will only be in charge if they are the biggest party, he says.

  10. BBC Panorama

    @BBCPanorama

    tweets: Now on @BBCOne #Panorama @clivemyrieBBC reports on #WhatBritainWants: somewhere to #work

    Clive Myrie
  11. Sturgeon on coalitions

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    Nicol;a Sturgeon

    Nicola Sturgeon has told Newsnight nothing Ed Miliband said today changed anything - a coalition was "highly unlikely" anyway. She said the party had had no talks. Earlier today the Labour leader ruled out a formal coalition with the SNP.

    Scotland's First Minister also said her party wanted an alternative to spending costs: "That's what I stand for."

    Ms Sturgeon says she also cares about people in England and progressive change - not just in Scotland.

  12. Mark Wallace, Conservative Home

    @wallaceme

    tweets: A must-watch #Newsnight report tonight by @nickhopkinsnews on appalling allegations of a Met cover-up of child abuse in Lambeth.

  13. James Lyons, Sunday Times deputy political editor

    @STJamesl

    tweets: Extraordinary report on Newsnight regarding child abuse cover-up allegations

  14. Tomorrow's Times

    The Times
  15. George Eaton, New Statesman political editor

    @georgeeaton

    tweets: Danger for Tories of £1m inheritance tax threshold is that reinforces reputation as the party of the rich: just 6% of estates would pay.

  16. Cover-up claims

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    Cyril Smith

    A bit more from Newsnight. The programme has been told an undercover police operation which gathered evidence of child abuse by Cyril Smith and other public figures was scrapped shortly after the MP was arrested. The Liberal MP was held during a 1980s probe into alleged abuse of teenage boys in south London, a source has said. He was allegedly released within hours of being taken to a police station. Here's more.

  17. Cover-up allegations

    BBC Newsnight

    BBC Two, 22:30

    An undercover investigation into allegations the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith and other prominent figures abused teenage boys was shelved after arrests were made, BBC Newsnight reports.

  18. Inhertiance tax 'leak'

    The Guardian

    The Guardian is reporting George Osborne has drawn up plans which would allow parents to pass a property worth up to £1m to their children without facing inheritance tax. The scheme would also reduce the bill on properties up to £2m by £140,000, the paper says. The information comes from documents leaked to the paper, it says. The move was blocked by the Lib Dems, according to the report. More here.

  19. Tomorrow's Daily Mail

    Daily Mail
  20. Tomorrow's Daily Mirror

    Mirror
  21. Tomorrow's Guardian

    Guardian front page
  22. Janan Ganesh, FT columnist

    @JananGanesh

    tweets: Osborne must leave a legacy that outlives this budget. My column in tomorrow's FT

  23. Tomorrow's Daily Record

    Daily Record
  24. The precariat?

    Clive Myrie

    The BBC's Clive Myrie drew on his own family's history to make an "immersive report" for Panorama on the world of work in Britain today and yesterday.

  25. Laura Kuenssberg, Newsnight chief correspondent

    @bbclaurak

    tweets: #newsnight @nickhopkinsnews exclusive on child abuse; @BBCAllegra talks to @NicolaSturgeon; @edballsmp + Lab arguments ahead of #budget2015

  26. Financial Times front page

    Financial Times front page
  27. Tim Reid, BBC political correspondent

    @TimReidBBC

    tweets: All quiet on the #bbc #budget2015 studio front but we will be preview-tastic tomorrow

    BBC studio
  28. End of the issue?

    The Spectator

    Will Ed Miliband's announcement that the Labour party will not go in to formal coalition with the SNP stop attacks from the Conservatives on the issue? Sebastian Payne, over at the Spectator, doesn't think so. He quotes a Tory source saying the party will continue to campaign on the issue. More here.

  29. 'Neck and neck'

    In a blog post, YouGov's Anthony Wells says the most recent polls suggest Labour and the Conservatives "are still neck and neck".

  30. BBC Newsnight

    @BBCNewsnight

    tweets: Tonight at 22.30 @nickhopkinsnews reveals shocking details of how major paedophile investigation ws shut down after MP arrested #Newsnight

  31. Lobbyists register launch date set

    The BBC has been told the government's new register of lobbyists will go live on 25 March. Registrar Alison White said the register, as promised by the coalition, would be "open for business" and lobbyists could sign up online. The BBC's Tom Moseley has the story here.

  32. Where do I sign?

    David Cameron

    David Cameron also discussed the TV debates - and online alternatives - in his BuzzFeed interview. The prime minister said: "I'm up for a debate, I'm up for a multi-party debate, whether it is you [BuzzFeed], whether it is another digital debate, whether it is the TV broadcasters, that matters less to me than having a multi-party debate before the campaign gets under way."

    He added: "Everyone's got to agree to it but I've said very clearly - multi-party debate before the campaign, where do I sign?"

  33. James Chapman, Daily Mail political editor

    @jameschappers

    tweets: Cameron tells Buzzfeed he'll stay on as MP if he loses. If so, would he serve in shad Cab after decent interval? Hague did as former leader

  34. David Cameron interview

    The Daily Telegraph

    David Cameron

    Here's The Telegraph's take on the David Cameron interview on BuzzFeed. The newspaper writes that the prime minister suggested he will stay as an MP even if he loses the election.

  35. David Cameron's kitchens

    During an interview with BuzzFeed earlier, David Cameron admitted that he had two kitchens, just like Labour leader Ed Miliband. The prime minister told the website he had a second kitchen installed in his house in Notting Hill for the benefit of the carers who looked after his disabled son Ivan, who died in 2009.

    Mr Cameron said: "We actually had to extend into the basement and we put in an extra kitchen, not least because I had a very disabled son, Ivan, and his carers were there and they looked after him and so we did that for them, as well as for him."

    He added: "The point is not whether you have got two kitchens, but whether you have a photocall in one of them and pretend it's your kitchen. That's the issue."

  36. BuzzFeed UK Politics

    @BuzzFeedUKPol

    tweets: David Cameron's favourite Game of Thrones character is Ned Stark

  37. North Sea leader on Budget

    A lot is likely to be said about Wednesday's Budget over the next 48 hours. And tonight, on the BBC, one leading figure from the oil and gas industry has said the budget could be the most important in the history of the industry in the North Sea. Sir Ian Wood, who was commissioned by the government to undertake a review of the whole sector, called for Chancellor George Osborne to take "really significant" action. Mr Osborne is widely expected to announce a change in the North Sea tax regime. More here.

  38. Labour and SNP

    David Cameron talks to Jim Waterson, the deputy editor of Buzzfeed UK

    A bit more on that key story about Labour ruling out a formal coalition with the Scottish National Party. The Labour leader Ed Miliband said there would be no SNP ministers in his Cabinet. Commentators say the two parties could still come to a different arrangement short of a coalition, such as a "vote by vote" deal.

    Tonight, in an interview with Buzzfeed, David Cameron said: "Not ruling out a deal, or a pact, or support from the Scottish National Party means that the Labour Party is effectively saying, we're trying to ride to power on the back of a party that wants to break up our country. Now I don't think that is acceptable. The SNP isn't just any old party, they're a party that thinks that the United Kingdom - our country - shouldn't exist. And so I think it is pretty despicable, frankly, not to say 'look there's no dealing with them we're going to do'. And he's not saying that."

