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Live Reporting

By Tom Moseley and Alex Hunt

All times stated are UK

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  1. Wednesday summary

    It's been a lively day in the world of politics:

    Labour's leadership contenders held their first live televised debate in Nuneaton. You can watch it all back on the live coverage tab above

    David Cameron said he was "fast losing patience" with delays in the publication of the Iraq Inquiry report.  

    In Mr Cameron's absence, George Osborne took Prime Minister's Questions for the first time

    London mayor Boris Johnson was recorded swearing at a taxi driver

    The shortlist for Labour's deputy leader contest widened to five just before the deadline

  2. 'Middle England'

    Iain Watson

    Political correspondent

    It was perhaps a sign of the scale of Labour's defeat that the candidates for the party leadership were asked all about a politician who wasn't here - the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon - and what qualities they shared with her that could make them more successful.

    This didn't engender a bout of soul searching about Labour's meltdown in Scotland - instead the candidates swiftly and unsurprisingly turned the question to their advantage.

    Yvette Cooper said it was time for Labour to break the glass ceiling and elect a woman leader - unsurprisingly Liz Kendall agreed. Middle England The two women each had different pitches, though - the former had run a big government department, she said, while the latter described herself as "a fresh start".

    Andy Burnham saw the SNP's success as evidence that people were fed up with a political elite and he was the man to take his party out of the Westminster bubble.

    The most left wing of the candidates - Jeremy Corbyn - preferred the nationalists' anti-austerity message.

    Read Iain's blog in full

  3. 'This wasn't a debate'

    Lewis Goodall

    Newsnight producer

    We've heard a lot from the Labour party about how there needs to be a full and frank debate about why the party lost. That every voice must be heard. That's why Jeremy Corbyn got on the ballot.

    If that is what the party wants and needs tonight was something of a lost opportunity. Because it wasn't really a debate, it was almost like a series of one on one interviews with the audience. 

    Read the full blog on Newsnight Live

  4. 'Nothing's changed'

    The Conservatives tweet:

  5. 'Party comes first'

    Andy Burnham

    Andy Burnham's assertion that "the party comes first, always" is the focus of plenty of pundits. Liz Kendall swiftly interjected to say "the country comes first". For Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, Ms Kendall "won a one-hour debate with just four words". Philip Collins, of the Times, says:

    Quote Message: In context Andy Burnham didn't mean that to sound as bad as it did. But it really did."
  6. Sharpening the knives

    Labour likes to stick with its leaders

    Chris Cook

    Newsnight Policy Editor

    The most striking element of the Newsnight Labour leadership debate came in the candidates' answers to our own Laura Kuenssberg, who ended the quizzing with a simple question: would you be willling to resign before the next general election if it looks like Labour are not going to win with you as leader?

    The answers, in order, ran:

    • Liz Kendall: Yes. because more than anything, I want Labour to win so we can change the country... There are some MPs who are talking about having a new process whereby if colleagues think you're not doing well enough, you can go. I have to go through that as a local Labour MP. We should have that for the Labour leadership, too..." 
    • Jeremy Corbyn: "I think there should be an opportunity to elect or not elect the Labour leader every one or two years..." 
    • Andy Burnham: "Of course, there should. Yes is the answer to your question... The party already has that rule, . The debate maybe is: 'do you make that easier.' The party comes first, always."
    • Yvette Cooper: "The party already has rules to do that kind of thing... [After the leadership election] our focus has to be holding the Tories to account." Pressed by Laura about a rule change, she stuck to her guns: "It's up to the Labour party to choose and not for us."

    Read the full blog on Newsnight Live

  7. 'Few changed minds'

    The Daily Telegraph

    The Telegraph's assistant political editor Rosa Prince says:

    Quote Message: There were none of the unexpectedly clear-eyed questions which proved so fatal to Ed Miliband in the pre-election Question Time. And perhaps as a result, none of the candidates messed up royally, but nor did anyone really shone either. All four had some highs and lows, and no doubt will have caught the eye of a voter or two; changed few more minds."
  8. In other labour news...

    Announcement from the shadow pensions secretary

  9. 'Vitriol'

    Guardian columnist backs Corbyn

  10. Twitter verdict

    from the Times deputy political editor

  11. 'Resonated well'

    BBC News Channel

    Supporter Andrew Fisher said Jeremy Corbyn's views "had resonated very well in the hall tonight". He came across with a clear vision and people responded to it, said Mr Fisher. He rejects the idea that Labour's election manifesto had failed to inspire because it was too left wing - people want a bold vision that is practical, he says. 

  12. 'The real Yvette'

    Chris Bryant says Yvette Cooper had taken the battle to Theresa May for five years so people know she is "competent" and "clever", But you saw a lot of the "real Yvette tonight":

    Quote Message: It's easy to sing the hymns of the old old days and get everyone singing along. It's much more difficult to get people connecting their heads and their hearts, and that's what Yvette does."
  13. 'Direct and measured'

    BBC News Channel

    Lord Falconer, from the Burnham camp, says that Andy "was direct, passionate and measured" and tried to make it clear that Labour have to get the positions the public care about - it's not about whether you're Blairite or Brownite or anything else.

  14. 'The line of the night'


    Liz Kendall's campaign manager Toby Perkins (left in the pic above) says that "the line of the night that everyone's going to remember" was Andy Burnham saying you've got to put the party first and Liz Kendall saying you've got to put the country first.  

    Quote Message: That was the moment you saw the difference between the candidates. One making a pitch to the party and Liz making a pitch to the country."
  15. Reaction

    BBC News Channel

    BBC political correspondent Iain Watson says it was interesting that part of the debate was dominated by a politician who wasn't here - Nicola Sturgeon. He says the contest is all to play for given there's a completely new way of electing a leader. He says it is very difficult to predict how it will go.

  16. Debate ends

    That's your lot for the live debate. Friendly-looking chat between the four as the credits roll. In 85 days, one of them will be Labour leader. Now it's time to turn to the post-match analysis

  17. Not quite the group hug?

    Image caption: The debate finishes but there's no repeat of the famous Bennett/Sturgeon/Wood group hug
  18. If you win, can you be replaced?

    Are you prepared to be replaced before the general election, if it looks like Labour won't win, asks Laura Kuenssberg. Yes, says Liz Kendall: "Because more than anything I want Labour to win so we can change the country". Jeremy Corbyn says the leader should be re-elected regularly anyway. Andy Burnham says "of course" Labour should be able to get rid of a failing leader. "I'm someone with my feet on the ground," he says. Yvette Cooper says Labour already has rules to allow a leader change.

  19. 'The one they'll fear'

    Newsnight editor tweets...

  20. UKIP not impressed

    MEP tweets...

  21. Tough sell

    Mirror associate editor tweets

  22. Cooper recalls time on welfare

    Labour debate

    How are you going to end the "sense of entitlement" of some welfare claimants, a woman in the audience asks.

     Yvette Cooper says "clear rules" are needed and that she believes in people's responsibility to work to support themselves. She goes on to say that she was off work sick for a year 20 years ago (she suffered from ME), relying on welfare, and "as a result, I would never say that people who can't work are workshy". The language used has to be "responsible", she adds.

