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Summary

  1. MPs debated the EU Referendum Bill after ministers offered concessions to rebels over timing and campaign rules
  2. A rebel amendment was defeated, with 27 Conservatives voting against the government
  3. US First Lady Michelle Obama is on a two day visit to the UK to promote her charity work
  4. The latest UK inflation figures show prices rose by 0.1% in May
  5. The Electoral Commission publishes details of last month's donations to political parties
  6. Labour's six candidates vying be the next London mayor take part in a hustings

Live Reporting

By Alex Hunt and John Harrison

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Labour hopefuls debate Heathrow

    Labour hustings

    The candidates to become Labour's nomination for London mayor have clashed over airport expansion in their first hustings debate.

    Tooting MP Sadiq Khan defended his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow, saying London's air quality was already breaching EU regulations.

    He said Gatwick Airport should be expanded, with "high speed links" between the two and a single check-in.

    But rival David Lammy accused him of "the same Ed Miliband politics".

    Read the full story

  2. Parliamentary growing pains

    James Landale

    Deputy political editor

    So, in the end, only 27 Conservative MPs rebelled over plans to give the government a free hand in the final weeks of the forthcoming EU referendum campaign.

    Not much to see here, you might think, time to move along. And yet what we saw today at Westminster was fascinating, the growing pains of a new parliament on show for all to see.

    You had a prime minister, flush with victory, insisting he should have the freedom to campaign in the referendum on the EU in a way that he did not have in last year's vote on Scottish independence.

    Even loyal Tory MPs told me that Mr Cameron should have realised that scrapping purdah outright would provoke opposition and an unnecessary battle with his backbenches.  

    Read the blog in full

  3. Tuesday summary

    Flags

    The EU referendum has taken centre stage in Westminster today.

    In the Commons, the government moved to try and head off rebellions by Conservative MPs over the timing of an EU referendum and the rules for a future campaign. 

    Elsewhere, the latest figures showed that inflation, as measured by Consumer Prices Index (CPI), rose to 0.1% in May, up from -0.1% in April.

    senior UKIP figure who was forced to resign after infighting in the party following the general election returned to his job as party secretary.  

    Michelle Obama

    US First Lady Michelle Obama has met David Cameron, Prince Harry and given a speech at a London school, telling pupils the "ultimate key" to their success. She also launched the Let Girls Learn initiative to boost education globally for adolescent girls.

    Meanwhile in the US, property billionaire Donald Trump has announced he will run for the White House in the 2016 presidential election.

  4. BreakingRebels defeated

    The government has seen off a rebellion on government "purdah" in the run-up to the EU referendum by 288 votes to 97. That's a government majority of 191. The vote was an amendment put forward by Sir Bill Cash, and other Conservative Eurosceptics.

  5. EU Commons vote

    BBC deputy political editor...

  6. Driving votes to UKIP?

    Former UKIP MP tweets...

  7. SNP bid on EU rejected

    Flags

    A bid by the SNP to make sure Britain's exit from the EU was dependent on all four nations voting for it in the referendum has been rejected.

    Foreign Office Minister David Lidington said the amendment did "not make sense."

    Read more here.

  8. Purdah row

    Vicky Young

    Chief Political Correspondent

    Some of this is about party management - how David Cameron deals with his party with just a majority of 12.

    We know that Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, has been meeting with MPs, they are clearly trying to minimise this rebellion, they don't want to be in a position where they could potentially have to rely on Labour votes.

  9. Labour to abstain?

    The BBC's Ross Hawkins is reporting that Labour MPs will abstain in the vote later on an amendment put forward by Eurosceptic Tory MP Sir Bill Cash.

  10. Pictures: First Lady in Downing Street

    Obama arriving at Downing Street
    Obama arriving at Downing Street
    Obama arriving at Downing Street
    Obama arriving at Downing Street
    Obama arriving at Downing Street
  11. First Lady arrives at No 10

    Michelle Obama arriving at Downing Street

    The First Lady, Michelle Obama, has arrived in Downing Street to meet David and Samantha Cameron. Slightly grainy images of her arrival were broadcast live on the prime minister's twitter account, via Periscope. 

  12. The prince and the First Lady

    Prince Harry and Michelle Obama

    Kensington Palace has just released a photograph of Prince Harry's meeting with Michelle Obama earlier today.

  13. Towering Trump?

    Brian Wheeler

    Donald Trump

    Away from British politics, Donald Trump has shaken up the race for the Republican nomination to be US president in 2016.

    The flamboyant property magnate - probably best known in the UK for his controversial battle to build a golf course in Scotland - has flirted with a presidential run before but this time it's for real.

    "I am officially running for president of the United States and we are going to make our country great again," he said in a speech delivered from Trump Tower on New York's Fifth Avenue.

    In a lengthy address touching on unemployment, Obamacare, foreign policy and the perceived weakness of the US in the eyes of its "enemies", he told the audience of whooping supporters: "We need a great leader."