  39. Cover-up allegations

    The background to the announcement of an inquiry in to alleged corruption by the Metropolitan police over child sex abuse cases can be found here.

  40. Fraser Nelson, Spectator editor

    @FraserNelson

    tweets: Miliband now bookies favourite to be PM. From Spectator's #Election2015 hub: bookmark it now!

    Tweetpick
  41. Cameron on EU

    On EU negotiations, David Cameron says let's get the change - telling the audience we're quite capable of doing so - then the British people get their choice. And that's all from the BuzzFeed chat with the prime minister.

  42. Defence spending

    David Cameron won't commit to 2% of GDP being spent on defence over the next Parliament. There won't be any reduction in the size of the regular armed forces though, he says.

  43. Suicide

    David Cameron

    David Cameron is asked about suicide among young people. He says the UK has too-high a rate of suicide, especially in prisons. There is no doubt mental health needs more attention, he says, adding: "It's "under-played as a health issue".

  44. PM's Q and A

    David Cameron

    The PM is being asked questions from the floor now and takes one about political advertising. President Obama has often told him he is lucky not to have political TV advertising.

    He tells the audience he agrees we are lucky we don't have it. He says adverts online are ok - they can be made cheaply - whereas TV is a massive cost.

  45. Kitchen question

    David Cameron says he has two kitchens in his family home.

  46. Opposition choice

    Nick Clegg or Ed Miliband?, David Cameron is asked. Without hesitation, he says the former.

  47. Equality

    Asked about "transrights", Mr Cameron says the issue is important. We need to look at combating bullying in schools, he says.

    And he says he won't commit to a 50-50 gender balance by 2020, but insists his party is doing better at getting more women into politics.

  48. Like to do more

    David Cameron says there were "lots" of things he would have like to done more of. But the main job was to fix the economy.

  49. PM on Russia

    Would regime change in Russia be good? David Cameron says you have to "deal with what you've got". He tells BuzzFeed messing with borders and self-determination is "extremely dangerous" and that the UK needs to stand up to President Putin.

    He says there's no military solution to problems in Ukraine, but there is an economic one. If Russia wants to be part of the 21st Century world, he says, that's fine. But if the country doesn't, it shouldn't expect the benefits of free exchange of information.

  50. The New Statesman

    @May2015NS

    tweets: The future of TV isn't on the internet any time soon. Newsnight nightly audience = 600k-ish. This #buzzfeedbrews Cameron iview = 1k.

  51. 'Radical nonsense'

    David Cameron

    David Cameron is talking about three London schoolgirls who have gone to IS-controlled Syria. He tells BuzzFeed they are "deeply misguided" and potentially going to join a criminal organisation. We want to get them back, the PM says, and get this "radical nonsense out of their heads".

  52. Snapchat

    David Cameron says he doesn't use snapchat. He says he tweets and has read some of the less complimentary replies he gets to some updates on the site.

    The prime minister says he has a personal gmail email address he uses outside work and admits sometimes worrying about the security implications. He has a personal iPhone and a work blackberry, he says.

  53. Older home-owners

    DC and BuzzFeed

    You won't get more affordable housing unless you build more homes, David Cameron says. He tells BuzzFeed he doesn't want to be in a country where the age of home-owners keeps going up.

    The Prime Minister says he isn't just on the side of pensioners. Most young people want grandparents to have a comfortable retirement, he says. For young people, we have created jobs, the PM says. They are not all part-time or zero hour contracts.

  54. PM on homes

    "We're not building enough houses" and we need to do more, David Cameron tells BuzzFeed. People who can afford mortgages can't get deposits, he says, adding that the "Help to Buy" scheme is addressing that problem.

  55. Siraj Datoo, political reporter, Buzzfeed

    @dats

    tweets: David Cameron is wearing a blue striped tie, a navy tie, and black shoes and socks. #BuzzFeedBrews

  56. Cameron on Buzzfeed

    If you elect a majority, you can hold us to our promises, David Cameron says. But with a coalition, you need to make compromises. Mr Cameron thinks the UK is ready for a majority again.

  57. PM on hung parliament

    David Cameron says nobody in his team is preparing for a hung parliament. He tells BuzzFeed he has run a coalition before and he will take steps in the national interest, but will be fighting for a majority. "I only have to get 23 more seats", the PM says.

  58. David Cameron on TV debates

    On TV debates, David Cameron says a multi-party debate should still take place. He says the broadcasters have wasted time.

  59. PM on PMQs

    David Cameron says PMQs can be "pretty rough stuff", when asked about the campaign tone and his description of Ed Miliband as "despicable". The PM says it's despicable not to rule out a deal with the SNP and that his party is running the "most positive possible campaign".

  60. Cameron on Buzzfeed

    David Cameron, being interviewed by BuzzFeed, says Grant Shapps made a mistake saying he had no second job as an MP. But he says he has put that right now and he is going a good job running the Tory campaign.

  61. Plain packaging passed

    The plans are due to come in in 2016. More details here.

  62. Plain packaging for cigarettes

    Plain packaging for cigarettes has been given the go-ahead after peers approved the plans without a vote.

  63. Plain packaging

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Back in the Lords, the Liberal Democrat, Baroness Tyler of Enfield, brushed off criticism of the plans to bring in plain packaging for cigarettes and said it was time to listen to the majority of Britons. But independent crossbencher Viscount Falkland warned of "unintended consequences" from the change and asked: "How can you interfere with the marketing and sales of a legal product?"

    He added: "If you don't like smoking, ban it. Don't try to pretend this is going to deal with it."

  64. Matthew Holehouse, Daily Telegraph political correspondent

    @mattholehouse

    tweets: Just waiting for David Cameron to hang out in this loft with Internet community leader @jimwaterson

    Tweetpic of studio
  65. Alleged cover-up

    A recap on another big story today: The Independent Police Complaints Commission is examining claims Scotland Yard covered up child sex offences dating back to the 1970s - because they involved politicians and police officers. The police watchdog is looking at 14 accusations of what it calls "historic high level corruption of the most serious nature".

    Although the commission will manage the investigation, it will be carried out by the Met's own officers. Jon Silverman - a professor of media and criminal justice at the University of Bedfordshire - says there could still be an independent inquiry.

  66. David Cameron talks to BuzzFeed

    David Cameron is going to be interviewed by BuzzFeed from 1830 GMT. The website is streaming the event here. We'll bring you some updates too.

  67. Harry Cole, contributing editor to The Spectator

    @MrHarryCole

    tweets: Live betting odds: CON: 276 (-26) LAB: 275 (+16) SNP: 41 (+35) LD: 31 (-25) UKIP: 3 (+1)

  68. No deal?

    John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, says Ed Miliband has not ruled out, explicitly, an arrangement with the SNP short of a coalition. The truth, he says, is that the election race is looking close. The SNP could gain perhaps 45 seats in Scotland. The only way of forming a government after 7 May for Labour could be some sort of a deal with the SNP.