  23. Labour MP reaction

    It will be interesting to see what the reaction from Labour MPs to the Newsnight debate is on Twitter. Will any change their minds or stick to cheering along campaign lines such as these:

  24. 'Nice but incompetent'

    An audience member says Labour are seen as "nice but incompetent", while the Conservatives might be nasty but they "get things done".

  25. Budget surplus

    Jeremy Corbyn says achieving a budget surplus is not the most important thing to aim for. 

    Quote Message: The most important thing is to ensure our community has a health service, an education service and where young people are housed and have the ability to go out and educate themselves."

     "I don't agree with Jeremy on this," says Liz Kendall. People didn't trust us with their finances, she says. "We have to back businesses."  

  26. Next up

  27. Sturgeon's influence

    Huffington Post exec editor, politics, tweets...

  28. Pic: Cooper in action

    Yvette Cooper
  29. 'Personality politics'

    Asked if he really believed he could win the election Jeremy Corbyn says he did not "borrow" any votes to get on the ballot paper (some MPs lent him their votes to get him over the required threshold). He says he is putting forward a valid point of view, adding:

    Quote Message: People have had about enough of personality politics. They want something which is much more about movement politics."
  30. Angry audience?

    Sky News political journalist tweets...

  31. Sturgeon comparison

    Labour debate

    The next questioner asks what qualities the panel share with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, which would make them a successful party leader. Yvette Cooper says she respects Ms Sturgeon, saying it would be "fantastic to smash the final glass ceiling" and appoint a female leader. But she declines to endorse Ms Kendall if she isn't successful just so Labour has a woman in charge.

  32. Pic: The Newsnight debate audience

    The debate audience
  33. Pic: Jeremy Corbyn in action

    Jeremy Corbyn
  34. Immigration clash

    The panel is now debating immigration. Liz Kendall says she will never try to "out UKIP UKIP". Andy Burnham says the "undercutting" of British wages by foreign workers has to stop. A man in the audience then tells the panel:

    Quote Message: You live in a different world to me."

    He says he's seen nothing to convince him so far, and says an "infrastructure" is needed to "absorb" the large numbers of immigrants coming to the UK. Jeremy Corbyn asks him what sort of NHS there would be with no migration. Migrants add to the economy and claim less in benefits, he adds.

  35. Who's in charge?

    Huffington Post political correspondent tweets

  36. UKIP 'protest vote'

    Labour debate

    A fireman in the audience says he voted UKIP at the election as a protest vote over public sector cuts. Liz Kendall says the UK must live within its means, and says this is a Labour, not a Tory value.

  37. Blurred lines?

    One audience member in Nuneaton says the lines between Labour and the Conservatives have blurred and calls for a distinct voice from the party. In his answer Jeremy Corbyn says Labour is still "paying the price" for the "illegal" Iraq war. Labour has an "opportunity to rediscover its principled roots", he says.

  38. Pic: Kendall in action

    Labour contenders
    Image caption: Liz Kendall makes her "no baggage" point
  39. Baggage?


    Let's build on Labour's past successes, says Andy Burnham. Liz Kendall says she has no "baggage" unlike Mr Burnham and Ms Cooper. Ms Cooper, however, says she makes no apology for having run a multi-million pound government department.

  40. Still going strong

    Evening Standard journalist tweets

  41. 'Fresh start'

    Liz Kendall, the shadow care minister, says she will be a "fresh start" for Labour and the country. Last up is left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn, whose call for "jobs, homes and hopes for everybody" gets a shout of approval from the audience. That's the opening statements done and we're on to the first audience question.

  42. Cooper and Burnham

    Opening the debate, Yvette Cooper - the shadow home secretary - tells the audience she wants them to feel their home is with Labour. Next to make his opening statement is Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary. He says he will take Labour "out of the Westminster bubble".

  43. Labour debate under way

    Labour debate

    We are up and running in Nuneaton. The four contenders and the Newsnight host, Laura Kuenssberg.

  44. Ed Balls gets Harvard role

    Ed Balls

    As the four hopefuls for Labour's leadership begin their first live TV debate, former shadow chancellor Ed Balls - a contender for the job in 2010 - has just announced his new role.

    Mr Balls, who lost his seat at the general election, has been made senior fellow at the prestigious Harvard university.

    He will be expected on campus in the United States for at least three to four weeks each term over the course of the year-long unpaid appointment at the Kennedy School.

    His brief covers European integration, international patterns of economic growth, investment, productivity, wages and employment.   

  45. Newsnight Labour hustings

    So here we go - the first televised debate of the Labour leadership contest. Watch it on this page by clicking on the live tab and follow all the action, reaction and analysis in our text commentary.

  46. Evening recap

    Jeremy Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall an Yvette Cooper

    In just over an hour, the four candidates vying to be the next leader of the Labour Party will share a stage in a live TV hustings - the first in a series of public and televised debates over the coming weeks. Hosted by BBC Newsnight's Laura Kuenssberg, local residents in Nuneaton, a target seat that the party failed to win at the general election, will put questions to Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn.

    In other political news:

    • David Cameron has said he is "fast losing patience" with the delays in the publication of Sir John Chilcot's Iraq Inquiry report
    • George Osborne made his PMQs debut, as he stood in for David Cameron who is in Europe on official business, with Hilary Benn stepping up for Labour
    • Labour's deputy leadership shortlist has been finalised, with Tom Watson, Caroline Flint, Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy and Angela Eagle all making it on to the ballot
    • Nigel Farage has said UKIP will "bust the myth" that leaving the EU would damage UK trade with other nations
    • UK unemployment has fallen again while wage growth hit a near four-year high, according to the latest official figures
    • Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has called for a cross-party review to work on long-term changes to England's exams and curriculum for 14 to 19-year-olds
  47. Labour in Nuneaton

    BBC political correspondent tweets...

  48. Countdown to the big event

    Can you believe it? It's not much more than an hour to go until Newsnight's Labour leadership hustings.

    It's like Christmas eve in the Newsnight office. And doubtless on the streets of Nuneaton too. And here's an early present in your stocking, some pictures of us getting ready:

    Hustings audience
    Hustings stage
  49. Green, amber, red

    Daily Record Westminster editor tweets...

  50. 'Very personal' choice

    A few of today's newspaper front pages cite a study saying that women need to freeze their eggs by 35 and have a child no later than 38. Jeremy Hunt is asked for his views, but he says he doesn't want to answer the question, as it's a "very personal" decision for women and up to them what they want to do.

  51. 'Not comfortable at all'

    The first caller on LBC had asked Mr Hunt about the morning after pill, which has been officially licensed for use by girls under 16 for the first time. Asked how he would feel about it if his daughters bought it, he says he is "not comfortable at all, as a father" with the idea.

    "But as I understand it that isn't exactly what's happening," he says, adding: "We do have to recognise that preventing unwanted pregnancies that could completely change a young girl's life is not something politicians are ever going to be able to legislate against, so there are situations in extremis where you have to do things that would make any mum or dad feel slightly uncomfortable."