    It turned out the tycoon, who is the US equivalent of Lord Sugar on their version of The Apprentice, was referring to himself.  

    There is a long tradition in US politics of maverick outsiders from the world of business bidding to be president - but they generally end up being beaten to the nomination by professional politicians.

    Trump joins a crowded field of 16 contenders. Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson are seen as the current frontrunners, with libertarian Rand Paul also picking up support.

  14. First Lady due at Downing Street

    Michelle Obama

    We are waiting for Michelle Obama to arrive at Downing Street at some stage, where she will meet David Cameron. She has already chatted with Prince Harry and addressed students at a school in Tower Hamlets, in east London. See our story here.

  15. Amendment vote

    Sky News political editor tweets...

  16. Labour MPs launch Eurosceptic group

    Norman Smith

    Assistant political editor

    A group of Labour MPs has launched a new Eurosceptic group within the party to challenge the pro-EU stance of the party leadership. 

    The group, called Labour for Britain, will press for the party to back a "trade and cooperation" relationship with Europe.

    They are opposed to the decision of the party leadership to press for a Yes vote in the EU referendum, regardless of the outcome of the prime minister's re-negotiation with Brussels.

    In a statement they say: "Supporters of the group believe that Labour must advocate changes to the UK's terms of EU membership which are more radical, reflecting what the vast majority of voters want from the renegotiation process."

    Privately, they expect to have the backing of around 20 Labour MPs but claim their views are much more representative of those of Labour supporters. 

    They have the support of the leading Labour donor John Mills. He said he did not believe the party should be scared to campaign to leave the EU. 

    The key figures in the new group are Graham Stringer, Kate Hoey and Kelvin Hopkins. 

  17. Trump for president?

    Trump

    Across the pond, Donald Trump, the American businessman has just announced he is running to become US president.

  18. Cooper in negative briefing vow

    Yvette Cooper

    Labour's Shabana Mahmood - who is chairing Yvette Cooper's leadership bid - says there will be no "in-fighting, squabbles and rows" in the campaign. 

    Writing for the Huffington Post, she promised - on behalf of Ms Cooper's campaign - that there would be "no unattributed negative briefings about other candidates". She called on the other three candidates to "join me in making that pledge": 

    Quote Message: What we mustn't do is get drawn into unpleasant anonymous briefing and counter-briefing."

    It comes after reports Liz Kendall’s backers had been dubbed the “New Labour Taliban”. 

    The chair of her campaign, Toby Perkins, wrote to Andy Burnham and Ms Cooper on Monday calling for an end to anonymous briefings.

  19. Lidington's EU proposal

    So to recap, Europe Minister David Lidington has told MPs he would consult both MPs and peers before bringing purdah changes, when the EU Referendum Bill reaches report stage in the Commons in the autumn.

    The government would ensure there was a "clear mechanism" during the four weeks before polling day to ensure the government did not undertake campaigning activities, such as issuing mail shots, running commercial advertising campaigns and emailing voters in one way or another.

    "There are various ways in which this could be done. Some colleagues have talked about a code of conduct," the minister said.

    Quote Message: We could alternatively to a code of conduct provide for language on the face of the bill to restrict government activity to particular named forms of publication, or to prohibit the government from taking part in specific forms of communication."

    MPs debated a cross-party amendment to the bill which would reinstate the purdah provisions.

    But despite the minister's assurances, the amendment will be put to a vote after 19:00 BST.

  20. Confusion in the Commons

    Slight confusion in the Commons as this part of the EU debate finishes - but without a vote on one of the amendments. MPs will not actually vote on Sir Bill Cash’s amendment until later. We expect it to be at some point between 19:00 and 20:00 BST. 

  21. Government to make EU recommendation

    BBC News assistant political editor tweets...

  22. 'Cack-handed'

    Back in the Commons, former attorney general Dominic Grieve has accused the government of "strange and cack-handed" handling of the issue of purdah in the EU referendum.

  23. Harman defends Human Rights Act

    Harriet Harman

    Acting leader Harriet Harman has said Labour would be prepared to work with “anybody and everybody” to defend the Human Rights Act. Speaking at Labour HQ, Ms Harman said: 

    Quote Message: Sometimes we all know that defending the Human Rights Act can feel challenging because it can involve European judges protecting the rights of an unpopular individual from an elected authority, or protecting the rights of an unpopular minority from a popular majority. But it is the right thing to do.”