    After the election, the party leader which can command confidence in the Commons will be prime minister - and that won't necessarily be the leader of the biggest party - he adds.

  69. Tim Reid, BBC political correspondent

    @TimReidBBC

    tweets: LD Mike Moore says any loose arrangement rather than coalition between Lab/SNP could damage stable govt in the UK

  70. Guardian poll

    What does the electorate think of the prospect of the SNP playing a role in a future UK government? The Guardian is carrying results of a poll which suggests many are none too enthused. According to their UK-wide figures, 43% of voters say they would be "worried about a separatist party deciding who runs the UK". Just 14% feel enthusiastic about "a different party shaking things up at Westminster". More here.

  71. Hidden cameras

    Electoral Commission advert

    The Electoral Commission says it has turned to "behavioural economics" to try to persuade people to register to vote at the general election. An advert shows people being stopped from doing things they thought they were able to do, like walking through a park and pouring ketchup on their food. The advert, partly filmed with hidden cameras, is to highlight the 20 April deadline to register to vote.

  72. Brian Taylor on Labour/SNP

    BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor has been looking at the reasons for Ed Miliband ruling out a formal coalition with the SNP after 7 May. He writes :"The Conservatives have been making apparent strides with their campaign to posit circumstances where Mr Miliband would be reliant upon SNP support to remain in power... Voters in England, it would appear, were disquieted by such a prospect in sufficient numbers to oblige Mr Miliband to issue a statement." More on his blog.

  73. Michael Crick, political correspondent, Channel 4 News

    @MichaelLCrick

    tweets: Halifax MP Linda Riordan has written to Lab general secretary alleging "underhand and anti-democratic manipulation" in Halifax selection

  74. Standard cigarette packaging

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Over in the Lords, the Conservative peer Lord Naseby, who says he's never smoked and has no financial investment in the tobacco industry, argues that the facts on standardised packaging "are not as the frontbench are claiming".

    Smoking amongst young people in Australia, which has had standardised packaging since 2012, is currently at a seven-year high, he said.

  75. Labour's Halifax candidate

    Karie Murphy

    Karie Murphy has been told she's not on a party shortlist of candidates for the Halifax seat in West Yorkshire. Ms Murphy, above, decided not to stand as Labour's candidate in Falkirk in 2013 over allegations that the Unite union tried to manipulate the selection process in her favour. The union and Ms Murphy were both subsequently cleared of any wrong-doing. Now, she says she's not on a shortlist drawn up by a Labour panel for Halifax.

    She says: "I am disappointed that the Labour Party advised the media of my exclusion from the selection list more than three hours before they informed me. It is a credit that the shortlist is made up of so many local woman, this is a new and welcome precedent for the Labour Party but it's regrettable that it wasn't applied more rigorously in the past."

  76. Young engagement

    Only 13% of 11- to 16-year-olds say they would cast their ballot at a general election if they were given the vote, according to a survey by Ipsos Mori for the National Children's Bureau. The two organisations are highlighting more findings from research first published last year. They say other polls suggest 28% of 18-24 year-olds would vote, compared to 60% of middle-aged people.

  77. 'Logical inconsistencies'

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Alex Massie, over on The Spectator, has been taking a look at Nicola Sturgeon's speech in London earlier. He writes her suggestion people in England should consider backing the Greens makes a Labour government less likely, despite the SNP leader saying the SNP could help keep the Conservatives out of Downing Street. And he adds: "On the one hand the SNP stress the importance of kicking the Tories out of power; on the other they say that Labour and the Tories are just the same. They assume - correctly, I think - that few people will be exercised by the logical inconsistencies in this approach." More here.

  78. Lord Ashcroft poll

    Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative peer and pollster, writes on Conservative Home website that his latest survey shows "a lower vote share for both main parties".

  79. Corruption investigation

    Yvette Cooper

    Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has called for a full independent investigation into allegations of corruption relating to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate claims that officers covered up evidence that politicians and police were involved in sexual abuse of children. Ms Cooper said: "Given the gravity of the crimes being investigated, it is worrying that this is not a fully independent investigation.

    "For too long the voices of abused children have been ignored and the crimes against them have gone un-investigated. In too many cases, people in a position to protect children failed to act and let them down. In the worst cases, there were attempts to undermine or discredit children reporting abuse."

  80. SNP deal still on the table?

    On the Telegraph website, Euan McColm has been looking Ed Miliband's comments on a coalition with the SNP. He highlights that it is a formal coalition that has been ruled out - but says the nationalists could still play an important role after the election. He writes: "There may be no SNP ministers in a future Labour-led Government but, should Miliband require the party's support to pass legislation, the quid pro quo would be further concessions to the nationalists.". More here.

  81. Second jobs

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Heidi Alexander MP

    In the Commons, Labour MP Heidi Alexander asks about Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps - a former housing minister - who said he "screwed up" in a recent interview when he suggested he never had a "second job" while an MP. She asks Eric Pickles whether he is "satisfied that this did not happen while the honourable member served as a minister is his department".

    The Speaker intervenes to tell the House that it is "not the responsibility of the secretary of state to answer". The ministerial code is the responsibility of the prime minister, he says.

  82. Signing in

    Good afternoon from Nick Eardley and Angela Harrison. We're taking over the Live Page for the rest of the day. Here's a brief recap of where we're at so far on Monday:

    • Ed Miliband has ruled out Labour going in to formal coalition with the Scottish National Party after the election, but he hasn't ruled out a looser deal
    • Nicola Strugeon has told an audience in London the SNP could help overhaul the UK's "crumbling" institutions
    • Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps admitted he "screwed up" when he suggested he never had a "second job" while an MP
    • Mr Shapps admitted he had "over firmly" denied continuing his work as a web marketing expert after being elected in 2005
    • UKIP has been added to the list of parties entitled to at least two party election broadcasts, Ofcom has said, but the Greens have not
    • A "radical" review of the business rates system in England has been launched, with its findings due in time for the Budget in 2016

    We'll be with you until midnight, with updates on all the latest political news and analysis.

  83. Lord Ashcroft, Tory peer and pollster

    @LordAshcroft

    tweets: Ashcroft National Poll, 13-15 March: CON 31%, LAB 29%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 15%, GRN 8%. Full details on @ConHome, 4pm.

  84. Significant announcement?

    New Statesman

    Over on the New Statesman website, George Eaton has been looking at the meaning of today's announcement by Ed Miliband that he would not enter into a formal coalition with the SNP. He suggests it might not be as significant as it first appears, writing: "The SNP has long made it clear that it does not want a formal coalition with Labour and is instead seeking a confidence and supply arrangement... It is this option that Miliband has conspicuously failed to rule out - and wisely so." More here.

  85. SNP calling for "progressive change"

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Stewart Hosie

    The general election is not about Scottish independence, but the SNP is calling for "progressive change" over austerity, the NHS and Trident policy, says its deputy leader.

    Stewart Hosie said his party was "being open and upfront" about its policies, and May's poll was about "holding Westminster's feet to the fire".