  52. Burnham's Mid Staffs reaction 'disappointing'

    Jeremy Hunt is talking about the Mid-Staffs NHS hospital scandal, which happened between 2005 and 2009 when Andy Burnham was health secretary under the last Labour government. Asked if he blames Mr Burnham, he says he does not, but adds "I do blame that government for the culture in the NHS," at the time, which he says was about "targets" and "bullying and intimidation" of staff.

    Mr Hunt goes on to criticise Mr Burnham's reaction to the scandal, saying it was "disappointing". He would have liked to have seen "more honesty" on what went wrong, he adds.

  53. Relationship underestimated?

    European Parliament President Martin Schulz is to meet David Cameron in London on Thursday morning and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in the afternoon.

    Mr Schulz told the BBC he wanted to listen to Mr Cameron's renegotiation aims and will be expecting concrete proposals. "Many on the continent underestimate the importance of the UK and many in the UK underestimate the importance of the continent, we need to bring these groups together," he said.

  54. Hunt on Labour leadership

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is on LBC radio, where he's asked about the Labour leadership contest. Mr Hunt says he can't understand what's going on with it. Asked who he would like to see win, the health secretary says that from the Conservative point of view the more left-wing the candidate - citing Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham - that wins the better. But he adds that, for the country, he would like to see the party move to the centre ground to get rid of "the politics of envy".

  55. Goldsmith's fresh Heathrow campaign

    BBC London political editor Tim Donovan

    Zac Goldsmith

    Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park, has launched a fresh campaign to oppose expansion at Heathrow Airport. The independent commission on airport expansion headed by Howard Davies is expected to make recommendations shortly.

    Mr Goldsmith, who is campaigning to be the Conservatives' candidate for London Mayor and is a long standing opponent of airport expansion, produced a map demonstrating the effect of new flightpaths, he said more than a million people across London would be affected by the noise generated by a third runway.

    He said they would become an army taking part in "a campaign the likes of which you have never seen before."

  56. 7% of the world's welfare bill?

    By BBC political producer Rebecca Keating

    At Prime Minister's Questions, Chancellor George Osborne said the UK had "1 per cent of the world's population, 4 per cent of its GDP, but we undertake 7 per cent of the world's welfare spending". His eye-catching phrase was a reference to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2012 claim that "Europe today accounts for just over 7 per cent of the world's population, produces around 25 per cent of global GDP and has to finance 50 per cent of global social spending". 

    The Treasury said the British Chancellor's variation on the theme came from World Bank calculations, which were based on United Nations "social protection spending" data. The figure included, among other things, benefits, tax credits and pensions - all payments critics of the figure pointed out were not available to many people in poorer nations. 

    But did the new figure signal a change in the Chancellor's plans for cutting the welfare budget? The Treasury said his remarks were an "illustration" of the need to save money but Mr Osborne's target remained cutting £12 billion from the budget, excluding pensions, rather than reducing that 7 per cent. 

  57. 'No BAME' candidates

    Labour MP and London mayoral hopeful tweets...

  58. Britain preparing for Grexit

    EU and Greek flags

    The Treasury has made contingency plans to deal with "serious economic risks" to Britain of possible Greek exit from the eurozone, Downing Street has confirmed.

    Details of the plans were not given, but Treasury officials confirmed that Chancellor George Osborne regards "Grexit" as "a very serious risk" to the economy of both Britain and the wider world.

    It comes as Greece's central bank warned for the first time that the country could be on a "painful course" to default and exit from both the eurozone and the EU.

  59. Labour hustings behind the scenes

    Laura Kuenssberg at Labour Leadership Debate in Nuneaton

    Jeremy Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall are be questioned by local residents in Nuneaton later, to find out why they should become the party's next leader.

    BBC Newsnight's Laura Kuenssberg, who is hosting the debate, takes us behind the scenes to explain more about tonight's event.

  60. Tories 'should want strong Labour leader'

    The Daily Telegraph

    Jeremy Corbyn

    In the Telegraph, Julia Hartley-Brewer sets out why she thinks the Conservatives shouldn't be backing Jeremy Corbyn for Labour's next leader - and should want the opposition party to pick "a strong winner" instead.

    While it may seem "fun to rub salt into the bloody and gaping wounds" of Labour's election defeat by signing up to Labour to vote for the left-winger, Tory voters "should be careful what they wish for", she says.

    "Just like a market economy needs more than one supplier so that consumers get to choose who they buy from and at what price, a vibrant democracy needs more than one strong party to battle over ideas and policies.

    "If the Labour Party implodes into an apology for the Judean People's Front (or the People's Front of Judea, depending where your allegiances lie) it won't just damage Labour, it will chip away at the power of British voters to tell politicians what they want - and to get it."

  61. 'The best leader Labour never had'

    The Daily Telegraph

    In the Telegraph, Cathy Newman wonders why Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy - currently acting - leader has never been given a crack at the top job.

    "Even the Prime Minister paid tribute to her tenacity last month during the Queen's Speech debate, praising her for 'never giving up and always fighting for the things that you believe in'.

    "Few of the leadership contenders - barring perhaps Harman's protegee Kendall - are gutsy enough to have the courage of their convictions. But in an age when politicians are slaves to the polls and focus groups, the acting leader isn't afraid to speak from the heart."

  62. Labour 'verification process'

    MailOnline political editor tweets...

  63. Confronting Labour's demons

    BBC Midlands political editor Patrick Burns

    Labour's choice of Nuneaton as the venue for the first of their hustings debates with their four candidates for the party leadership is a brave one: especially considering it's to be televised live on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel from 7pm on Wednesday 17 June 2015. (and on this page)

    The very name of the place must send a shiver down the collective spine of the party, just as Basildon did in 1992. I was there at the count on election night when the significance of what was unfolding before our eyes was lost on no-one.

    Read more from Patrick.

  64. Deputy line-up

    Labour deputy leadership contenders

    Here is the shortlist for Labour's deputy leader contest, which was finalised this lunchtime. Can you name them all?

  65. Kate Hoey: Labour 'extremely unpatriotic'

    The New Statesman's George Eaton has done an interesting interview with long-standing Eurosceptic MP Kate Hoey, who blames the party's "extremely unpatriotic" outlook for it losing support from its traditional working class supporters.

    "They feel very strongly about their country and we have been extremely unpatriotic as a party to our country. There's just a feeling that we're half-hearted about being British, we're half-hearted about the monarchy, we're half-hearted about the way we see our country in the world. I'm very proud of being British and I think the United Kingdom is a force for good in the world and we seem to feel all the time that we have to put ourselves down because somehow that might upset people," she said.

    Ms Hoey, who is behind the new group, Labour For Britain, which will challenge the pro EU stance of the party leadership, also rejected the idea of her leading the 'Out' campaign.

  66. Osborne's 'dithering'

    At Prime Minister's Questions earlier, George Osborne said the government was considering a cap on the amount savers are charged to withdraw money from their pensions.

    Reacting to the announcement, shadow pensions minister Lord Bradley said Labour had long been calling for one.

    "George Osborne's dithering over a cap on rip-off fees and charges has meant savers who want to access their retirement income have risked losing thousands of pounds.

    "Labour has repeatedly called for a cap on fees and charges and we'll continue to press the government to act in the interests of savers."