    Asked whether her support for the Human Rights Act meant Labour would allow prisoners to vote, she said Labour did not agree with the court’s ruling in that case. She said:

    Quote Message: We do not agree with the court judgement. We do think the court has overstepped it.”
  24. UK should 'do more for migrants'

    Away from the Commons, the charity Save the Children has called on the government to offer refuge to its "fair share" of migrants who have arrived in Italy and Greece. It says Britain should home at least 1,500 of the children who have arrived unaccompanied in Italy. Its chief executive Justin Forsyth said: 

    Quote Message: The numbers being proposed are very small in comparison to the overall scale. The neighbouring countries are taking a huge burden so I think that the rest of Europe should be more generous."
  25. Khan against third Heathrow runway

    Labour's mayoral hopeful in London, Sadiq Khan, has come out against a third runway at Heathrow airport, the Evening Standard has reported . The newspaper says Mr Khan believes the airport should be made “better, but not bigger”. It says his intervention has opened "clear air" between him and Labour rivals Dame Tessa Jowell and David Lammy. Mr Khan said: “Tessa and David will argue Heathrow’s case, but I am arguing London’s case against its expansion.”

  26. 'Absolute tosh'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Tory Eurosceptic Bernard Jenkin is speaking again. He says the idea that a period of purdah would mean ministers not being able to speak out during the campaign is "absolute tosh". Says without purdah, civil servants would be "obliged" to publish minister's views.

    Quote Message: I seem to recall the prime minister being very vociferous in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum right up until the last day of the campaign. But he wasn't ab;e to use his ministerial car, he wasn't able to fly at prime ministerial expense, he wasn't able to use the machinery of government to promulgate the message he wants.
  27. Burnham, Cooper, Kendall or Corbyn?

    The Daily Politics

    Labour leader contenders

    Alex Donohue, from Ladbrokes, discussesthe shortening odds for Jeremy Corbyn and Yvette Cooper in the four-horse contest to be the next Labour leader.  

  28. 'Useless quango'

    Former Chancellor Ken Clarke is still on his feet. Asked about the Electoral Commission's advice about holding referendums, he recounts how he once gave evidence to an inquiry about the commission and calls it a “useless quango”.

  29. 'Hush puppy approach'

    Executive editor at Huffington Post tweets...

  30. 'Sense of proportionality'

    Ken Clarke

    Ken Clarke is back on his feet - he says he didn't get David Lidington's letter either. However, he calls for a "sense of proportionality" about the issues being discussed. He says the issue of purdah won't make the "faintest difference" to the result of the vote, and says most people won't have the "first idea what we are talking about".

  31. Salmond and Twitter

    Ex-SNP leader Alex Salmond says he has found a letter from the minister for Europe to Conservative MPs - about purdah and issue surrounding the EU referendum - on Twitter. He describes it as a "begging letter" but asks whether David Lidington's letter should be made available to all MPs as, he suggests, it includes government assurances. 

  32. Cracking on?

    BBC News deputy political editor tweets...

  33. Government should listen...again

    Sky News politics editor...

  34. Redwood on referendum

    The World at One

    BBC Radio 4

    Eurosceptic Conservative MP John Redwood has welcomed the government's apparent shift in position over purdah before the EU referendum.

    Quote Message: We're not against this government, we're very proud of this government, we want it to be a very successful government. But we do, above all, want it - now it's going to hold a referendum - to have a fair referendum up to the highest British standards of independence.

    The government should "listen carefully" to the Electoral Commission advise on the conduct of referendums, he said.

  35. Sir Bill allowed to stay seated

    Bill Cash

    Sir Bill Cash, the Conservative MP, is speaking now and is - unusually - doing so while sitting down. He says he has been in hospital for the last four days. 

    Lindsay Hoyle, deputy speaker, urged him to stay sitting down for his own benefit.

  36. Labour amendments

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Labour has tabled amendments requiring reports on the implications of leaving the EU from the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) on the effect on the public purse, from each cabinet minister on the impact on their area of responsibility, and from the Bank of England on the economic consequences - all to be published at least 10 weeks before the referendum.

    "We know what the costs of being in are," shadow Europe minister Pat McFadden says, but the public need to know what the costs of being out are.

  37. Abbott criticises New Labour 'ghouls'

    The Huffington Post

    Labour MP and London mayoral candidate Diane Abbott says "ghouls" from the New Labour era should not be able to take over the party, the Huffington Post reports. At an event in London, she said she and left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn - who is running for Labour leader - would lead a "fight back" against those who want to "reduce our party to little more than a pale imitation of the Conservatives".

  38. Tribute to Ed Balls

    Andrea Jenkyns

    Also making her maiden speech is new Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns, who defeated one Ed Balls at the general election. Paying tribute to the former shadow chancellor, she says Mr Balls' personality was in "stark contrast to his public persona", that she always found him to be "personable" and that the two rivals ran a positive campaign in Morley and Outwood. Ms Jenkins notes Mr Balls recently called for an extension of paternity leave - "be careful what you wish for", she jokes. She then wishes Mr Balls well and thanks him for a decade of public service.

  39. 'A proxy for immigration'

    Tulip Siddiq, the new Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, has made her maiden speech during the EU referendum debate. She says:

    Quote Message: If we want Britain to remain open for business, we can't shut the door to the shop."

    Ms Siddiq says she fears the EU debate will become a "proxy" for a debate about immigration. "Both issues require a clear head and a moral compass," she adds.