    He told Jo Coburn on the Daily Politics that a formal coalition with Labour was the "least likely outcome". Watch the interview

  86. Migration

    House of Lords

    Parliament

    Founder and Chairman of Migration Watch UK, Lord Green of Deddington, uses his first intervention in the House of Lords to warn that if net migration is allowed to continue at the present rate for "the next 10 years we will need to build the equivalent of the city of Birmingham every two years".

    Home Affairs Minster Lord Bates questions Lord Green's figures but agrees that there needs to be a "firm but fair immigration policy to protect the public services of this country and provide opportunities to those who want to come here to work".

  87. SNP on Labour pact

    As The Scotsman reported in December, the former SNP leader and ex-first minister Alex Salmond has previsouly talked about supporting Labour on a "vote-by-vote" basis. He also said a formal deal was "unlikely".

  88. Tim Reid, BBC political correspondent

    @TimReidBBC

    tweets: Lab's Tom Harris "relieved that coalition has been ruled out" but would object to any arrangement that makes concessions in gov to SNP

  89. Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor

    @BBCNormanS

    tweets: Scottish Labour leader @jimmurphymp says Scots will punish @thesnp if they brought down a Labour GovtScottish Labour leader @jimmurphymp says Scots will punish @thesnp if they brought down a Labour Govt

  90. 'Recognition of what everybody knows'

    UKIP's chairman Steve Crowther welcomed the earlier announcement by telecoms regulator Ofcom that UKIP is now listed as a "major party" - meaning it is entitled to a minimum of two party broadcasts under election broadcasting rules.

    "The fact that UKIP was the victor in the last two by-elections, in the European elections last year, whilst maintaining its regular polling in the high teens and is considerably ahead of the Liberal Democrats, and in many parts of the country is supported by a quarter of the electorate or more, means that this is simply a recognition of what everybody knows," Mr Crowther said.

  91. Sturgeon on non-coalition

    Nicola Sturgeon

    SNP leader and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has issued a statement on today's announcement by Ed Miliband that he wouldn't go into formal coalition with the SNP.

    She says: "This was a lot of hype to rule out something no one was proposing. Mr Miliband's statement is absolutely fine from our point of view, because formal coalition with seats in the UK government has never been our preference anyway.

    "But Ed Miliband does himself no good in trying to second guess the electorate in Scotland and pre-determine the election outcome - the people will have their say on 7 May, and the job of politicians is to take their cue from the electorate."

  92. Clanking chains from the political grave

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Michael Brown

    A former MP described how he felt like he had died and was "clanking my chains from the political grave" whenever he left his home after losing his seat. Michael Brown, who was a Conservative MP from 1979 to 1997, recalled how he knew for several years that he was going to lose his Brigg and Cleethorpes seat. Mr Brown spoke to Jo Coburn about his financial planning to cover his life after Westminster, and reports of MPs being offered counselling to cope with loss of office. Watch the interview

  93. Police corruption investigation

    The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate numerous allegations of corruption by Scotland Yard, relating to child sex offences from the 1970s to the 2000s. The inquiry will examine claims that officers covered up evidence that politicians and police were involved in paedophile activity. The police watchdog said the claims were of "high-level corruption of the most serious nature"

  94. 'Never-ending speculation'

    During his Q&A session earlier Labour leader Ed Miliband was asked again by an audience member about a potential alliance with the SNP. He said: "I couldn't be clearer about this. I am ruling out a coalition government with the SNP. I am not going to start getting into never-ending speculation about how other parties might vote on a Labour Queen's Speech. And I also want to emphasise this point - I want a majority Labour government. I am working for a majority Labour government."

    Interestingly in December 2014, the then leader of the SNP Alex Salmond said his party would would back a future UK Labour government on a "vote by vote" basis but appeared to rule out a formal coalition with Ed Miliband's party.

  95. Labour SNP

    Norman Smith

    BBC Assistant Political Editor

    The BBC's assistant political editor says Ed Miliband's announcement that Labour will not form a coalition with the SNP, "leaves options open" and that far from assuaging concerns of some voters, it "flags up the fact that Labour might still have to rely on SNP support". He adds that Downing Street perceive Labour has "real vulnerability" on this and "do not believe Ed Miliband has done enough to close down this issue".

  96. Osborne 'will win election' for PM

    Peter Bingle has written a piece on TotalPolitics.com in which he predicts that "it is George Osborne who will win the election for David Cameron". He goes on to praise the chancellor as "the best brain in modern British politics".

  97. State school ban

    The Guardian

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage says the children of new immigrants coming to Britain should not immediately be allowed to attend state schools. The UKIP website says they should be banned from doing so for five years. Mr Farage said it wasn't a manifesto commitment, but his personal view was that dependants of new immigrants shouldn't be allowed to enter the UK straight away.

  98. Guido Fawkes, political blogger

    @GuidoFawkes

    tweets: Message from party HQs is that nobody is forming a coalition with anyone. Given nobody is going to get a majority voters know that's untrue.

  99. Miliband on the NHS

    Ed Miliband's still in full flow at his People's Question Time. Privatisation of the NHS would be an "absolute disaster", but a "hospital is only as good as the services in the community", he said. If there is not an adequate number of GPs "people end up in hospital and the pressure on A&E becomes unbearable". He said the future of the NHS lies with integrating services and getting people the help they need at home before hospital.

  100. James Tapsfield, Press Association

    @JamesTapsfield

    tweets: Tories insist Miliband's SNP comments "change nothing" - but the Labour position looks much more politically rational now

  101. Conservatives on Miliband-SNP

    A Conservative Party spokesman said: "This changes nothing. Ed Miliband will not rule out a deal with the SNP because he knows it's impossible to become prime minister without being carried into Downing Street in Alex Salmond's pocket.

    "There have been over 1,200 votes in this parliament. Vote by vote, bill by bill, issue by issue, Ed Miliband would have to do a deal with the SNP on each and every one of them. Who knows what Ed Miliband will sell out to Alex Salmond on: more borrowing, more debt, higher taxes or weaker defences. But one thing's for certain: it's hardworking taxpayers who will pay the price for this chaos."

  102. Matthew Holehouse, political correspondent, Daily Telegraph

    @mattholehouse

    tweets: Nicola Sturgeon on Miliband: "He simply ruled out a formal coalition - something the SNP made clear was not our preference anyway."

  103. Miliband on mental health

    "I'm classed as a scrounger by the Tory press," says a former soldier from the audience who admits he has suffered with mental health problems. "Well, you'll never be classed as a scrounger by me," Miliband replies. He adds: "Thank you for the service you provided our country, and thank you for raising the issue of mental health." He says that under a Labour government he would "make sure the services are there", and make more of a priority of child and adolescent mental health issues. "Mental health is not just a health services issue, but it's about the actual reception you get for having had a mental health problem by the rest of society."

    Mental health appears to be becoming a campaign battleground. It was also mentioned at length during Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg's speech at his party's spring conference yesterday.

  104. Harry Cole, contributing editor of the Spectator

    @MrHarryCole

    tweets: so much bad blood between Cameron and former Tories turned Kippers it won't be tough to rule out a kip deal.

  105. Miliband Q&A

    "Let's engage young people about the difference we can make to them," Ed Miliband says in response to a question about allowing 16-year-olds to vote. He tells his People's Question Time in Leeds that such a move would "force" government to improve what it offers young people. He also says education is not just academic it should be a "life education".

