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Summary

  1. David Cameron and Ed Miliband clash over the NHS at their weekly Prime Minister's Questions session
  2. Health secretary then faces Labour questions about new guidelines for hospitals declaring "major incidents"
  3. Ex-Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley apologises for likening Trident base to Auschwitz concentration camp
  4. There are 99 days to go until the General Election on 7 May
  5. Rolling coverage from the BBC's political team - beginning with Today and Breakfast through to Newsnight
  6. Listen to Today, 5Live, The World at One, PM and Today in Parliament by selecting the 'Live Coverage' tab
  7. Watch Breakfast, the BBC News Channel, Daily Politics, BBC Parliament, Newsnight by clicking on the 'Live Coverage' tab
  8. You can see the pick of the day's output by selecting the 'Key Video' tab

Live Reporting

By Holly Wallis, Tom Moseley and Adam Donald

All times stated are UK

Good night

That's all we've got for today - join us again for live coverage of the political scene at 06:00 tomorrow. The NHS has dominated today's headlines, whether over the integration of health and social care services, or questions about when hospitals are expected to declare a "major incident". There'll be plenty more of that to come in the months ahead. Tomorrow the parties will continue to set out their stall, and we'll be bringing you the news and reaction as it happens.

Tuition fees

Ed Miliband speaking
Reuters

At Prospect magazine,

Emran Mian wonders what exactly Labour's policy on higher education funding is.

Lessons from Greece

The Times

David Aaronovitch,

writing in Thursday's Times (behind a paywall), says: "Socialists like to think Syriza's victory will usher in a new economic order. In truth they are completely without ideas."

Terrorism

LBC

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has told LBC that aiding and abetting groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS - whether by Facebook support or donating funds, and including membership of the organisation - would be classified as illegal under a Green government, and "prosecuted under the full effect of the law".

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Thursday's Daily Mail: "Don't dial 999" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Tomorrow's Mail front page
Daily Mail

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Thursday's Telegraph: "Men must prove a woman said yes" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Tomorrow's Telegraph front page
The Daily Telegraph

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Thursday's FT: "Goldman and SocGen eye peer to peer lending push" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Tomorrow's FT front page
Financial Times

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Thursday's Times: "Bank chief condemns German austerity" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Tomorrow's Times front page
The Times

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Thursday's Guardian: "Rapists hiding tracks online, police warned" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Tomorrow's Guardian
The Guardian

Michael Savage, chief political correspondent for The Times

@michaelsavage

tweets: Lord Kinnock also calls for unity, warning internal splits will be far worse than the attacks of political opponents.

Michael Savage, chief political correspondent for The Times

@michaelsavage

tweets: In tomorrow's Times - Lord Kinnock warns Ed Miliband will receive worse treatment in this election campaign than he received in 1992.

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

tweets: Coming, #newsnight speaks to the journalist who was held hostage for 10 months by so-called Islamic State

Senior Greens

LBC

Natalie Bennett tells LBC there will "absolutely not" be a "scrap" between former party leader Caroline Lucas and herself over who appears in the TV debates. She says she expects "at the moment" that she will appear in the debates, but media and campaign appearances by the party's senior figures will be split.

Matthew Goodwin, associate professor at Nottingham University

@GoodwinMJ

tweets: Again look at Lab & Ukip. "Society becoming less fair" (agree)

Lab 78%

Ukip 75%

LD 67%

Con 42%

Source: YouGov http://bit.ly/1uAxDFH

Allegra Stratton, BBC Newsnight political editor

@BBCAllegra

tweets: 4/ I suspect that Brady may prefer not to join actual team, but instead to run rule over agreement at key moments. http://bbc.in/1z48VTG

and

tweets: Chris Huhne, 2010 negotiator, tells us: "The first + foremost lesson: make sure everybody has hands dipped in blood on both sides, or all 3"

Green policies

LBC

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett tells LBC radio that some of the party's aspirations listed on its website are not likely to be in the party's "fully-costed manifesto" - which will appear in March - but are hopes for the next few decades.

High society

British company Debrett's - which describes itself as "the trusted source on British social skills, etiquette and style" - has released its annual list of the 500 most influential people in Britain.

Its politics section contains many familiar names, and a few notable absences.

Allegra Stratton, BBC Newsnight political editor

@BBCAllegra

tweets: 1/ on Newsnight: expect Tory backbench 22 cttee to have role in coalition negotiations. Not just secret ballot after. http://bbc.in/1z48VTG

and

tweets: 2/ ideas being discussed in No 10: either chair of 22 cttee Graham Brady is in actual negotiating team, or he is consulted throughout

and

tweets: 3/ Liam Fox tells us if there's a coalition: "I would have thought the parli party wd demand some sort of say in what the conditions were".

