Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. David Cameron and Ed Miliband clash over their tax and business policies at Prime Minister's Questions
  2. Sir John Chilcot hopes will not set date for his report of his inquiry into the Iraq War
  3. Control of Rotherham council to be handed over to commissioners after child abuse scandal; New Zealand judge to head historical abuse inquiry
  4. Rolling coverage from the BBC's political team - from Today and Breakfast through to Newsnight and Today in Parliament

Live Reporting

By Sam Francis, Tim Fenton and Alex Kleiderman

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight

That's all from the Politics Live team for tonight, at the end of a day which saw the home secretary announce that the inquiry into historical child sexual abuse will be led by a High Court judge from New Zealand and will have statutory powers. Earlier, the chairman of the inquiry into the Iraq War, Sir John Chilcot, told MPs that the publication of his report "must not be rushed". And at Prime Minister's questions, David Cameron seized on shadow chancellor Ed Balls' failure to recall the full name of one of Labour's main business supporters as evidence that Labour was "anti-business". But Labour leader Ed Miliband hit back, saying the Tories were the party "of Mayfair hedge funds and Monaco tax avoiders".

We'll be back at 06:00, with the latest news and comment, including from the Today programme and BBC Breakfast.

Gordon Brown's last Commons speech?

Gordon Brown's speech earlier could have been his final Commons address. The former Labour prime minister warned David Cameron that Conservative plans for English votes for English laws could have "lit the fuse which ultimately blows the Union apart". Mr Brown, first elected 32 years ago, is standing down at the next election. He told the debate the Tory plan created two classes of MPs, which had never proved successful anywhere in the world.

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News UK

tweets: The i: Archbishop takes on the tax dodgers via @hendopolis #tomorrowspaperstoday#bbcpapers

The i - 05/02/15
The i

Going back to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's comments on LBC radio about introducing an "online version" of the NHS 111 care line in future. An

online sympton checker does already exist on the NHS Choices website. It promises to provide users with self care information and other advice about seeking help.

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News, UK

tweets: Thursday's Independent: "Private education, private education, private education" (via @hendopolis) #BBCPapers

The Independent - 05/02/15
The Independent

Abuse inquiry head interviewed

How will the head of new statutory inquiry into historical child sex abuse in England and Wales approach her duties? New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard will be speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme at 08:10 GMT on Thursday. The 66-year-old is a serving judge of the High Court of New Zealand and UN committee member who has experience of working with victims of sexual assault. A reminder that you can read more about her background

here.

Lowell Goddard
Home Office

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News, UK

tweets: Thursday's Financial Times: "Tories double number of big City donors in five years" (via @hendopolis) #BBCPapers

Financial Times - 05/02/15
Financial Times

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News, UK

tweets: Thursday's Times: "Rotherham: finally the truth behind the lies" (via @hendopolis) #TomorrowsPapersToday #BBCPapers

The Times - 05/02/15
The Times

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News UK

tweets: Thursday's Express: "£100,000 boost for your pension" (via @hendopolis) #TomorrowsPapersToday #BBCPapers

Daily Express - 05/02/15
Daily Express

Euro crisis back on the agenda

The Financial Times

The European Central Bank's governing council has decided to bring forward tighter rules on cash access for Greek banks, reports the

Financial Times. Could the political attention on Thursday switch back to the debt crisis in Europe?

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy is sounding upbeat, despite the poll looking at 16 Scottish general election constituencies which suggests the SNP was ahead in 15 of them. Speaking to BBC Newsnight, he predicts that "numbers will switch during the campaign" when voters start to consider the candidates for prime minister.

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News, UK

tweets: MAIL: At last! A crackdown on foreign patients abusing the NHS #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Daily Mail - 05/02/15
Daily Mail

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News, UK

tweets: Thursday's Telegraph: "Fees cap boosts pensions by £100,000" (via @hendopolis) #TomorrowsPapersToday #BBCPapers

Daily Telegraph - 05/02/15
Daily Telegraph

IFS - UK spending squeeze to be biggest in developed world

Another interesting angle in the IFS report is its comparison of UK spending plans with other advanced economies. If current government plans are pursued, Britain would cut spending by more than any of the 32 most advanced economies, including austerity-hit Greece. The

Daily Telegraph highlights the Institute's suggestion tax rises might be preferred to the deepest cuts. It quotes the report: "None of the parties is talking about significant tax rises, but history suggests that general elections tend to be followed by tax rises. The first year after each of the last five elections has seen the announcement of net tax rises of more than £5bn in today's terms.