  67. PM on 'good and positive' talks

    David Cameron has described talks with his Italian counterpart, Matteo Renzi, in Milan on his plans to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the European Union as "good and positive".

    Mr Cameron said the pair discussed the "importance of reform and change in Europe" and had "common perspectives and some commons ideas on the need for competitiveness and flexibility".

    Mr Renzi said it was a "priority" for Italy that the UK remained in the EU. "The European Union for us without the UK is impossible so we will discuss in the next weeks and the next months about this point," he said.

    The two men also discussed the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.

  68. 'Progressive pacts'

    Caroline Lucas

    Green MP Caroline Lucas has issued a challenged to the Labour Party: to "embrace a progressive, multiparty politics". In an article for the Guardian, the Brighton Pavilion MP makes the case for electoral reform, including a move to a "fairer" voting system than the current first-past-the-post, which is "designed to keep power in the hands of the few".

    She moots the idea of "progress pacts" with Labour, the Greens, Lib Dems, SNP and Plaid Cymru giving local branches "the ability to back candidates from other parties if they wish".

  69. Only PM 'thankfully' to be assassinated

    Conservative David Mackintosh

    Conservative David Mackintosh makes his maiden speech to the House as MP of Northampton South, a seat previously held by Tory Brian Binley and 19th Century politician Spencer Perceval, "the only prime minister, thankfully, to be assassinated".

    Turning to this debate, he says it is "a key priority" for him to "prepare generations to continue the economic growth that we started".

  70. 'Osborne's big audition'

    The Daily Telegraph

    Mr Benn "let the air out of [Osborne's] bouncy castle, writes parliamentary sketchwriter Michael Deacon. He says any opportunity for Osborne to use his "audition for the top job" to "show off his wit, sock a reeling Labour around the chops, and win hearty roars from the MPs behind him" was undone after Labour stand-in Hilary Benn "calmly and politely" asked" six questions about suicide bombers, Islamist radicalisation, terrorism and refugees.

    "What a swindle! The rotten louse had only gone and forced Mr Osborne to talk about serious issues! He hadn't given the Chancellor an inch of room for cheap jokes and putdowns - or even for boasting about the latest jobs figures, or the growth in wages! The swine! The no-good scheming snake!"

  71. PMQs reaction: 'Solid performance'

    The Spectator

    George Osborne

    George Osborne's PMQs debut was "a solid performance", says The Spectator's James Forsyth, who thought the chancellor "seemed unfazed by the occasion". Forsyth says Mr Osborne's "only misstep" was pressing ahead with "a pre-scripted joke" in response to Hilary Benn's sombre opening question.

    But what was most revealing, he writes, was "the slick nature of the Osborne parliamentary operation", noting that the Tory benches cheered loudly when he rose to speak, with even more friendly questions from the Tory backbenches than usual.

  72. Iraq Inquiry delays

    There's been much commentary on the delayed Iraq Inquiry today, with David Cameron saying he is "fast losing patience" with it and the subject cropping up in today's Prime Minister's Questions. Read more here.

  73. Committee ballots

    A reminder that MPs are today voting to elect chairmen/chairwomen to the various Commons select committees. The parliamentary authorities say the results will be announced "as soon as the votes are counted which could be tonight or tomorrow". Twelve have already been elected unopposed, including the two committees held by the SNP, the Treasury Committee and the Communities and Local Government Committee.

  74. Deputy Labour race in numbers

    Independent on Sunday columnist tweets...

  75. Lending votes

    Independent on Sunday columnist tweets...

  76. Farage focus on economic case

    By BBC political correspondent Alex Forsyth

    Nigel Farage

    UKIP deliberately chose an economic argument to launch the opening salvo of its EU Referendum campaign rather than retreat to its well-rehearsed case on immigration. By doing so it hopes to get its views in early on the issues it thinks the pro-EU campaign will put front and centre.

    Flanked by senior figures, with the party's only MP Douglas Carswell & former MP Mark Reckless in the audience in a show of solidarity, Nigel Farage said his party would play a "vital part" in the debate and use its existing structure to galvanise Eurosceptic support.

    Watching from the audience was the UKIP leader’s former senior advisor, Raheem Kassam, who left the party after internal disagreements over his approach. Now editor of Breitbart London, he was there as a journalist but kept a close eye on Mr Farage, who still has his full support. Although Mr Farage has admitted the No to the EU campaign should be led by someone outside politics without “political baggage” he sees his party – and himself - as essential players, and he’s starting to rally the troops.

  77. Have fun going through those!

  78. Not yet complete

    BBC assistant political editor tweets...

  79. Through the archway

    BBC Newsnight chief correspondent tweets...

  80. Farage: I'm appalled

    Nigel Farage

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said he's "appalled" at the actions of former UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson who has joined forces with the French party Front National to form a far-right alliance in the European Parliament.

    Janice Atkinson, who is a South East MEP, has become vice president of the group set up by Marine Le Pen, called the Europe of Nations and Freedom. She was expelled from UKIP for "bringing the party into disrepute" over an expenses claim.

    Mr Farage said: "I have got no control over what she wants to do but I'm appalled over what she's done."

  81. 'A wide choice'

    BBC Radio 4's World at One

    Labour's Wes Streeting is asked a question on the Labour deputy leadership contest, with the final candidates on the ballot having been announced this afternoon. The Ilford North MP says he's backing Stella Creasy, but feared this morning that it would just be a two-horse race between Tom Watson and Caroline Flint who had already passed the 35 nominations target.

    He pays tribute to Rushanara Ali for pulling out shortly before nominations closed so that her supporters could nominate others to get on the ballot. "I'm sad she's not in the race but I think Labour Party members across the party will be grateful to her. She could have hung on for the sake of pride but she didn't. She's given members a wide choice, and a good choice," he adds.

  82. 'Doomsday cult'

    BBC Radio 4's World at One

    Conservative Nusrat Ghani, the new MP for Wealden, says the case of three UK sisters feared to have travelled to Syria with their nine children is "extraordinary" and must be "heartbreaking" for the families. She says more cross-party work is needed to tackle the "doomsday cult" of Islamic State Wes Streeting is the Labour MP for Ilford North.

    Meanwhile, new Labour MP Wes Streeting highlights the use of social media and the internet in people becoming radicalised. He says the government's Prevent programme - aimed at tackling radicalisation - needs to be rethought and redrawn.

  83. Farage drinks to a favourite cause

    Nigel Farage

    Nigel Farage went through a phase of not being pictured with a pint in his hand (we can't remember it either but it's true, apparently). 

    But the UKIP leader has made an exception to help save one of his favourite boozers from closure. 

    Like so many other pubs in central London, The Westminster Arms - a popular watering hole of politicos and civil servants - could be replaced by luxury flats. 

    UKIP watchers will be interested to note that the man running the Save the Westminster Arms campaign is none other than Raheem Kassam, Mr Farage's erstwhile adviser and drinking buddy who departed in controversial circumstances a few weeks ago.

  84. Leader auditions

    Labour MP tweets...