  106. 'No wrongdoing'

    BBC Radio 4

    Stewart Jackson, Conservative MP, speaks to the World at One about Grant Shapps. "He stumbled in an interview about the precise date he ceased to have a business interest. But let's be clear, there was no wrongdoing," he says. Mr Jackson adds that "there's nothing new in the story". "This is low politics from the Guardian and Labour," he goes on. He says he doesn't think there's concern about MPs having second jobs "if people are transparent" about them.

  107. Analysis: Miliband announcement

    James Landale

    Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    Two things have driven this announcement. One is internal pressure from Labour MPs in Scotland and England who say that unless a coalition is ruled out, they'll continue to be put in a very difficult position on the doorsteps. Secondly, it's the relentlessness of the Conservative campaign. They've published attack ads, led on the issue in prime minister's questions. That has, anecdotally at least, begun to bite in some constituencies. But Ed Miliband has only ruled out coalition - something that's unlikely to happen anyway. He hasn't ruled out any looser arrangement or pact.

  108. Laura Kuenssberg, chief correspondent and presenter of Newsnight

    @bbclaurak

    tweets: Difficulty for Ed M is that no-one really talking about an actual coalition btw the 2, he can't/hasn't/won't rule out relying on SNP support

  109. Post update

    Ed Miliband says Labour will not go into coalition government with the SNP. "There will be no SNP ministers in any government I lead," he adds.

  110. Five pledges

    Ed Miliband

    The Labour leader is running through his five election pledges, as announced at the weekend. He waves the pledge card - joking that it's not quite a John Prescott moment - and urges those listening "to talk their friends and family" about those promises.

  111. 'Different visions'

    Ed Miliband has just started speaking. This election is not simply a choice between leaders or parties, but between different visions of our country, he tells the audience in Leeds.

  112. Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome.com

    @paulwaugh

    tweets: Mixed day in the polls/predictions for Team Ed. MORI has 9% Lab lead (39-30). But Kellner spells gloom

  113. Miliband Q&A

    Ed Miliband

    We're expecting to hear from Ed Miliband shortly at his latest People's Question Time event. Here he is being introduced on stage now.

  114. Mike Smithson, polling analyst

    @MSmithsonPB

    tweets: Ipsos-MORI/Standard poll finds only 30% saying they like EdM but 52% like LAB. 39% say they like Cameron but only 32% like his party

  115. Angus MacNeil, SNP MP

    @AngusMacNeilMP

    tweets: Coalition not needed -replacing SNP MPs for Lab MPs does not affect PM arithmetic, but saves Scotland gambling with Lab for "Vow" progress

  116. Kenny Farquharson, deputy editor, the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday

    @KennyFarq

    tweets: Sturgeon getting herself into a terrible mess today. You either want a Labour UK govt or you don't.

  117. Lib Dems on Shapps

    Liberal Democrat campaign spokesman Lord Paddick said: "Grant Shapps has serious questions to answer and he must come clean about the use of his Michael Green alter-ego during his time in Parliament.... politicians are perfectly entitled to have outside interests but they must be open about them." You can read the news story about Grant Shapps, with all the background in it here.

  118. 'Don't mention the Tories'

    Gavin Barwell

    Gavin Barwell, the Conservative MP fighting to hold onto the marginal seat of Croydon Central, has had a bit of a Basil Fawlty "don't mention the war" moment, according to the London Evening Standard. The paper says he was asking local people to sign letters to friends and neighbours endorsing his re-election, and urged them: "I'm not asking you to write a political letter - in fact, it'll be much more effective if it doesn't mention the Conservative Party or David Cameron."

  119. Alex Salmond's next job?

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    "I think the last thing the ex-first minister would want to do is lead the Westminster group," says the SNP's Stewart Hosie. That was his response to a question from the Daily Politics about Alex Salmond's future.

  120. 'Final nail' warning

    BBC News Channel

    "It's for Ed Miliband to make his own decisions," Nicola Sturgeon says, but adds that she's already said a formal coalition is very unlikely, "so ruling that out doesn't change very much". But, she goes on, "Why would you want to turn your back on working with the SNP if the SNP and Labour could lock the Conservatives out of Downing Street?" If Ed Miliband ruled out any sort of co-operation with the SNP, it would be "the final nail in Labour's coffin in Scotland", she adds.

  121. Populus polls

    @PopulusPolls

    tweets: Latest Populus VI: Lab 34 (+2), Con 34 (+5), LD 8 (-), UKIP 15 (-3), Greens 5 (-1), Others 5 (-2). Tables here.

  122. Pic: Gandhi statue in Parliament Square

    A Statue Of Mahatma Gandhi Is Unveiled In Parliament Square
  123. Campaign countdown

    BBC News Channel

    James Forsyth from the Spectator and James Bloodworth from Left Foot Forward will be on Campaign Countdown Review at 12:30 GMT on the BBC News Channel. They'll be discussing the rumour-mill ahead of this week's crunch Budget... and the fallout from Ed Miliband's "kitchen-gate".

  124. Plain packaged cigarettes

    The final plain packaging vote, in the House of Lords, is due to take place today. MPs in the Commons voted in favour of introducing standardised packaging for cigarettes in the UK last Wednesday with 367 MPs in favour and 113 against it in a free vote. If the Lords approve it, it means from 2016 every packet will look the same except for the make and brand name, with graphic photos accompanying health warnings

  125. How would Sturgeon vote?

    Nicola Sturgeon says that if she lived in Wales she would vote for Plaid Cymru and if she lived in England she would vote for the Greens. She then adds: "I would like to see more progressive Labour voices challenging the Labour leadership." She later quips: "But if you live in Scotland I would definitely vote SNP."

  126. Pic: The Daily Politics line up

    Daily Politics
  127. Sturgeon on TTIP

    Sturgeon also answers a question on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). She said that she was "not against trade agreements in principle". However she said she would oppose any such deal which allowed companies to sue national governments. "I don't believe that is the right kind of thing to include," she says.

  128. Sturgeon answers again on SNP/Labour deal

    Nicola Sturgeon answers another question on a potential Labour/SNP deal. She says: "I have set out very clearly what my general approach is to the possibility of a hung parliament and how SNP would approach that. I am not for pre-election negotiations or deals.... I think that starts to get to the point where you start to treat the voters with contempt."

  129. Scotland's free tuition fees

    In answer to a question on Scotland's free tuition fee policy for university students Ms Sturgeon says she thinks it is "sustainable". She went on to explain that she was a "working class girl" and had the opportunity to go to university to study law, and says that the education she received was one of the reasons she was "standing here today". "Having had that opportunity, I have no right to take that opportunity away from other people". She said she believes in a person's "ability to learn" rather than their "ability to pay".

  130. Labour/SNP deal

    Nicola Sturgeon says a coalition with Labour is "unlikely", but on a "looser arrangement" she would be prepared to work with Labour. She said that she has heard Ed Miliband is set to rule out a coalition later today.