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Thursday's Independent: "Outcry over doctors' 'cash for referrals'" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday

Tomorrow's Independent front page
The Independent

Today in Parliament, 23:30

BBC Radio 4

The Palace of Westminster at night
BBC

Join the BBC's Today in Parliament team at 23:30 on Radio 4 for the highlights from today's action in the Palace of Westminster. On the programme: the best bits from Prime Minister's Questions; robust debate in the Commons over healthcare policy; the House of Lords talk counter-terrorism; and Northern Ireland Office ministers answer MPs.

Counter-terror plans criticised

Sean Curran

Parliamentary correspondent, BBC News

Eliza Manningham-Buller
BBC

A former head of MI5 has criticised plans by Home Secretary Theresa May to put a programme to stop young Muslims being radicalised by extremists on a statutory footing. At the moment the Prevent programme involves community groups but the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill gives some organisations and councils legal duties.

During a House of Lords debate on the bill, Lady Manningham-Buller, who was head of the security service at the time of the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, added her voice to criticism of the plans. A number of peers complained that the proposals would undermine freedom of speech in universities because non-violent extremists would be banned from speaking.

Lady Manningham-Buller, a cross-bench (or independent) peer, said she understood the government's concern, but added "we have been reminded only recently that we have a right to insult and we should avoid double standards here". She said the work to stop people becoming extremists needed to be carried out with "sensitivity, proportionality and care", and she feared that putting the scheme on a statutory basis in universities would jeopardise all three.

Newsnight preview

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

Tune in to

@BBCNewsnight tonight for more in-depth analysis of the Greek elections, as well as the latest on the hostages being held by Islamic State. The programme's political editor, Allegra Stratton, will be reporting on
apparent plans for the Conservative Party to give its backbenchers a key role in any coalition talks after the election.

NHS in 'chronic state'

The Daily Telegraph

The Telegraph's

Allison Pearson thinks British politicians are unwilling to tell the truth about the NHS: "There is more chance of calling an ambulance in south Wales and having it turn up in under an hour than there is of the main parties admitting the chronic state of the NHS they claim to love so much," she says.

Newer Labour?

The Guardian

At The Guardian,

John Harris writes that the comments by two former Labour ministers on the party's current NHS policy highlight the complex relationship between the Labour Party of the Blair era and that of today.

Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian

@patrickwintour

tweets: Milibandites & some Blairites still fuming Milburn chose NHS pledge launch day to mount attack. "Not about changing policy, but positioning"

'Absent' details

New Statesman

Andy Burnham
BBC

Over at the New Statesman, Benedict Cooper

takes a look at the shadow health secretary's rhetoric on healthcare, and says "key details are thunderingly absent in Andy Burnham's ten-year plan for the NHS, but his stark anti-market tones are comforting after four-and-a-half years of business talk".

James Chapman, Daily Mail political editor

@jameschappers

tweets: Stuff of nightmares: dead heat + only 3-way coalition viable MT "@Election4castUK Latest forecast Con 283 Lab 283 SNP 33 LD 27 DUP 8 UKIP 3"

UKIP's rise

Sky News

Former Conservative Party treasure Lord Ashcroft is on Sky News, talking about UKIP. He says: "The UKIP phenomenon is down to the arrogance of the Conservatives and the complacency of Labour"

Wales poll

BBC Wales News

As few as two Welsh seats could change hands at the general election in May,

a new poll for BBC Wales suggests.

The ICM survey puts Labour on 38%, as in a previous poll in September.

The survey puts the Conservatives down two percentage points to 21%, UKIP on 13% (down one), Plaid Cymru on 12% (down one), the Lib Dems unchanged at 7% and the Green Party up from 2% in September to 6% now.

NHS crisis guidelines

Channel 4

Channel 4 political editor Gary Gibbon says that

the row about guidance to hospitals over when they call "major incidents" is leading some Labour MPs to "claim anecdotally that they think it is helping them in their constituencies" - but showing little sign of definitely helping the party nationally.

He also says the intervention of former Labour ministers Alan Milburn and John Hutton yesterday - who argued that Ed Miliband had to go beyond simply advocating for more NHS spending to offering a programme for proper healthcare reform - was made for two reasons. One, to make sure Labour "honours the past reforms of the Labour government, honours the Blairite years".