  85. Chilcot Inquiry delays

    BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith

    The fact that David Cameron has gone public with his frustrations about delays to Sir John Chilcot's inquiry into the 2003 war underlines the anger at how long it it is taking. The inquiry has gone on for six years now, almost longer than British troops were involved in combat operations there. But there's no indication that Sir John's report will be published any time soon as he's still waiting for the "right of reply" of the people mentioned in it. This has prompted calls for the inquiry to be axed, an interim report published and a deadline set. At the moment, however, Downing Street is holding back, saying that it is an independent inquiry. But pressure really is mounting on Sir John and on Downing Street to intervene.

  86. Attention to detail

    Huffington Post political editor tweets...

  87. Tories backing Corbyn

    The final guest on Daily Politics was the Toby Young, who explained why he had joined the #ToriesforCorbyn campaign and paid £3 to become an affiliate member of the Labour Party. He says he wants to vote in the leadership campaign and will support Jeremy Corbyn to draw attention to the "idiocy" of having the MP on the ballot paper. While accepting his behaviour is a "bit sophamoric", he says he is making a serious point that allowing Mr Corbyn - who he says has taken "extreme positions" on a range of issues - into the contest demonstrates that Labour is not fit for power.

  88. Labour deputy contenders

    During PMQs, Labour confirmed that five candidates have enough nominations to stand for deputy leader. They are: Tom Watson, Caroline Flint, Stella Creasy, Ben Bradshaw and Angela Eagle. Rushanara Ali withdrew earlier this morning with her backers helping others to pass the threshold.

  89. Order!

    House of Commons


    In the closing minutes of Wales Questions earlier, the impending PMQs threw the Commons into a "state of high excitement in anticipation", according to the Speaker as he rose to his feet.

    He asked MPs to quieten down so answers to Welsh Ministers could be heard and told them that the people of Wales would "appreciate" it if MPs took taking their issues "seriously".

  90. Landale's verdict

    More from the BBC's deputy political editor James Landale: He says Mr Osborne would not have expected a question on radicalisation and he may reflect on whether he should have shelved the pre-scripted political joke about Bennites in his first answer. However, he said Mr Osborne proved "he could do it" and there were no "major clangers". As for Mr Benn, he says some Labour MPs will wonder after his performance why he is not standing to become leader.

  91. A tough gig

    Speaking on Daily Politics, Priti Patel says PMQs is a "tough gig" and Mr Osborne gave a "confident and commanding performance" across a range of issues. For Labour, Emma Reynolds says Mr Benn did well but said it was still right that Harriet Harman continued on a week-to-week basis until a new leader was elected.

  92. Reality Check: Apprenticeships

    Anthony Reuben

    Head of statistics

    Conservative MP Richard Harrington says there have been more than two million apprenticeships started. There have indeed been more than two million since 2010, although analysis from the House of Commons Library shows that the number started last year was down 70,000 on the year before.

  93. The House empties

    House of Commons


    Image caption: PMQs....
    Image caption: ...filing out...
    Image caption: ...and onto the first Opposition Day debate
  94. Landale's view

    The BBC's deputy political editor James Landale says Mr Benn sought to "crowd out" the chancellor by asking questions on serious matters, such as radicalisation and migrants. This meant that Mr Osborne could not get onto his "favoured political territory", such as the economy.

  95. Defence spending

    Veteran Tory Sir Gerald Howarth urges Mr Osborne to say that "defence of the realm" is his top priority by promising to spend 2% of GDP on defence spending. The chancellor says there is a clear link between a strong economy and strong defence and points out that the 2% target is currently being met. He ends the session by urging MPs to reflect on the sinking of HMS Lancastria in June 1940, which he said was the largest loss of its kind in British naval history but was kept secret at the time for military reasons. Some of the survivors are still alive, he adds, bringing the session to an end.

  96. Libraries

    Labour's Jim Dowd asked about library lending rights and the impact on them by the growing number of libraries staffed by volunteers. Mr Osborne says he will look at the issue.

  97. Unemployment figures

    A series of Tory MPs asked about the employment figures, Alan Mak being the latest up. Mr Osborne uses this to poke fun at Labour, saying that Labour MPs have not asked a question of the subject in the past 32 minutes and this says volumes about the opposition.

  98. Radicalisation

    We are nearing the end of the session now. In response to Labour's Paula Sherriff, George Osborne says efforts to tackle the radicalisation of young people will be a "generational task" and will not be solved "overnight, or in a few weeks or maybe even in this Parliament".

  99. The Verdict: PM material?

    Norman Smith

    Assistant political editor

    George Osborne

    So what do we learn from today's Prime Minister's Questions? The "George Osborne for next Tory leader" campaign is still on track.

    PMQs could have been a nasty knock for his ambitions if he'd fluffed his lines or stumbled. He didn't. In fact he looked pretty comfortable standing in for David Cameron.

    Tory MPs cheered him as he rattled off government achievements on the economy; Labour and the SNP didn't rattle him; And Theresa May sitting nearby even offered him a bit of help with one of the questions on migrants. (Perhaps through gritted teeth).

    As for Boris. Where was he?

  100. Chairman hopeful

    Andrew Tyrie

    Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie, hoping to retain his chairmanship of the Commons Treasury Committee, stands to ask the Chancellor if the Prime Minister will consider upping his number of meetings with the Commons Liaison Committee.

    Just a reminder, today MPs vote in a secret ballot to elect chairs for the 27 Commons Select Committee (full list of candidates can be found here ). 

  101. NHS commitment

    A series of regional questions about funding for rail services in the south-west of England, manufacturing in the east Midlands and funding for a hospital in south London. Mr Osborne uses the latter question to restate the government's commitment to provide £8bn in extra annual funding for the NHS, saying this could only be done on the back of a strong economy.

  102. Teacher stabbing

    Labour's Judith Cummins raises the "shocking" stabbing of a teacher in her Bradford constituency by a pupil and asks what steps are being taken to tackle knife crime in schools. Mr Osborne praises the staff of Dixons Academy for how they dealt with the incident and says a number of steps have been taken, including enabling staff to search pupils' bags.

  103. Friendly questions?

    Daily Politics reporter tweets...

  104. Pic: Caroline Lucas

    Caroline Lucas
    Image caption: The Green MP presses Mr Osborne over the parliamentary pension funds and fossil fuels
  105. Reality Check: Housing benefit

    Emily Craig

    Political analyst

    Labour’s Heidi Alexander said that since 2010 the amount of Housing Benefit going to private landlords has risen by £1.5bn. She’s broadly correct. Statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions show £7.6bn was paid for "private rented sector" properties in 2009/10, compared with £9.1bn in 2014/15 (projected figures). As those figures are in cash terms, the increase is slightly smaller once inflation is taken into account.

  106. Elected unopposed

    A succession of questions from Tory and Labour members, including on welfare, transport and child sexual offences. Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie gets a laugh when he says that elections to select committee chairs have been a great success - since he was re-elected as head of the Treasury select committee unopposed. Mr Osborne says he agrees but says Mr Tyrie was not the best advertisement as he was "unelected and opposed". Mr Bercow intervenes, suggesting the chancellor meant to say "elected, unopposed".