  131. 'Moderate approach' - Sturgeon

    In her speech SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says: "We have clear and constructive views on many aspects of UK policy which affect Scotland deeply - views which we know are often shared by many people elsewhere in the UK. We intend to bring those ideas forward in a positive spirit. We will argue for a moderate approach to deficit reduction - one which doesn't penalise the vulnerable and harm economic growth."

  132. Coming up from 1200

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Stewart Hosie

    On Monday's Daily Politics, Jo Coburn is joined by a panel of parliamentary candidates: Conservative Nusrat Ghani, Labour's Sarah Sackman, Lib Dem Julia Goldsworthy and the Green Party's Darren Hall - to discuss political stories from Westminster. They will crunch the numbers over what might happen in the event of a hung parliament, as the SNP's Stewart Hosie will join in after Nicola Sturgeon's speech in London where she talks of "positive change across the UK". And they will debate the news that Conservative chairman Grant Shapps continued his writing career for a short time after becoming an MP.

    Desktop viewers can watch live from 12:00 to 12:00 GMT, or later, via the Live Coverage tab above.

  133. No to Trident

    The SNP leader says she "morally" disagrees with the Trident nuclear weapons system and says it "places huge pressure on spending" more widely by government. Furthermore, she says, it's "impossible to imagine" a scenario in which it would be used. Nicola Sturgeon says the money spent on Trident should instead be spent on the NHS, education and other public services. 'We're buying a status symbol in place of a strategy," she adds.

  134. 'Incentives to work'

    Nicola Sturgeon urges George Osborne to include a "significant increase in work allowance" to "genuinely improve incentives to work" in his Budget, and to help those families who are working and yet still living in poverty.

  135. UKIP welcomes Ofcom ruling

    Nigel Farage

    Reacting to Ofcom's statement on party election broadcasts, UKIP chairman Steve Crowther said: "I am pleased to hear the ruling confirming that UKIP is now recognised as a major party. The fact that UKIP was the victor in the last two by-elections, in the European elections last year, whilst maintaining its regular polling in the high teens and is considerably ahead of the Liberal Democrats, and in many parts of the country is supported by a quarter of the electorate or more, means that this is simply a recognition of what everybody knows."

  136. Elizabeth Lloyd, chief of staff to Nicola Sturgeon

    @eliz_lloyd

    tweets: Nicola Sturgeon tells a packed LSE how minority govt can be good govt #lsescotland #ge15

    Nicola Sturgeon addressing the LSE
  137. 'Westminster at its worst'

    "The current UK Budget process simply does not lead to the best decisions and has all the hallmarks of Westminster culture at its worst," Nicola Sturgeon continues. "It seems to make poor decisions more likely," she says and refers to 2012's Budget, which was labelled an "omni-shambles" by critics. She called for more transparency and said that "better consultation" leads to "better decisions and proper scrutiny".

  138. Joe Churcher, Press Association chief political correspondent

    @JoeChurcher

    tweets: Period of minority government after the general election could have "many benefits", Sturgeon suggests, including more consensual decisions.

  139. 'No time for scrutiny'

    The way Budgets are presented these days leaves "virtually no time for proper deliberation or consultation," Nicola Sturgeon remarks. She says that's a Westminster tradition which dates back to the 17th Century and needs to be "overhauled". It is "closed, top-down and unnecessarily adversarial", she adds.

  140. Tim Reid, BBC political correspondent

    @TimReidBBC

    tweets: Scotland FM Nicola Sturgeon piling more pressure on Lab re coalition deals post #ge2015 tackling minority gov issues in #lsescotland speech

  141. Sturgeon speech

    "A lack of consultation characterises UK Budget making," says Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. She is giving a lecture at the London School of Economics, ahead of George Osborne's Budget on Wednesday.

  142. More on Ofcom ruling

    Bit more detail on Ofcom's statement. The parties considered "major" are entitled to a minimum of two party broadcasts. They are:

    • In Great Britain, the Conservative Party; the Labour Party; and the Liberal Democrats
    • In Scotland, the Scottish National Party
    • In Wales, Plaid Cymru
    • In Northern Ireland, the Alliance Party; the Democratic Unionist Party; Sinn Fein; the Social Democratic and Labour Party; and the Ulster Unionist Party
    • In England and Wales, UKIP.

    However, broadcasters must also offer a minimum of one party election broadcast to other parties standing candidates in at least one sixth of seats at the general election - such as the Green Party.

  143. David Maddox, political reporter at the Scotsman

    @DavidPBMaddox

    tweets: #SNP and @NicolaSturgeon still a big draw in London...another packed hall at #LSE to hear her speak

  144. Ofcom ruling on major parties

    Green Party leader Natalie Bennett

    Telecoms regulator Ofcom has released a statement confirming that UKIP is to be considered as a "major party", and as a result will be entitled to a minimum of two party election broadcasts. The Green Party, however, has not made the cut. A spokesman for Ofcom said: "Ofcom has decided that it would not be appropriate to add the Green Party or the Scottish Green Party to the list of major parties on this occasion." The regulator had previously suggested this would be its outcome, but is today confirming its position.

  145. 'Absolutely crucial'

    One of the political stories doing the rounds this morning is the Treasury's announcement that there is to be a review of the business rates system in England. The British Retail Consortium's director general Helen Dickinson has welcomed the move, saying the system "acts as a major drag on our economy while punishing our local high street". She said: "With cross-party political support for a fundamental review of business rates I'm confident that we can bring about badly needed change, and in doing so securing the investment, jobs and growth that have been held back by the burden of this pernicious tax."

  146. Mark Sweney, media business correspondent at the Guardian

    @marksweney

    tweets: Ofcom consultation: Ukip qualifies as major party (2 party election broadcasts), Greens don't

  147. YouGov, polling firm

    tweets: Peter Kellner's latest election prediction

    YouGov election predication 16 March
  148. We do not want a SNP coalition - Labour

    Daily Record

    In the Daily Record today, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander doesn't rule out a Labour coalition with the SNP, but says his party doesn't "want" one. He writes: "The SNP have already said they don't want a coalition with Labour. As Labour, we don't want a coalition with the SNP. The coalition we want is with working people across Britain to change who our economy works for."

  149. Tuition fee policy will 'harm working classes'

    The Daily Telegraph

    Labour's biggest individual donor's has criticised the party's tuition fee policy and said it will harm the "working classes". John Mills says the plan to cut fees to £6,000 a year - from the current £9,000 - will destabilise British universities and disadvantage "working class children". John Mills told The Daily Telegraph there are "redistributive problems" with the idea and warned the policy could hurt Labour's economic credibility.

  150. Rowena Mason, political correspondent at the Guardian

    @rowenamason

    tweets: If Farage saying he couldn't be Ukip leader without seat in Commons, doesn't that narrow choice of successor to MPs? Carswell, Reckless or...?

  151. Norman Smith, BBC's assistant political editor

    @BBCNormanS

    tweets: SNP sources say SNP MPs will not be "a wrecking ball" at Westminster

  152. 'Tough to be a woman in politics'

    Nicola Sturgeon alongside a portrait of herself

    A bit more from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's interview earlier with ITV's Lorraine Kelly. Asked if it was harder to be a woman in politics than a man, she said: "It is to some extent. Some of the things that are said about women in politics, the way you are characterised, the way you are described, the focus on how you look and what you wear... it is tough." She attacked the Sun newspaper's mock up of her as Miley Cyrus riding a wrecking ball. "That's sexist, there's no doubt about it," she told the breakfast television programme. The SNP leader said the elevation of several women to top positions in Holyrood represents "big progress".