  40. Fox: Purdah stance 'unseemly'

    Liam Fox

    Mr Salmond winds up and he is followed by Tory MP Liam Fox, a former defence secretary. Addressing the purdah issue, he welcomes the fact that ministers are listening on the matter and says it would be "unseemly" for the government to suspend constitutional and legal conventions for their own benefit. He warns of an "intense" reaction from the public if they feel they have been "bounced" into voting a certain way or if there was any sense the outcome had been "rigged". 

  41. 'Vows and pledges'

    Mr Salmond goes on to defend the so-called purdah rules limiting government activity in the weeks running up to the referendum vote. Without such rules, he says "what is there to stop" the prime minister embarking on a eleventh-hour tour of foreign capitals and his EU counterparts making a "new pledge, a new undertaking, a new vow" to the British people to keep them on board. 

    That, of course, is a dig at Mr Cameron's own conduct during last year's Scottish independence referendum and the late intervention by him and other party leaders to promise more powers to the Scottish Parliament in the event of a No vote.

  42. Scottish repercussions

    Former Chancellor Ken Clarke intervenes to suggest the SNP's "secret wish" is to see a Yes vote in Scotland and a No vote in England - as it would drive a wedge between the two countries and provide ammunition for those seeking another Scottish independence referendum.

    Mr Salmond says he disagrees on the first point, insisting he wants the UK as a whole to vote to stay within the EU. But he suggests Mr Clarke has put his finger "adroitly" on a wider point that if Scotland was forced to leave the EU against its will, this could provide the "material change in circumstances" that could make another independence vote "well nigh inevitable".

  43. 'Quad lock'

    Alex Salmond is proposing a "quad lock" where the UK would not be able to leave the EU without the support of all four constituent nations of the UK - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In his defence, he cites the US constitution and what he says is the ability of 14 states to block any amendment to the federal constitution. But Labour's Kevin Brennan says the parallel is a "bit tenuous", arguing that such a matter as one state's relationship with others would require changes to foreign treaties in the US and would therefore require the approval of the US Senate - over which individual states would not have a veto. 

  44. 'Humiliating climbdown'

    House of Commons

    Parliament

    Alex Salmond

    MPs are starting their line-by-line debate on the EU Referendum Bill. Former SNP leader Alex Salmond is first out of the traps, claiming the government has been forced into a "disorganised, humilitating, spatchcock climbdown" over the date of the referendum - after ministers conceded that the poll should not be held on the same day as elections to the Scottish Parliament and other polls in Wales, England and Northern Ireland on 5 May 2016. 

  45. Pic: In or out?

    Larry the Cat
    Image caption: While the cabinet were discussing the EU referendum, Larry the Downing Street cat seemed to be pondering his own in or out decision.
  46. Golden joke

    Chancellor George Osborne concluded Treasury questions in the Commons having a little bit of fun at the expense of Roger Mullin, the new SNP MP for Kircaldy and Cowdenbeath. Mr Mullin questions Mr Osborne's ability to balance the books, saying that the last chancellor to do so - Gordon Brown in 2001 - only did so by selling the UK's gold reserves at "rock-bottom prices".

    Mr Osborne says that the last thing he expected would be to hear such an admission from the MP for Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy. Of course, Mr Brown was MP for that constituency before he stood down at the last election and Labour subsequently lost the seat to the MP. There is laughter in the House and even Mr Mullin has a smile on his face.

  47. Downing Street says

    Update from the morning lobby briefing...

    Ross Hawkins

    Political correspondent

    The Prime Minister's Official Spokeswoman has made clear the government will take months to finalise the rules about government activity in the run up to a referendum.

    She said it will bring forward proposals at the report stage of the EU Referendum Bill in the autumn. This confirms the position shared with Tory MPs in a letter this morning.

    She said the government would work to understand concerns of MPs "over the next few months". She repeated an assurance that there was no intention to spend public money sending mail shots into households in the last four weeks of a referendum campaign

    It's clear there will now be a compromise but the government's position is it would be "inappropriate" to apply full purdah arrangements.

  48. Labour against 'wholesale' purdah suspension

    The Daily Politics

    Hilary Benn, shadow foreign secretary, says Labour accepts there should not be a "wholesale suspension" of purdah rules. He says the government should come to the Commons to say what it will need to do during the four-week period. He says the party's position on the vote later will "depend what assurances" are given by the government.

  49. Eurosceptics 'preparing for defeat'

    The Daily Politics

    Matthew Parris, of the Times newspaper, says the government should give Eurosceptic MPs "everything they ask for" ahead of the EU referendum:

    Quote Message: The anti-Europeans don't expect to win this referendum, they are pretty sure they are not going to win this referendum, so what they are doing is preparing their position for when they don't win it so they can say it was all a stitch-up, it was all unfair, and they can keep the issue alive."
  50. 'Establishment stitch-up'

    The Daily Politics

    Tory Eurosceptic MP Bernard Jenkin says Labour will abstain in the EU referendum vote later - saying the party's position, alongside that of the government's, looks like an "establishment stitch-up".