Secondly, he says, the intervention was "very much targeted at a future Labour leadership contest" - to ensure that Labour does not "draw the wrong conclusions from a defeat" and "just go and find a more telegenic version of Ed Miliband, and don't go for Andy Burnham".

'Deserve to lose'

The Daily Telegraph

The Telegraph's

Dan Hodges says shadow health secretary Andy Burnham's interview with Kirsty Wark on BBC Newsnight on Tuesday night shows "why Labour deserve to lose" in May. He says that far from re-building and uniting Labour after his election as leader, Ed Miliband "has placed it into a medically induced coma following the trauma of the party's 2010 defeat".

Awards season

The Political Book Awards, hosted by impressionist Rory Bremner, is taking place in London this evening. Many familiar names from the green benches in the Commons, and beyond, are competing in a number of categories, from Political Book of the Year to "Practical Politics Book of the Year".

See all the categories, and all the contenders,

here.

European finances

Robert Peston

Economics editor

European Central Bank
Associated Press

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has tonight made what can only be described as a thinly-disguised attack on the German government's refusal to spend and borrow more to promote growth throughout the eurozone.

Germany is not once mentioned by name in his speech - entitled "Fortune favours the bold" - which he gave this evening on the fringes of the eurozone, in Dublin.

But in saying that monetary union cannot work without fiscal union - or the ability and willingness of countries with stronger public finances to support those that are struggling to grow under the burden of big debts - he is in effect saying that Germany ought to do more to support the likes of Italy, Spain and France.

Read the rest of the story from Robert Peston

here.

NHS guidelines 'well intentioned'

BBC Radio 5 live

Diane Wake, the chief executive of Barnsley Hospital, tells BBC Radio 5live that the new guidelines on when hospitals can declare a "major incident" will only have been issued with the best of intentions. She says she is "certain that a lot of the checks on the 17 point checklist" would have already been undertaken by hospitals before declaring a major incident. She assumes that the new guidelines are "just about standardisation".

More PMQs reaction

The Spectator

At The Spectator, Lloyd Evans

sketches PMQs and focuses on the continuing controversy over the word "weaponise". He says: "This is helpful to Cameron who has turned a complete non-issue into an astonishingly useful defence."

Lord Wigley apology 'not enough'

Lord Wigley was forced to apologise earlier
PA

Gemma Doyle, shadow defence minister, has written to Plaid Cymru peer Lord Wigley after he

earlier drew parallels between Britain's nuclear deterrent and Nazi death camps. "I have read your apology and I am sorry to say I don't think it is good enough," she tells him, suggesting a "direct and unreserved apology to the naval and civilian workforce" on the Clyde is necessary. Ms Doyle is happy to facilitate such a move, adding: "I would be more than happy to forward such an apology on to the union convenors and to the Naval Base Commander."

Guardian polls analysis

The Guardian

Earlier today The Guardian offered

its latest analysis of what the polls are saying about the final result on 7 May. Its projection about how many MPs each party can expect to win if the polls don't budge between now and election day (with movement on 2010 numbers in brackets) is:

  • Conservatives 273 (-33)
  • Labour 273 (+15)
  • SNP 49 (+43)
  • Lib Dems 28 (-29)
  • Ukip 5 (+5)
  • Greens 1 (--)
  • Others 21

Critically, though, it points out there are 50 marginal seats where the result is far too close to call. "The result in these contests will often depend on how well UKIP and the Greens perform," analyst Alberto Nardelli says.

Peter Robinson, DUP leader

@DUPleader

tweets: 1/2) received irrational response from BBC DG re: debates. No valid reason for DUP's exclusion offered.

and

tweets: 2/2) offered excuse that they couldn't invite 1 NI party without the others. Ignores fact that 3 parties currently invited stand in NI.

Mansion tax

Tim Reid

Political correspondent, BBC News

Jim Murphy
Reuters

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has defended his pledge to use Labour's proposed mansion tax - which would raise most money from properties in the south east of England - to fund Scottish nurses. It follows an opinion poll by YouGov in London's Evening Standard which suggests that his remarks may have damaged his own party's support in London.

It was one of Mr Murphy's first policy announcements. Responding to the survey Mr Murphy said: "I'm the leader of the Scottish Labour party and I do what Scotland wants. I'm not standing for election in London, I'm doing what's right for Scotland."

Mark Devenport, BBC NI political editor

@markdevenport

tweets: Sinn Fein is describing Sun story on talks with Labour as "lazy, fantasy journalism" and repeating it won't take any seats in the Commons