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Summary

  1. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan sets out plans for new times tables tests at age 11
  2. Mrs Morgan also indicates Conservatives would protect spending on schools for ages 5-16
  3. Also on the Andrew Marr Show, Douglas Alexander warns that SNP votes could let in Conservatives
  4. There are 95 days to go until the General Election on 7 May
  5. Rolling coverage from the BBC's political team - from the Andrew Marr Show at 9am to Sunday Politics and the World This Weekend
  6. Reaction to the big political stories in the Sunday newspapers
  7. Watch/listen to the full editions of today's programmes 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 Sam Francis and Matthew Davis

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's all for now folks

That about wraps up Campaign Countdown for Sunday, on a day in which Education Secretary Nicky Morgan

gave a strong indication that a future Conservative government would ring-fence most of the budget for schools in England. She said an announcement would be made "very shortly". The Liberal Democrats went further, promising to protect more by pledging no cuts affecting three- to 19-year-olds.

Meanwhile, Labour election strategist Douglas Alexander told the BBC that

newspaper claims that Labour's campaign was in trouble were "rubbish", the SNP
called for one of the General Election leaders' debates to be held in Scotland, and UKIP's Nigel Farage
celebrated the end of Dry January.

Join us again at 06:00 on Monday.

Nigel Farage
Twitter

Alastair Campbell

Former No10 spokesman

tweets: timeline full of campaigners all parties saying they're getting great doorstep reception. Be good to see the odd 'got told to get lost'

Julian Huppert

Liberal Democrat MP

tweets : I'm very pleased that prisoners will now be able to get books. We should be encouraging prisoners to read and study.

Prison 'book ban' rule relaxed

Prison Book Ban
PA

The rule that effectively stopped prison inmates in England and Wales receiving books

has been relaxed.

The Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme was introduced in November 2013. Under the rules, prisoners are prevented from receiving parcels unless there are "exceptional circumstances", such as a medical condition.

But a High Court ruling in December said that restricting prisoners' access to books was unlawful.

'Not proud' of same-sex marriage

The Independent

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has told party activists he is "not proud" his government introduced same-sex marriage, the

Independent reports.

The paper has got a hold of a conference call in which Mr Rees-Mogg, the MP for Somerset North, allegedly tells sympathetic Tory activists "I'm not proud that this government passed that into law and it alienated a lot of our traditional supporters. So I think the least said soonest mended."

Jacob Rees-Mogg
BBC

Dan Hodges

Political Commentator, Telegraph

tweets: Labour's response to Stefano Pessina is madness. Foreign? Wealthy? Britain don't want your stinkin' money...

Leaders' debates

More on that call by the SNP for one of the General Election leaders' debates to be held in Scotland:

MSP Stewart Maxwell says in a statement: "The SNP are taking nothing for granted, but we believe that the election campaign in Scotland, and hopefully the outcome, will be significant on a UK-wide basis - therefore it would be appropriate for the broadcasters to consider holding one of the seven-way debates in Scotland."

He adds: "The network broadcast media are rightly doing more than at the last election to reflect political diversity across the UK, and so the debates themselves should not all take place in London."

Murphy: Labour will beat SNP

Daily Record

Jim Murphy
Danny Lawson

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has insisted that his party will win more Westminster seats than the SNP, the

Daily Record reports.

The

latest poll gives the SNP a 18-point lead but Murphy said he believes public opinion will "switch big" to Labour in the run-up to the May 7 election, even predicting his party would increase their 41 MPs in Scotland.

His comments came as he celebrated 50 days in his role as head of Scottish Labour, who in turn

have released a five second vine of his achievements in office.

Labour hits back

Chris Mason

Political correspondent, BBC News

The shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna has responded to comments by

Stefano Pessina, Executive Chairman of Alliance Boots, who said a Labour government under Ed Miliband would be a "catastrophe" for Britain.

"It is important that the voice of business is heard during this General Election campaign, not least on Europe. But the British people and British businesses will draw their own conclusions when those who don't live here, don't pay tax in this country and lead firms that reportedly avoid making a fair contribution in what they pay purport to know what is in Britain's best interests."

Nadine Dorries interview

The Sunday Telegraph

Nadine Dorries
PA Wire

The newly rebranded Nadine Dorries, author and MP for Mid Befordshire, has an interview in

today's Telegraph where she describe how a bitterly poor upbringing "drove" her to a £500,000 salary.