  107. Climate change

    George Osborne is pressed on climate changes by Green MP Caroline Lucas, who asks about Parliament's investments in fossil fuel technologies through pension funds. Mr Osborne says this matter is "way above his pay grade" but restates his commitment to reduce carbon emissions in an affordable manner that will not harm the economy.

  108. Reality Check: Building homes

    Anthony Reuben

    Head of statistics

    George Osborne said the previous government built more council houses in the last five years than New Labour did during their time in office. This is correct, but to date Labour have built more Housing Association homes – another type of socially rented affordable home.

    Looking at DCLG figures, the government built 2,780 local authority homes between 1997-8 and 2009-10 while the coalition built 8,740 between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

    Between the same years, 243,530 Housing Association dwellings were built under the Labour government while 115,130 were built under the coalition.

  109. Reality check: Growing wages

    Anthony Reuben

    Head of statistics

    Mr Osborne said that wages were growing faster than since the great recession. Today’s figures from the Office for National Statistics  estimated that average earnings in the UK grew by 2.7% in the three months to April, compared with the same period a year earlier. For pay excluding bonuses, this is the highest annual growth rate since the three months to February 2009. For pay including bonuses it is the highest annual growth rate since the three months to August 2011.

  110. Stepping up

    House of Commons


    Image caption: In case you are just joining us, a reminder that while the PM is away in Italy, the Chancellor is filling as David Cameron's deputy
  111. Pic: Backbenchers time

    David Rutley
    Image caption: David Rutley, Tory member for Macclesfield, joins backbench MPs in questioning the chancellor
  112. Fracking safety

    A friendly question from Tory MP Richard Harrington on apprenticeships. Mr Osborne uses it to congratulate the MP on becoming the PM's apprenticeship adviser. In response to a question from Labour's Geraint Davies on whether water in areas which have been fracked is safe, Mr Osborne says safeguards will be sought but points out the economic benefits from the energy technology.

  113. Child sex offences

    David Lammy, a Labour London mayoral candidate, asks about the increase in child sexual offences in London. Mr Osborne says he will examine whether more can be done to address the problem.

  114. Currying favour?

    A bit of banter between John Bercow and backbenchers livens up the session, with one excitable MP being warned that "this is what too much curry does for you".

  115. 'Catch the eye'

    House of Commons
    Image caption: MPs bob up and down to try and "catch the eye" of the Speaker to ask a question
  116. Deputy Labour leader line-up

    Former Labour deputy leader tweets...

  117. More on Chilcot

    Mr Osborne and Mr Benn's exchanges are now over. Next up is SNP leader Angus Robertson, who asks whether it is true the publication of the Chilcot Inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War has been delayed to next year and, if so, what responsibility the chancellor shares for that. Mr Osborne says the inquiry is independent but the report has been a long time coming and "patience is running out". He says he hopes it will be released as soon as possible.

  118. Osborne on Chilcot

    George Osborne
    Image caption: Responding to a question on the Chilcot Inquiry delays, Mr Osborne says it has been "a long time coming" and "people are running out of patience".
  119. 'Break the link'

    Mr Osborne stresses that it is "not realistic" for the UK to take in all those trying to come to Europe from north Africa and the international community must "break the link" between the refugees and the instability in their home countries which is forcing them to flee.

  120. Migrant crisis

    This has become quite a measured, low-key exchange on foreign affairs, with Mr Benn asking about efforts to help migrants risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean and help for "those in peril on the sea". Mr Osborne says the UK is a humanitarian country and will continue to help rescue those in danger.

  121. Third party status

    Angus Robertson
    Image caption: Time for the SNP's Westminster leader to question the chancellor
  122. A quiet Commons

    George Osborne
    Image caption: PMQs has taken on a sombre tone this week, dominated by questions on Islamic State and the Med migrants crisis
  123. Where's Boris?

    Evening Standard Journalist tweets

  124. Countering Islamic State

    Hilary Benn moves onto the wider issues of developments in the Middle East and urges different countries to put aside their differences to fight Islamic State which is the "common enemy". Mr Osborne welcomes reports that several senior Islamic State commanders have been killed in recent days but stresses that it will be eventually up to Iraq and Syria to lead the fight and define their own futures.

  125. Labour urged to back bill

    Mr Osborne says it is shocking that a 17-year British man could have become a suicide bomber in Iraq. He rejects claims that the government's counter-radicalisation programme is not working, saying that the last government stopped funding to organisations that should not be receiving them and says the government's Extremism Bill goes further to disrupts those plotting to commit offences abroad. He urges Labour to back the bill as part of working towards a consensus.

  126. Helping hand?

    Spectator political editor tweets...

  127. Playing by the rules

    Sunday Times deputy political editor tweets...

  128. Wrong move?

    Sky deputy political editor tweets...

  129. Bennites but no Benn

    Mr Osborne says Hilary Benn's father Tony Benn, would be proud that his son is asking the questions for Labour at PMQs. But he also has a dig at Labour's leadership contest, saying there is "no Benn standing but plenty of Bennites".

  130. Benn's question

    Mr Benn's first question is about reports that a 17-year old British national who reportedly blew himself up while fighting for Isis. He asks whether there is a proper system for airlines to report unaccompanied minors travelling to countries like Syria and Iraq.

  131. Pensions

    Second up is a friendly question from a Tory MP on pensions and savings. Hilary Benn is now on his feet and congratulates Mr Osborne's appointment as first secretary of state.

  132. A double first

    Hilary Benn
    Image caption: Mr Benn - also making his PMQs debut - congratulates the chancellor on his appointment
  133. Pic: Osborne in action

    House of Commons


    Image caption: A different angle on the Chancellor's debut PMQs
  134. Pic: Osborne in action

    George Osborne
  135. Housing

    The first question, from Labour's Heidi Alexander, is about house building and housing benefit in London. He says he is aware there is an "acute housing shortage" in London but says the Conservatives have built more housing in one year than the last Labour government did in 13 years and trumpets today's employment and earnings growth.

  136. More on Labour deputy race

    Daily Mirror political editor tweets...

  137. We're off

    George Osborne is on his feet in the Commons, to loud cheers from the Conservative benches. He informs the House that the PM is in Italy and he has "been asked to reply".

  138. Beware Benn

    Hilary Benn could be a formidable opponent, James Landale suggests. He has been around a long time and has a "caustic wit and degree of sarcasm", he adds.

  139. Audition?

    George Osborne is in his seat. The BBC's deputy political editor James Landale says it is an audition for the chancellor with other MPs thinking "has he got it and can he do it?"

  140. Osborne prepares

    Previewing Mr Osborne's appearance, the BBC's Norman Smith says PMQs is "another ball game" for politicians than other Commons occasions with questions coming "thick and fast" and participants needing to "think on their feet".

  141. Warm welcome

    PA parliamentary editor tweets...

  142. PMQs line-up

    PA parliamentary editor tweets...

  143. Jeering the jeers

    Telegraph sketchwriter tweets...

  144. 'Dividing up the pie'

    House of Commons


    Stephen Crabb

    Questions are coming in thick and fast from the floor.

    Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville-Roberts asks the Welsh Secretary what he would say to the people in Wales, 78% of them, who believe that Wales should have the same level of funding per head as Scotland.