  51. Purdah row about 'legitimacy'

    James Landale

    Deputy political editor

    What this issue really is about is legitimacy.

    When, and if, this referendum takes place, when the result happens will it be seen as a legitimate result?

    If it is not, then the fear among pro-European, as well as sceptics, is it won't deal with the issue and that means the sore of the European question remains open in the future.

  52. 'Paranoia' within Eurosceptics

    The Daily Politics

    Former Tory minister Ken Clarke accuses Eurosceptic MPs in his party of "paranoia" over the EU referendum. He says the idea that the government wouldn't be able to make its case over the vote is "absurd". He was speaking amid speculation about purdah rules. He said:

    Quote Message: The right-wing Eurosceptics seem to have got it into their heads that these things are terribly important. There is a slight paranoia among them."
  53. UKIP's ex-party secretary returns

    Robin Brant

    Political Correspondent

    One of the senior UKIP figures who was forced to resign after in-fighting in the party following the general election has returned to his job as party secretary. 

    Matt Richardson has been reinstated to the role after UKIP's national executive committee approved it. The move is likely to be greeted with criticism from some in the party who attacked him and a circle of advisers around Nigel Farage in the wake of UKIP's failure to win more seats in the election.

    In a brief statement to the BBC UKIP said: "Matt has resumed the role... by law any constituted political party must have a party secretary who is a qualified lawyer." 

    The decision has echoes of Nigel Farage's resignation - and swift reversal of that decision - after he failed to become an MP in Thanet South.

    Read more from Robin

  54. Osborne offers purdah 'reassurance'

    George Osborne, who is taking questions in the Commons, has told MPs the government will provide "reassurances" in the row over the proposed suspension of purdah rules before the EU referendum. Mr Osborne said:  

    Quote Message: There are serious issues which we have to address about the current laws as they stand about referendums ... We of course understand the concerns on all sides of the House about this and we will come forward with reassurances that enable the proper business of government to continue and for the government to make the case for the vote it recommends, and make sure there isn't an unfair referendum."
  55. First Lady announces UK/US partnership

    Michelle Obama

    Mrs Obama announces a "series of new partnerships" between the UK and US of nearly £128m ($200m) to help girls get education in developing counties.

  56. 'Your story'

    Michelle Obama tells pupils at the Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets, east London, that in "many ways your story is my story". Says she "constantly felt the struggle to balance our family responsibilities and the school work, activities and the goals we had."

  57. Pic: First Lady speaking at London school

    Michelle Obama
  58. Labour position 'absurd' on EU

    Labour MP Graham Stringer says his party's position on the EU referendum "appears pretty absurd". He says suggestions the party will vote to remain in the EU regardless of what concessions the prime minister can secure from Brussels is a "crazy position". 

    Quote Message: I think we should be pushing the Conservatives hard, I don't think the prime minister is asking enough and I think the Labour Party's position should be to ask for quite a lot."
  59. Political chat from noon

    The Daily Politics

    Matthew Parris

    Jo Coburn is joined by columnist Matthew Parris as guest of the day to discuss the Westminster headlines.

    They will look at the EU Referendum Bill with Bernard Jenkin, Hilary Benn and Ken Clarke, and get the latest odds on the Labour leadership battle, with reaction from  journalists Dan Hodges and Owen Jones. 

    Other guests are Professor Nutt to discuss the Psychotic Drugs Bill, and Scottish leadership candidate Kezia Dugdale. You can watch on the Live Coverage tab on this page.

  60. Harry hosts three generations

    Kensington Palace has confirmed Prince Harry hosted three generations of the First Lady's family during their meeting this morning. As well as meeting Mrs Obama, the royal also hosted Malia and Sasha - the president and First Lady's daughters - as well as her mother, Marian Robinson.

  61. BreakingGovernment offers EU bill amendment

    James Landale

    Deputy political editor

    The government is offering to amend the EU referendum bill to reassure Tory MPs worried about ministers using public funds to back a Yes vote in the final stages of the campaign.

    Europe Minister, David Lidington, has written to all Tory MPs promising to bring forward amendments at report stage of the bill in the autumn to "put beyond any doubt that the campaign will be conducted throughout in a manner that all sides will see as fair". 

    The Minister also said the government had "no intention" of spending public money to deliver mail shots to households during the last four weeks of the campaign. 

    However, he defended plans to lift the usual restrictions on the government during the final stages of a referendum which he said could prevent ministers conducting their day to day business. 

    The question now will be how Tory MPs respond to this and whether this will be enough to head off a potential rebellion later today in the House of Commons. 

  62. Ex-UKIP MEP back new EU group

    Marine Le Pen

    It has emerged that a former UKIP MEP has backed the formation of a group of far-right parties in the European Palriament.