Prisoner rehabilitation

Prisoner scheme
Getty Images

A scheme that will use private contractors to rehabilitate prisoners who have served short sentences

is going live today.

Under the scheme any prisoner who has served a sentence of less than a year will be supervised for 12 months from their release.

Companies will be paid by results, and earn more cash if the criminals do not commit further crimes.

Tom Newton Dunn

Sun political editor

tweets: The most impressive big TV interview yet by
@sajidjavid on
#bbcsp. The formidable
@afneil barely laid a glove on him. Watch this space.

Tim Montgomerie

Columnist, The Times

tweets: Rebranded: Not
@NadineDorriesMP the politician anymore but "Nadine the Author"

Nadine the Author
Twitter

Analysis: School spending

Robin Brant
BBC

BBC political correspondent Robin Brant: "Promising to protect spending on schools in England is not a big surprise. The Conservatives have already pledged to increase it to £53bn this year and the Lib Dems have gone further, saying they would extend it to include education of children from three to 19 years old.

"But Nicky Morgan's nod on TV this morning leads to the inevitable question of where will the next round of cuts come then? If school spending in England is protected, and the NHS and international aid, what will the Conservatives cut more to hit their deficit target?

"The generals at the MoD will fear it's them again although the evidence on welfare suggests they may want to go further there too. For the record Labour has said it plans to get the deficit down 'as soon as possible' in the next five years, but it is yet to lay out its specific plans for education spending."

The 'real Nick Clegg'

Political commentator for the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh, calls personal attacks on Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg "one of the saddest parts" of this government. Guardian Journalist, and fellow Sunday Politics pundit, Jackie Ashley says that Mr Clegg was "ruined by the tuition fees". Mr Ganesh calls Mr Clegg a "natural performer" after his appearance on Channel 4's '

The last leg', and tells Andrew Neil people have "lost sight" of the real Nick Clegg in "the vitriol of the last five years".

'Come out fighting'

Nick Watt
BBC

Nicholas Watt, the Guardian's chief political correspondent, tells Andrew Neil that there are some people in Labour's shadow cabinet who are now "resigned" to the fact that Ed Miliband will not "connect all that brilliantly" with the general public. But he says Labour must, like New Labour and the New Democrats in other elections, come out fighting rather than complaining about the coverage they might get in newspapers.

Pic: Sunday Politics pundits panel

Sunday Politics

Sunday Politics newspaper panel
BBC

Suction machine London?

Business Secretary Vince Cable rows back from his

previous view that London is "sucking in growth" at the expense of the rest of the country. He tells the London-only bit of the Sunday Politics that London's economy's growth is "welcome" but insists the government are overseeing "growth around the country" through the use of the Regional Growth Fund and City Deals.

Who's Captain Kirk?

William Shatner wears a starship uniform as Captain James T Kirk in a promotional portrait for the science fiction television series, "Star Trek" in 1967
Getty Images

Sajid Javid dismisses discussions about ambitions to lead the Conservative Party. The Star Trek fan is asked by Andrew Neil if he wants to be "the Tories' Captain Kirk". The party has already got a Captain Kirk and his name is David Cameron, says Mr Javid.

The leadership question is "a conversation not worth having". "What the British people want to see is competent leadership, and that's what you get with David Cameron" he says.

Black and ethnic minority voters

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid says the Conservative Party's relatively poor performance with black and ethnic minority voters is "not a policy issue". The problem is "more about perceptions that have built up over decades," he says. "Perceptions take time to change," he adds.

Young Conservatives?

Sunday Politics

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid denies that the Conservative Party is unattractive to young voters. "Young people want jobs, just like everyone else," he tells Andrew Neil "and for that you need a strong economy".

The government's reform of university fees had led to "more people than ever before going to university, and more from disadvantaged backgrounds", he adds.

Javid on the Sunday Politics

Sajid Javid
BBC

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid is now on the Sunday Politics sofa. He tells Andrew Neil that the fact the Conservatives are not leading in the polls ahead of the election isn't a problem. "Polls are just a snapshot of the current situation," he says

Graphic: Election campaigns who's who

Sunday Politics

A graphic
BBC

The more NHS ' the better'

Sunday Politics

On the Daily Politics Labour's Tom Watson counters former health secretary Alan Milburn's claims that Labour's "comfort zone" campaign could lose them the general election. "The more we are talking about the NHS the better" he tells presenter Andrew Neil.