    The Welsh Secretary replies that the trouble with "seeking parity with Scotland" is you have to "start dividing up the whole pie" but "we are delivering a fair funding floor for Wales" that will correct the way the Barnett Formula operates for Wales.

  145. Game, set and match

    BBC reporter tweets...

  146. EU referendum spending

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    Employment minister Priti Patel is also a guest on Daily Politics. Asked if the European Union should be able to spend unlimited sums of money on campaigning for a Yes vote, she says the referendum is "not about European propaganda" but about a successful renegotiation of the UK's membership and a "fair" vote. For Labour, Emma Reynolds says there should be spending constraints on the various campaigns and denies that the Yes campaign will have an unfair advantage because of business support. While it is right that the voice of business is heard, she says the No campaign has been preparing for this moment for a very long time.

  147. Tick tock

    Labour deputy leadership contender tweets...

  148. Downing Street on Grexit

    At the morning press briefing, the Prime Minister's Official spokeswoman has said the government is "stepping up" preparations for the potential consequences if Greece were to leave the eurozone.

    While declining to go into the specifics on how the government was preparing, she said "we are making sure we are taking all necessary steps for all eventualities". She said that the government was looking at a whole range of things including the impact on banks and the financial centre and the impact on tourists.

    She added: "You can expect that we are continuing to make sure we have the right plans in place and stepping up preparations given where the discussions have got to."

  149. Cameron's tour

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    David Cameron is continuing his European charm offensive today, visiting Italy and Luxembourg. Bulgarian foreign minister Daniel Mitov tells the BBC that EU countries want to see the UK's ideas for reform in "black and white" before gauging their likely success. He says if the principle of freedom of movement to live and work across Europe is preserved, then "other things can be discussed". The negotiations will "take time", he adds.

    Bulgarian foreign minister Daniel Mitov
  150. Labour leader race

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    Emma Reynolds

    The Daily Politics is under way on BBC Two. Labour's Emma Reynolds is asked about in-fighting within her party as it seeks to choose a new leader. She says descriptions of supporters of leadership contender Liz Kendall, including herself, as "New Labour Taliban" by rival candidates were "bizarre" and had "crossed the line". She says the contest must be "as positive as possible" since Labour will have a new leader within months and everyone will have to "rally behind" him or her.

  151. Arnie in town

    Evening Standard political editor tweets...

  152. Arnie in town

    Evening Standard political editor tweets...

  153. Chuka backs Stella

    Labour shadow minister tweets...

  154. Inside the chamber

    House of Commons
    Image caption: With Wales questions under way, many eager MPs have secured themselves a seat for PMQs
  155. Labour deputy race

    Daily Mirror political editor tweets...

  156. The succession

    More on PMQs: When David Cameron said before the election campaign that he would not serve a third term as prime minister, he appeared to name three potential successors. Mr Osborne, Home Secretary Theresa May and London Mayor Boris Johnson. Whatever its critics say, PMQs is a real test of a potential leader's mettle so it will be interesting to see how Mr Osborne fares today.

  157. Labour leadership debate


    Labour leadership logo

    Is today the most important day in the Labour leadership race? It's Newsnight's hustings, yes, so this is is a bit self-promoting of me. But it's going to be the first occasion when all Labour activists across the country watch the contenders at the same moment. More importantly - it will be the first chance for the general public to form a view. The influence that has on Labour Party activists is what will be telling.

    Read the full post on Newsnight Live.

  158. Labour deputy leadership race

    New Statesman journalist tweets...

  159. Commons kick off

    House of Commons


    Business in the House starts bang on 11:30 BST with Wales Questions. 

    For the next half hour leading up to PMQs, Welsh secretary Stephen Crabb will be answering MPs on issues ranging from the impact of the EU referendum on Wales to returning control of health policy to Westminster.

  160. Osborne's big day

    Today is a big day for George Osborne, who will take his first PMQs when he deputises for the prime minister at noon. The 44-year old has been an MP since 2001 and was instrumental in David Cameron's election as Conservative leader in 2005. He served as shadow chancellor for nearly five years before entering No 11 Downing Street in May 2010, becoming one of the youngest occupants of the office in its history. After the Conservatives' election victory in May, he was given the additional title of first secretary of state, previously held by William Hague. That means he is David Cameron's de facto deputy.

  161. Cooper's team's pledge

    Yvette Cooper's campaign team for the Labour leadership has promised it will not give any "unattributed negative briefings about other candidates". The pledge follows a complaint from Liz Kendall's team, after newspaper journalists were briefed by anonymous rivals that her supporters were part of the "New Labour Taliban". Ms Cooper's campaign manager, Shabana Mahmood, says getting "drawn into unpleasant anonymous briefing... hurts only ourselves and it's what the Tories want us to do".

    Writing in the Huffington Post, she pledged that "if anyone is speaking on behalf of the campaign, they will do so explicitly on the record". "If anyone else is speaking to you and claiming to do so on Yvette's behalf and wants to criticise opponents - you can take it from me that they do not speak for the campaign or Yvette - and if she or I get to hear about it they will have lost our trust and our respect," she wrote.

  162. TUC on jobless figures

    More reaction to the unemployment figures. TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady says beyond the strong headline numbers, there are pockets of real weakness in the labour market. She says: "Although today's improvements are welcome, there is still a long way to go for youth unemployment and under-employment. Real wage growth remains too reliant on low inflation, and even if prices remain exceptionally low we are facing a lost decade on pay growth." But the Institute for Directors is more positive. "With real wages growing and unemployment continuing to fall, today's figures indicate the UK economy is well along the road of recovery," says its chief economist James Sproule. "Falling energy prices and low inflation have eased the pressure on companies and boosted their balance sheets. Many are now able to pass these benefits on to their staff through pay rises and bonuses."

  163. On air from 11:30 BST

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    Jo Coburn and Andrew Neil will get analysis of George Osborne's first time standing in for David Cameron at PMQs, when they are joined by Labour's Emma Reynolds and Conservative Priti Patel. They will get reaction to the PM's tour of Europe, meeting the leaders as he seeks a new EU deal, from the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov. After PMQs, there will be a film from ex-Labour minister Andrew Adonis with his ideas on how to build more homes - you can watch it in advance here.

    Andrew Adonis

    And Toby Young will talk about #ToriesForCorbyn and why some on the right are getting behind the campaign to help left-winger Jeremy Corbyn win the Labour Party leadership race.

  164. Next CBI president

    Some news from the business world. Paul Drechsler, the former chief executive of the Wates construction firm, has been nominated as president designate of the CBI, the leading employers group in the UK. This is what he has to say about the UK's relationship with the European Union, a critical issue for business. "The coming months will be dominated by the prospect of an EU referendum and my focus will be on working with businesses and the government to champion ambitious reform to ensure the EU delivers for businesses and citizens at home and on the continent."

  165. Labour on jobless figures

    Labour has welcomed the continuing fall in unemployment but pointed out that 740,000 young people are still jobless. "It's clear the government needs to do far more to give young people the chance to earn a living," says shadow minister Stephen Timms. "Ministers are failing to ensure young people get the best start in life."