    The anti-EU Europe of Nations and Freedoms bloc - formed by French National Front leader Marine Le Pen - has the support of UK MEP Janice Atkinson, who was expelled from UKIP in March over expenses claims.

    The group includes Hungary's Jobbik party and the Freedom Party of Dutch politician Geert Wilders. 

    Read the full story here.

  63. 'Uncomfortable bill for PM'

    BBC News Channel

    Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, the SNP MP, said the EU referendum will be "a very difficult and uncomfortable bill" for the prime minister. She also says the purdah period in the run-up to the vote should be protected.

  64. 'Protection' for purdah

    BBC News Channel

    Back to that thorny issue of purdah and the EU referendum. The Tory Eurosceptic MP Bernard Jenkin says a letter from David Cameron does not explain "what protection for purdah will exist". He says the government can't leave the referendum bill "as it is".

  65. 'Beating the drum' on education

    Ahead of Mrs Obama's speech, Justine Greening, international development secretary, said around there were around 61 million girls around the world not in education when they should be. She said the US First Lady was helping "beat the drum for girls' education":

    Quote Message: If girls are in education they will have fewer children, they will be healthier, they will have a chance to possibly be earning a livelihood which is better for their local communities and their economies."
  66. Poor GCSE history students

    The Guardian's education correspondent tweets...

  67. 'The First Grandmother'

    The Daily Telegraph

    Marian Robinson

    While on the subject of Michelle Obama's visit, the Daily Telegraph's Harry Wallop says the First Lady has been accompanied on her visit to Europe by her mother, Marian Robinson. Mrs Obama has also flown to the UK with her two daughters - Malia, 16, and Sasha, 13 - but the writer notes the presence of the "First Grandmother".

    Quote Message: As Obama’s presidency starts to wind down, it is unclear how history will view his two terms in office. The conclusions are likely to be mixed. The First Lady, however, has scored some notable hits, not just with her anti-obesity and pro-education drives. More than anything, she has held her family together with a semblance of normality in the goldfish bowl of the White House. And much of that success is thanks to the Grandmother-in-Chief."
  68. Picture: First Lady meets pupils

    Michelle Obama
  69. Prince Harry and First Lady

    Royal household tweets...

  70. First lady at London school

    Michelle Obama

    Michelle Obama is at a school in London's Tower Hamlets, where she is expected to speak in the next 30 minutes and announce a project between the UK and US governments to help keep girls in schools across the world.

  71. Cameron should look to Wilson

    The Daily Telegraph

    Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome, has been writing about whether ministers should be given a free vote in the EU referendum. He says the prime minister got in a "right old muddle" last week, saying David Cameron should give ministers "their freedom during the campaign, and seek to bring his party back together afterwards". He says:

    Quote Message: This is a challenge that Harold Wilson rose to in 1975 during the last euro-referendum. He won a Yes vote – and then pushed off. If Mr Cameron also leads a Yes campaign and himself wins the vote, it will mark his third referendum victory – after a landslide rejection of electoral reform, and a narrower rebuff to Scottish independence. He could then retire, twice undefeated in general elections – no mean achievement. But the twists and turns that dog Britain’s relationship with Europe have a way of knocking such happy plans off-course."
  72. 'Callous trade'

    Theresa May

    Home Secretary Theresa May - who is meeting EU home affairs ministers in Luxembourg - has spoken about the need for Europe to "go after criminal gangs" responsible for the "terrible, callous trade in human lives".

    Ministers will later discuss plans to relocate migrants who arrive in Italy and Greece to other member states - a scheme Ms May says the UK won't take part in. But she said the UK was helping:    

    Quote Message: We are putting effort in to the search and rescue that is taking place. HMS Bulwark but also two border force cutters, they're doing that work alongside others. We're also working to deal with these terrible criminal gangs who are making a profit out of human misery. And that is essential work. And of course as the UK we also put effort into development aid, to help these countries, to stabilise them, to provide the economy which means there is no longer the incentive for the journey."
  73. Interest rates to remain low?

    The economist Samuel Tombs, from Capital Economics, said the UK's "weak inflation outlook" could mean interest rates remain low for "another year or so".

    Quote Message: We had anticipated a bigger rise in core inflation since April's rate had been depressed by the earlier fall of Easter this year compared to last. The UK's weak inflation outlook is likely to ensure that the Monetary Policy Committee keeps interest rates at their record low level for another year or so."
  74. Osborne: Plan is working

    Chancellor George Osborne has been speaking about that rise in inflation. He says the 0.1% rise last month is "further evidence of an economic plan that is working".