  153. Patrick Wintour, political editor of the guardian

    @patrickwintour

    tweets: Lib Dems vacate ministerial post in foreign office, give Tim Farron party foreign affairs brief late and then brief he is ignorant. Sweet.

  154. 'No real point'

    The Times

    A leader column in today's Times contemplates the future role of the Liberal Democrats, and slates Tim Farron's advice for his party as "spectacularly wrong". Mr Farron hinted at the weekend that the his party should not repeat the decision to form a coalition with the Tories. The Times says that if the Lib Dems were to take this view, "there is, after all, no real point to the Liberal Democrats".

  155. Andrew Neil, BBC Daily Politics presenter

    @afneil

    tweets: Latest Poll of Polls: Lab: 34%, Tories: 32%, UKIP 15%, Lib Dems 8%, Greens 6% (YouGov, ComRes, MORI, ICM, Angus Reid, Populus)

  156. More support for Welsh teachers

    In other news, teachers in Wales are to be given more support to develop their careers and improve teaching in the classroom. The so-called New Deal will help them to deliver the new "made in Wales curriculum". Each of Wales' 37,600 teachers will be given a learning passport by September to record professional development. Education Minister Huw Lewis said having "high capacity, high skilled professionals" was essential.

  157. Stormont crisis: 'No new money for welfare deal'

    Northern Ireland's Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has said no additional money can be allocated to resolve the current impasse over welfare reform. Talks aimed at resolving the stalemate over new welfare legislation are expected to resume at Stormont later. Sinn Féin withdrew its support for the bill last week. Read the full story here.

  158. 'Progressive alliances'- Sturgeon

    Nicola Sturgeon

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shares a sofa with ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly and says she is "really keen to build progressive alliances across the rest of the UK". This echoes the message of the speech she'll be giving later. On a personal note she says that "politics does come at a cost... you don't see as much of your family as you would like to see".

  159. Matt Chorley, political editor, Mail Online

    @MattChorley

    Nicola Sturgeon tells @reallorraine it would be an "odd move" if Labour ruled out working with SNP to keep the Tories out

  160. 'Two very different perspectives'

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    Danny Alexander

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander says his time in office has been one of "two politicians with very different perspectives, philosophies and ideas" - the other politician, of course, being George Osborne. But he told Radio 4's Today programme he thought "the Treasury has been an area where the coalition has worked well... strong job creation, and that's something I am very proud of". Nevertheless, he says the Tories have got their priorities wrong for the next parliament and are offering cuts which are too severe.

  161. 'Merely a hangover'

    Norman Smith

    BBC Assistant Political Editor

    Grant Shapps has just told me, 'I screwed up on the dates.' He says he simply got the dates when he was still working as Michael Green wrong. His view is also that he didn't regard that position really as much of a second job - it was merely a hangover from his life before he was an MP. But Labour say this is serious. They are set to demand an investigation by the parliamentary commissioner for standards.

  162. 'Wrong job, wrong man'

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    Oliver Miles, the former British Ambassador to Tripoli told Radio 4's Today programme Tony Blair should stand down as an envoy for the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators. "I am told that he has achieved something trying to develop the Palestinian economy," he said. When pressed by presenter John Humphrys that Mr Blair might be given a "wider role", Mr Miles said: "He is a convenient excuse for doing nothing... Tony Blair has achieved very, very little." He is the "wrong man in the wrong job," he added.

  163. Norman Smith, BBC's assistant political editor

    @BBCNormanS

    tweets: Tory sources say @grantshapps did not regard post as "a second job" - as company was being wound up and more "a hobby on the side"

  164. Norman Smith, BBC's assistant political editor

    @BBCNormanS

    tweets: Tory chairman @grantshapps - "I screwed up" over dates of second job in @lbc interview

  165. Norman Smith, BBC's assistant political editor

    @BBCNormanS

    Tweets: Tory chairman @grantshapps says he "over firmly" denied having second job on @LBC

  166. John Ashworth, Labour MP

    @JohnAshworth

    Tweets: Hilarious by top Tories like Hunt claiming Lab/BBC/Guard anti-business re Shapps. Nope Shapps caught red-handed re his Michael Green claims

  167. Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor

    @Kevin_Maguire

    tweets: Trevor Phillips wrong about Benedict Cumberbatch. He was not "buried". Widely accepted as innocent error without prejudice #r4today

  168. James Cook, BBC's Scotland correspondent

    @BBCJamesCook

    Tweets: Poll: 53% in Scotland want another independence referendum within a decade. Another 22% want one eventually #indyref

  169. Race issues

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    Trevor Phillips

    "We are too shy to talk about some of the issues," Trevor Phillips tells BBC's Radio 4's Today programme on the subject of race. He makes reference to the furore that surrounded actor Benedict Cumberbatch when he described black people as "coloured". Mr Phillips says that actually Mr Cumberbatch was trying to make an important point about the prominence of black actors on the screen and instead his main sentiment was lost in the way the story was reported, which ended up being all about his use of an outdated word. Trevor Phillps is a former chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality and has made a Channel 4 documentary entitled "Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True".

  170. Hunt defends Shapps

    Health Secretary and fellow Conservative Jeremy Hunt has leapt to Grant Shapps' defence. A short time ago he tweeted: "Unbelievable Lab/Guard/BBC attack on @grantshapps. His sin not 2 use pseudonym but 2 write books about how 2 create wealth - shock horror..."

  171. James Chapman, Daily Mail political editor

    @jameschappers

    tweets: Farage's pledge to quit as Ukip leader if he loses in South Thanet presents a tempting tactical voting target for other parties

  172. 'Irreparable harm'

    The Mirror

    In the run up to Wednesday's Budget, Mirror columnist Kevin Maguire says the chancellor could give the dodgiest of used car dealers some lessons on how to cheat and deceive the public. He writes: "He crashed the recovery in 2010, causing irreparable harm, slashed living standards, put up taxes and borrowed more in five years than Labour did in 13."

  173. Jim Pickard, chief political correspondent for the Financial Times

    @PickardJE

    tweets: Ministers offer a review of biz rates to help struggling companies: but they've delayed a revaluation - the one thing that would've helped.

  174. Blair 'stepping back'

    Tony Blair

    The suggestion that Tony Blair's future as envoy for the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators is to come to an end is the lead for today's Financial Times. The FT says the former prime minister is preparing to step back after eight years as he recognises that a "frontline role is no longer tenable". It says there is "deep unease" in the US and Washington over Mr Blair's poor relations with senior Palestinian Authority figures, as well as his sprawling business interests. If he does stand aside or take an informal position, it would end the controversial arrangement that has made him a fixture of Middle East diplomacy while conducting private business with some governments in the region, adds the FT.