  166. Labour deputy deadline

    It is deadline day for those hoping to become Labour deputy leader. Candidates need the nominations of 34 other MPs - 35 in total - if they are to make it on o the ballot paper and take part in the contest. Tom Watson and Caroline Flint have already done so. Will the other candidates - Stella Creasy, Ben Bradshaw, Angela Eagle and Rushanara Ali - also make it? With nominations closing at midday, will find out later. You can see the latest total for each MP on the Labour Party's website.

  167. 'The plan is working'

    BBC News Channel

    Employment minister Priti Patel tells the BBC News Channel the latest figures show the government's economic plan is working and is boosting people's "job and financial security". Since 2010, the Conservatives have created the "right conditions" for businesses to invest, she says. Asked about the comparatively small fall in youth unemployment, Ms Patel says jobless levels among under-24s rose to record levels under Labour and it will "take time" to bring that down. But she insists the government's emphasis on skills, earning or learning and increasing access to the jobs market is the right one and will pay dividends.

  168. Labour want double Osborne

    George Osborne will be making his debut at PMQs at midday. But it seems that's not enough for Labour. Shadow chancellor Chris Leslie says it is a "pity" his counterpart "can't be bothered" to respond for the government to the opposition's debate on productivity later on Wednesday. "It is a serious issue that he keeps neglecting", Mr Leslie has tweeted. We're guessing that making a PMQs debut is probably enough for one day in the Commons.

  169. A future President Obama?

    BBC Radio 4

    US First Lady Michelle Obama visited Downing Street yesterday during a two-day trip to the UK. But could she return in a different capacity in the future? Labour peer Baroness Oona King certainly thinks so. She has told the BBC that she believes Mrs Obama will run for president in the future. "She's got as much chance as Hillary (Clinton) does of making it," she told Radio 4's Today.

    Michelle Obama speaking to David and Samantha Cameron in Downing Street
  170. Farage on the Out campaign

    Nigel Farage has said he would be prepared to lead the No campaign in a future EU referendum but thinks those organising it will look for somebody a bit different. He told LBC earlier that he would play an "active role" in the debate and would be willing to front the campaign. But he added: "I suspect what we will see is somebody coming from completely outside of normal politics, somebody from the world of business or entertainment that hasn't got any political baggage at all." Several UKIP figures have touted businessman James Dyson as someone who fits that mould.

  171. More on employment figures

    More details on those employment and earnings figures published in the last half hour. Average earnings are now rising at their fastest rate since August 2011 while the number of people in work rose to a new record of 31.05 million, 114,000 more than in the previous quarter. It is no surprise that ministers have hailed the news, Cabinet Office minister Matthew Hancock describing the figures as "very good".

  172. Boris gets his own question time

    George Osborne is not the only prospective future Conservative leader facing questions today. London Mayor Boris Johnson will also take part in his monthly question time in the London Assembly. But will Mr Johnson, who is also now MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, make it along London's south bank in time to watch Mr Osborne's debut?

  173. Average earnings

    The Office for National Statistics has also announced that average earnings increased by 2.7% in the year to April, 0.4% up on the previous month. The BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith says this is significant, providing further evidence that after many years when pay was flat it is now moving upward.

  174. Public sector jobs

    Office for National Statistics tweets...

  175. BreakingBreaking News

    Figures just published show unemployment levels fell by 43,000 between February and April to 1.81 million. The number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits last month fell by 6,500 to 791,800.

  176. Pro-EU group responds to UKIP

    Pro-European campaign group, Business for New Europe, has challenged UKIP's claim that the UK would prosper if it left the European Union. Its campaign director Lucy Thomas says. "Any version of Out would leave us on our own in the corner, still having to accept the rules with no say over what they are. For a party claiming to be all about power and democracy, it's odd to argue for less influence and a far worse deal."

  177. Farage on EU membership

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage

    Moving on to more political matters, Nigel Farage says his party is publishing a pamphlet exposing what he says are "five myths" about the UK's membership of the EU, including the oft-stated claim that three million jobs depend on it. The Truth About Trade Beyond The EU booklet focuses on access to the Single Market, exports, concerns over isolation of the UK, free movement and trade agreements. If it left the EU, Mr Farage says the UK would continue to trade with other EU members, but in the UK's "own interests", as well as negotiate "lucrative" trade agreements with countries further afield.

  178. Farage on refugees

    The UKIP leader Nigel Farage has predicted that the number of refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean will reach "biblical proportions". Speaking on LBC Radio, Mr Farage said he thought there would be millions of such refugees coming to Europe over the next few years. Many could come to Britain if they were given EU passports by the Italian authorities, he said. He also again warned of the threat posed by Islamic State fighters coming to Europe as refugees.

  179. Cameron video message

    David Cameron has recorded his annual video message for Muslims observing Ramadan. In it, he says "as friends and families come together in contemplation and in fasting, we are reminded of those Muslim values - those British values - of community, family and charity". He adds: "I've talked a lot about one nation - about Britain being a country where everyone can get on - whatever their background and wherever they're from. British Muslims embody that spirit."

  180. Osborne at PMQs

    George Osborne has had plenty of time to study how PMQs works. He has sat next to David Cameron for most of the last ten years, initially in opposition and then in government. During that time, he has often been seen whispering into the PM's ear or suggesting how the PM might respond. But today, it is his turn to take the lead in the gladiatorial arena that is PMQs. Hilary Benn, who is also making his debut for Labour, has said he is looking forward to the encounter. What will he raise? Europe, the economy or something more unexpected.... Just over three hours to go until we find out.

  181. The day ahead

    What else can we look forward to today? At 09:30 BST, the latest employment and earnings figures will be published - as ever a key barometer of the strength of the economic recovery. And much later, the four candidates who are aiming to become Labour leader will take place in their first televised hustings. Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn will debate against each other on a BBC Newsnight special, to be broadcast on BBC Two, the BBC News Channel and on this page, from 19:00 BST.

  182. Labour Heathrow clash

    Labour contenders

    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".

    "My view is the way to proceed is no third runway at Heathrow," Mr Khan said, calling for "a better Heathrow, not a bigger one".

    Read more

  183. Labour clash over Heathrow

    Labour contenders

    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".

    "My view is the way to proceed is no third runway at Heathrow," Mr Khan said, calling for "a better Heathrow, not a bigger one".

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  184. Tory rebellion defeated

    House of Commons

    If you missed it last night, 27 Conservative MPs voted against the government over its EU referendum plans.

    The MPs backed an amendment to the EU Referendum Bill aimed at ensuring the government could not campaign to stay in the European Union in the weeks leading up to the poll.

    But they were comfortably defeated, with most Labour MPs abstaining. The vote came after ministers offered concessions on the campaign rules as well as the timing of the referendum.

    The government said the poll would not be held on 5 May 2016, the same day as elections to devolved parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    They will also review the application of "purdah" rules limiting government announcements in the run-up to polls. Sir Bill Cash's rebel amendment, which would have reinstated the purdah period, was defeated by 288 to 97.

    The amendment was backed by all the SNP's MPs, plus four Labour members, six from the DUP, three from Plaid Cymru, two from the SDLP and UKIP's Douglas Carswell.

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