    Quote Message: This is good news for working people and family budgets, and shows the economic recovery is going from strength to strength. Of course the job is not done and we will continue to remain vigilant to all risks, particularly when the global economic situation is so uncertain."
  75. Harman letter to Cameron

    Harriet Harman has written to David Cameron about proposals to scrap the Human Rights Act - urging the PM to "abandon your plans entirely". She said:

    Harriet Harman
    Quote Message: Human rights are part of, not at variance with, our British values and they matter for our place in the world. We understand you have put your plans on hold for a year, while you work out exactly how you will go about the dismantling of our human rights laws. We ask you today to abandon your plans entirely."
  76. House prices

    Some more stats have been published this morning - this time it's house prices. Prices fell by 1.3% in April, reducing the year-on-year rate of increase to 5.5% from the 9.6% registered in March according to the Office for National Statistics. Their figures appear to confirm speedier surveys which said there was a slowdown ahead of the election. it remains to be seen whether the ONS May and June figures will confirm the post-election rises in house prices reported recently by Nationwide and Halifax.

  77. Carney expects inflation to remain low

    Table

    More on those inflation figures -  Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said he expects inflation to remain low in the short term.

    The Bank expects near-zero inflation to help the UK economy by boosting the spending power of households.

  78. First lady in UK

    Michelle Obama

    US first lady Michelle Obama is expected to meet Prince Harry and David Cameron later on the first day of her two-day visit to the UK. 

    Mrs Obama will host an event at  a school in Tower Hamlets, east London, to discuss joint work between the UK and US to boost education for adolescent girls across the world. 

    Writing in today's Financial Times, she said girls around the world face obstacles to education, including forced marriage, early pregnancies, abuse and sexism. She said:

    Quote Message: That kind of life is unthinkable for the girls in our lives, so why would we accept this fate for any girl on this planet?This week I will join Prime Minister David Cameron in London to begin to answer that question, and announce a series of partnerships between the US and UK to educate adolescent girls in developing countries around the world."
  79. 'Inflation returns'

    BBC correspondent tweets...

  80. BreakingInflation up 0.1%

    Some breaking news - the UK inflation rate, measured by Consumer Prices Index, rose to 0.1% in May, up from -0.1% in April, figures show. 

  81. PM faces T. Rex battle

    Victoria Derbyshire

    The BBC's Norman Smith says the Conservatives who are looking to "cut up rough" over the EU vote are not parliamentary minnows - he says "they are the big beasts, they are some of the sort of Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Eurosceptic ranks".

    He says it is not as "titanic a clash" as the row over the Maastricht Treaty but there are "definite similarities".

    He also says some Labour MPs and Tory Euroseptics are working together on the issue.

  82. Labour wants 'clarity'

    Pat McFadden

    Shadow Europe minister Pat McFadden does refuses to say whether Labour will vote with or against the government when the EU referendum is debated in the Commons later.

    Quote Message: What we want today from the government is clarity on how they will operate during the referendum period.
  83. EU government 'hash'

    Labour's Pat McFadden, shadow minister for Europe, says the government is making "an awful hash" of the EU referendum, saying Labour has "never thought" it was a good idea to hold a vote of "such national importance" on the same day as another election.

  84. An almighty tussle

    Victoria Derbyshire

    Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor, says Downing Street's concession over the date of the EU vote shows that David Cameron knows he faces "an almighty tussle" over the issue - with opposition parties as well as sections of his own party. He said he was expecting further government concessions over the purdah period row later.

  85. 'Paper thin'

    Former SNP leader tweets...

  86. TaxPayers' Alliance on purdah row

    Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance , has given his view on the row over the purdah period before the EU referendum. Writing on the pressure group's website , he said:

    Quote Message: The whole point of referendums is that the government of the day cedes its power over an issue to the voting public; ministers are deferring to the electorate, so it would be wrong if the government machine were to use taxpayers' money to skew the outcome one way or the other. If the government is saying 'we trust the British people to make the decision', it should not be unduly and corporately trying to dictate what that decision is."
  87. Airbus boss

    Airbus

    Amid speculation about when the EU referendum will - or won't be held -  the chief executive of aerospace giant Airbus has said he has "no intention" of pulling manufacturing out of Britain if it voted to leave the European Union.

    Fabrice Bregier said he was committed to its UK workers which includes 6,000 at its wing-making factory in Broughton, Flintshire. 

  88. Labour bloodbath?

    Guardian columnist tweets...

  89. No 10 'badly advised'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Tory Eurosceptic Bernard Jenkin has been speaking about calls from some Conservative MPs to reinstate the purdah period. He said the government had been "very badly advised".

    Quote Message: If they had accepted the Electoral Commission's advice on purdah we wouldn't be in this mess... it's about fairness and trust. Who will trust the result of this referendum if the Government have been able to deploy their vast resources pushing propaganda through people's letterboxes?
  90. Pedal power

    Boris Johnson

    The Mayor of London arriving in Downing Street this morning.

  91. 'Beyond the pale'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Baroness Warsi says the Muslim community could do more to help tackle radicalisation if the government "stood along side it".

    Quote Message: It is incredibly odd and incredibly worrying that over time more and more individuals, more and more organisations are considered by the government to be beyond the pale and therefore not to be engaged with. My argument has consistently been that if we are to challenge views, if we are to genuinely change those views that lead to extremism in communities, then we have to be engaged with those communities."
  92. 'Generational challenge'

    Today Programme

    BBC Radio 4

    Baroness Warsi, who was born in Dewsbury - the West Yorkshire town where suicide bomber Talha Asmal is from - says it is time to end the policy of disengagement with Muslim communities in the UK.