Voters 'not ready'

Sunday Politics

Tom Watson
BBC

Labour's Tom Watson is first up on the delayed Sunday Politics. He tells presenter Andrew Neil that he's been doing lots of campaigning and the "news from the front line is that voters aren't ready for the General Election yet... any parliamentarian who thinks this election is won or lost already is sorely mistaken".

Sunday Politics

Sunday Politics
BBC

A bit later than planned, because of the tennis, Sunday Politics is under way. You can watch it live on BBC One or by clicking on the Live Coverage tab on this page.

Daily and Sunday Politics

tweets: UPDATE: With the tennis over, @afneil may be bringing on #bbcsp guests and panel at 12.45pm on BBC1.

Lim Dems on education

Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws has weighed in on the schools issue. Responding to Nicky Morgan's comments on school budget policy and standards in primary schools (see 11:11 and earlier).

He said in a statement: "You simply cannot raise standards in schools while also pursuing a scorched earth policy that would decimate the education budget.

"More children are now doing well in school because, in this parliament, Liberal Democrats forced the Tories to protect the schools budget. But in the next parliament we will need to go further and protect the whole education budget - including early years and 16-19 education. The Tories are living in fantasy land if they think great schools and teachers come for free."

US governor in London

Chris Christie
AP

New Jersey

Governor Chris Christie is on an official visit to London where he will hold meetings with David Cameron and George Osborne, as well as dining with the cabinet. The three-day trip comes amid increasing speculation that he will run for the Republican nomination for the 2016 US election. Gov Christie will also attend Sunday's match between Arsenal and Aston Villa which kicks off at 13:30.

Nicky Morgan: I'm in charge of education

Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan
BBC

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has described as "complete nonsense" a newspaper report that Michael Gove was trying to 'backseat drive' her department.

Read the full story about her comments on the Andrew Marr Show.

Key clip: Douglas Alexander

Douglas Alexander
BBC

You can now

watch Labour's election strategist Douglas Alexander on the Andrew Marr Show refusing to rule out a coalition with the SNP.

The shadow foreign secretary was repeatedly pressed on whether Labour would do a deal with Nicola Sturgeon's party in the event of a hung parliament but said he was "not going to play that game".

Mr Alexander conceded the "polls are tough" for Labour but insisted the party was fighting for a majority.

Heseltine on Europe

Michael Heseltine
BBC

Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine argues for the UK to remain in the European Union on

Sky's Murnaghan programme.

Though "Britain has always had doubts about Europe" the UK always joins in out of "an overarching self-interest" in its trading partners, he says.

i100

tweets: Why women in politics still have a long way to go, in 7 charts
http://i100.io/MuQHobe

Leaders
i100

NI peace process

Former Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy has said establishing peace has taken longer than expected. Speaking to BBC Wales' Sunday Politics, he said process was "a bit slower than we thought".

"I didn't think the process was going to last quite as long as that. But it did. It's 10, 15 years before things started changing," he said.

Maude stepping down

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude will step down as an MP at the general election, the Conservatives have confirmed. The Tory MP for Horsham said that 32 years after entering parliament it was time to ''make way for a younger candidate'', PA News reports.

No 'back seat driving'

The Cabinet Office has released a statement rejecting the Independent on Sunday's story that

former education secretary Michael Gove is still "back-seat driving" the Department for Education.

It says: "The Independent on Sunday's story is totally untrue. The Chief Whip's office has not received, handled or put into the red box any of the Education Secretary's paperwork."

Miliband defended

Ed Miliband's campaign manager Lucy Powell dismisses stories of senior figures chipping away at the Labour leader's credibility as "more about the agendas of newspapers than what colleagues are feeling".

Speaking on Sky's Murnaghan programme Ms Powell says she "totally disagrees" with former health secretary Alan Milburn's

comments on the NHS and millionaire donor
John Mills comments on privatisation, and describes them as "deeply unhelpful".

Nigel Farage

UKIP Leader

Nigel Farage
Twitter

tweets: As of this moment I'm returning as a fully paid up member of the drinking classes! #dryjanuary #DryJanuaryIsOver