  175. Steve Hawkes, deputy political editor, the Sun

    @steve_hawkes

    tweets: Biggest business rate review for 30 years to be announced in the Budget. Morrisons already vows to pass on savings Read more

  176. Farage 'will resign if he doesn't win'

    Nigel Farage

    In other news, Nigel Farage's new book continues to be serialised in the Daily Telegraph. In today's extracts the UKIP leader says he'll resign if he does not win the seat he is fighting for in South Thanet. "I will have made UKIP an electable party; made British political history by beating both the Conservatives and Labour in a national election [the European elections in May 2014] for the first time since 1906; and steered the party to get its first seats in Westminster. But I could also be the only party leader to not have a seat there himself," he writes.

  177. Labour 'extinct within a decade'

    The Daily Telegraph

    Interesting piece in the Daily Telegraph today in which one of Ed Miliband's closest advisers suggests the Labour Party could be "extinct within a decade". Jon Cruddas, Labour's policy co-ordinator, said the 115-year old party could simply "disintegrate in real time".

  178. 'Old story'

    Grant Shapps tweeted his own response to the story about his business interests last night. "Old story: all properly declared at the time and all many years ago. Labour just hate business."

  179. Business rates 'hurting'

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    Adam Marshall, executive director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, says the business rates system is "simply not working". Values were last reviewed six years ago - before the depths of the recession - and urgently need attention. "Companies say their valuations aren't fair and it's hurting them," he told Today. Mr Marshall said companies were putting off hiring staff and investing in growth because of the punishing rates. He also said business rates were on course to take over from council tax as the main funder of local services - something that didn't seem right.

  180. Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator

    @FraserNelson

    tweets: William Wallace only got as far as Carlisle. Nicola Sturgeon heading for Westminster ("we'll help bring positive change across UK as well").

  181. 'Shapps should go' - Labour MP

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    John Mann

    Labour's John Mann says Grant Shapps should stand down as minister without portfolio. Mr Mann told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Well, he has got a big problem because like all of us he has signed up to the Nolan principles of standards in public life." Mr Mann said he had signed up to the principles of "openness, accountability honesty and integrity". Pressed by presenter John Humphreys that Grant Shapps did declare his interests in the House of Commons, Mr Mann insisted he had breached the principle of "openness and honesty... he didn't say at the time that he was operating in this way".

  182. James Tapsfield, Press Association

    @JamesTapsfield

    tweets: HMRC chief Lin Homer back before Public Accts Committee yet again today. Seems to spend most of her working life getting Hodged

  183. Plaid Cymru leader

    Leanne Wood

    Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has said that the main political parties are like "unwelcoming, boys-only clubs". She told Good Morning Britain: "There was a sense of entitlement among politicians who were overwhelmingly male of a certain age and of a certain attitude."

    She also told ITV her party would co-operate with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament, and that there were "other alternatives to austerity".

  184. Robin Walker, Conservative MP

    @RobinWalkerMP

    tweets: V glad that serious review of #businessrates has been launched today - something I & @CommonsBIS have been calling for for some years

  185. MPs 'terrified of discussing race issues'

    Trevor Phillips

    Politicians and the media have become "terrified" of discussing race issues, and multiculturalism has become a "racket", according to Trevor Phillips, former chairman of the predecessor to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He says some ethnic groups have become "isolated" and politicians' unwillingness to address the issue has led to the rise of "angry, nativist political movements". His comments come ahead of his documentary, called Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True, being aired on Channel 4. The programme has already hit the headlines after UKIP leader Nigel Farage intimated he wanted to scrap race discrimination legislation.

  186. Al Murray 'patronising' voters - Farage

    Al Murray

    Nigel Farage has accused his rival Al Murray - running in South Thanet in his comedy guise as the Pub Landlord for the newly-formed Free United Kingdom Party (FUKP) - of "patronising" voters. He told the Daily Star: "Clearly it's all been a bit of a stunt and we understand that. I think the attitude and his comedy act will be taken by a lot of people in this part of the world as slightly patronising. He's really laughing at them and I think the joke is starting to wear a bit thin. I don't think the failure to parachute is the relevant bit. His failure to answer the question as to why he is here and what he is doing is more important. I very much doubt he will be on the ballot paper."

  187. Alexander on debates

    Danny Alexander

    Ed Balls took George Osborne by surprise yesterday on the Andrew Marr Show, getting him to commit - with a handshake no less - to a pre-election debate between the two of them. Mr Osborne did say, though, that his Lib Dem deputy would probably also want to take part and he was right. Danny Alexander told BBC Radio 5 Live's Wake up to Money this morning that the chancellors' debates involved representatives from all three big parties in 2010 and "should take place on exactly the same basis" this time. "I'm looking forward to the challenge," the chief secretary to the Treasury said. "As someone who has been right at the centre of economic policy making for the last five years I've got a record to defend. I've got ideas for the future that are very different from Labour ands the Conservatives."

  188. 'Potential to damage'

    Norman Smith

    BBC Assistant Political Editor

    I think this does have the potential to damage Grant Shapps. The Tories are looking to play the whole issue surrounding Mr Shapps' business interests down, but they may be pushing it a bit. Mr Shapps has, for whatever reason, repeatedly denied having such interests while being an MP. There was no need for him to deny having a second job - there's nothing wrong with that. But Mr Shapps is the party chairman and the face of the party's election campaign, and therefore these things matter more. Downing Street are not saying anything on it yet - I think they are assessing the damage.

  189. 'Beggars belief'

    Here's the full statement from Karl Turner - Labour's shadow solicitor general - who responded to fresh revelations about Grant Shapps in today's Guardian newspaper. Mr Turner said: "It beggars belief that the chairman of the Conservative Party went on live radio just three weeks ago and stated three times that he was not doing business as Michael Green while he was an MP, when new reports and audio tonight show quite clearly that he did. It seems that Mr Shapps' repeated denials, which were not in the heat of the moment but also included a calculated decision to instruct solicitors, were contrary to the facts. He also appears to have threatened legal action on the basis of this.

    "David Cameron must now order an immediate inquiry into Mr Shapps' conduct and establish all the facts in the interest of the public."

  190. Shapps 'continued business interests while MP'

    Grant Shapps

    The focus this morning is on the Conservative Party and, specifically, its chairman Grant Shapps. The party has accepted for the first time that Mr Shapps did continue to pursue his business interests for a short time after he became an MP in 2005.

    Mr Shapps has previously insisted that his writing career - under the pen name Michael Green - ended when he took up his seat in the House of Commons. Labour has said David Cameron should establish an immediate inquiry to establish the facts. For the full story click here.

  191. SNP 'constructive role'

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Scotland's first minister will pledge today that her party will play a constructive role at Westminster if SNP numbers swell after the general election. In a speech later at the London School of Economics, Nicola Sturgeon will argue that nationalist MPs will not only stand up for Scotland but could also help to bring positive change across the UK. Opinion polls suggest that the SNP will do well in Scotland and could end up wielding more influence in a hung parliament.

  192. Good morning

    Good morning and welcome to the campaign countdown Politics Live page. We'll bring you all the news, reaction and analysis on the main political stories of the day, with 52 days to go until the general election. Here's a quick recap of what happened on Sunday.