    She says it is time to go "back to basics" to tackle what she calls a "generational challenge" to tackle extremism in the UK.

  93. A footnote?

    BBC political producer tweets...

  94. How powerful with unions be?

    Contenders

    Autumn 2010 and in the bar of the Radisson Edwardian hotel in Manchester the then general secretary of Unite union, Derek Simpson, and the union's political officer - and former Gordon Brown aide - Charlie Whelan were enjoying a drink and were in excellent spirits.

    Just across the road in the city's conference centre it had been confirmed that very afternoon that Ed Miliband had pipped his brother for the Labour leadership.

    The giant union had encouraged its members to back the younger Miliband and they were celebrating.

    But after a messy row with Unite over the selection of a Labour candidate in Falkirk in 2013, the rules for electing Ed Miliband's successor were changed by the very leader who had most benefitted from them.

    Previously, the unions commanded about a third of the vote in Labour's "electoral college" - with ordinary members' votes also counting for a third, and MPs and MEPs the remaining third.

    Fast forward to 2015 and the special status of MPs in leadership votes has all but gone.

    Read Iain's full piece on unions and Labour's election

  95. Crosby at No 10

    Political photographer tweets...

  96. Explaining the EU date announcement

    Allegra Stratton

    Newsnight Political Editor

    The move to avoid 5 May 2016 for the referendum and effectively rule out an early vote will delight Eurosceptic MPs who had feared a rush to an early poll could favour the move to keep Britain in Europe.

    Legislation passing through the Commons says the referendum must be held by the end of 2017, but there had been a move among the Prime Minister's team to bring the poll forward.

    Downing Street advisers argued that staging the referendum poll on the same day as next year's local and mayoral elections could drive up turnout for the referendum among some of Britain's most pro-European regions.

    They also wanted the prime minister to stage an early referendum to allow the Conservative party to capitalise on goodwill after winning its first majority in 23 years.

    They feared leaving it any later would see the referendum turn into a referendum on a mid-term government, something which is often unpopular.

    Senior Tory sources also feared staging a referendum as late as 2017 would clash with the French and German elections that year, making genuine progress in talks difficult.

    Read more

  97. GCSE changes unveiled

    Pupils will have to score more highly to gain a "good pass" in their GCSEs, under changes to England's exams.

    Candidates will have to obtain a Grade 5, equivalent to a low B or high C now, as grading switches to numbers nine to one in exams to be taken first in 2017.

    The aim is to make standards comparable to top-performing countries such as Finland, Canada, and the Netherlands.

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says raising the bar on GCSE exams will help pupils achieve in life.

    The new grading system, which replaces the A to G system with a new nine-to-one numbered scale, comes as new "more rigorous" GCSEs are being introduced for first teaching this September.

    Read more

  98. Royal Mail review

    A postal worker

    The regulation of Royal Mail is to be reviewed by Ofcom after the withdrawal of rival Whistl from the direct delivery letters market.

    Ofcom said the review would "ensure regulation remains appropriate and sufficient to secure the universal postal service".

    Royal Mail no longer faces any national competition for direct delivery of letters, Ofcom said.

    Whistl said last week it was pulling out of the direct delivery market.

    Read more

  99. EU to discuss Mediterranean migrants quota

    Graphic

    EU interior ministers - including Theresa May - are to discuss how to deal with tens of thousands of migrants trying to enter Europe each year by crossing the Mediterranean.

    A key issue at the talks in Luxembourg is a plan to distribute asylum seekers more evenly across all 28 EU states.

    The crisis has put a huge strain on Italian, Greek and Maltese resources.

    But some northern and eastern European nations argue that migrants should not be forced to move to countries where they do not want to settle.

    Read more

  100. EU referendum date

    Flags

    Our top story is the news which emerged overnight that the referendum on whether the UK should remain in the European Union will not take place on 5 May next year - ministers tabled an amendment to the EU referendum bill on Monday evening, ruling out a vote on that date.

    A Downing Street spokesman said the move was a concession to MPs' concerns.

    Why the focus on that date, you may ask. Well that's the day elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies are being held, along with the London mayoral election and 126 English local authorities, and all Welsh and Scottish councils.

    The government is also expected to address concerns over the "purdah" period, which restricts campaigning before a referendum is held (Eurosceptics are unhappy at plans to not have a purdah period for the referendum).

    Read more

  101. Good morning

    Alex Hunt

    Politics editor, BBC News Online

    Hello and welcome to our rolling political coverage - a day when the EU referendum is set to again take a central role as MPs debate some of the arrangements for it in the Commons. More of that to come in a  minute as I start a round-up of the main political stories on the BBC website this Tuesday morning.