Beth Rigby, Financial Times deputy political editor

@BethRigby

tweets: Number of big City backers for Tories doubles: http://on.ft.com/1CvSv9b > FT analysis finds big increase in City support for Cameron

Remembering names

The shadow chancellor has attracted much comment for forgetting what someone was called. Ed Balls has put it down to an "age thing" and Dr Phil Beaman, associate professor of cognitive science from the University of Reading agrees the "phenomenon can increase" as people get older. He also says is likely to be worse when tired or under stress "both of which may well apply to a leading politician giving a high-profile interview at the start of an election campaign".

But what's the best way to remember names - and how do you get out of a tight spot when you've forgotten them again? Ben Milne from the

BBC News website Magazine offers some suggestions.

Ed Balls
BBC

Good economy

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been speaking at an event in Westminster organised by the all-party parliamentary group on inclusive growth. The Most Rev Justin Welby said the paying of the living wage, good and affordable housing, and excellent education and training are all key to a "good economy". A former oil trader, the Archbishop has been vocal on economic matters.

"There is no such thing as a level playing field if human beings are involved, there's no such thing as a fully fair and free market, it doesn't exist," he told the gathering, which also heard from CBI head Sir Michael Rake and Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC.

The Archbishop of Canterbury
PA

Sunnier times ahead for some - IFS

The

IFS report makes more cheerful reading for people unlikely to be affected by public spending cuts. It predicts zero inflation and 3% growth this year with what one of its authors calls "a big turnaround in household finances". According to the IFS, Labour and the Liberal Democrats' plans require departmental spending cuts of £5.2bn and £7.9bn respectively. If either Labour or the Tories were to maintain their fiscal plans into the 2020s, the national debt would fall by 19% of GDP under the Tories and 9% under Labour. In favour of the deeper cuts is the argument that less public debt would make it easier for the UK to withstand another global economic shock comparable to 2007-8.

Online 111 help?

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested people who are feeling unwell could be diagnosed at home by their computers in future. He told LBC radio ministers hoped to introduce an online version of the NHS 111 care line within the next two years, as the government seeks to ease pressure on accident and emergency units in England.

Earlier this month it was r

eported that there has a big increase in the number of people being referred to GP surgeries and A&E departments, after ringing the NHS 111 urgent care line in England. It prompted the British Medical Association to suggest that non-clinically trained staff were incorrectly directing people to busy hospitals and GP surgeries.

A&E sign
PA

IFS study 'sharpens party divide'

Today's Green Budget from the Institute of Fiscal Studies looks set to give all sides in the campaign something to chew on. The report, which looks at options and issues ahead of next month's real Budget, is positive about growth but says the worst of the public spending cuts are still to come. It says if the Conservatives lead the next government and stick with the plans announced in last year's Autumn Statement, spending cuts of £51.4bn or 14.1% will be needed within the next parliament. That would cut public spending to its lowest share of national income since at least 1948 and mean fewer people working in the public sector than at any time since 1971.

According to

BBC economics editor, Robert Peston, the IFS has starkly illustrated the central economic choice facing voters in May: Bigger cuts with a Tory or Tory-led government; higher public sector debt with a Labour one.

Chris Mason, BBC Political Correspondent

@ChrisMasonBBC

tweets: Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael: "there is going to be no easy answer here, there is absolutely no quick fix to this."

Commons rises

House of Commons

Parliament

Debate in the Commons ended shortly before 20:00 GMT. Business resumes at 09:30 GMT tomorrow with a series of backbench debates on NHS services.

We will Photoshop you

The Huffington Post has reacted to news that Queen guitarist Brian May is

considering running as an MP by
imagining how his trademark hairstyle would look on some prominent politicians.

Brian May
BBC

Chris Mason, BBC Political Correspondent

@ChrisMasonBBC

tweets: Gordon Brown: The Prime Minister "could have lit a fuse that eventually blows the Union apart."

Chris Huhne pass

House of Commons

Parliament

There has been comment in Parliament following the

revelations in a Freedom of Information request that former Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has been given a Commons pass. In a point of order, Conservative MP Matthew Offord called for the ex-Lib Dem minister to lose his access privileges. He asked if there was "any method that we can actually rescind this application".

Speaker John Bercow said MPs did not discuss security-related matters on the floor of the chamber before adding that while Mr Offord had a view "there is also a thing called the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act".

'Two classes' of representative

House of Commons

Parliament

Gordon Brown argues the government have deliberately "driven a new wedge between" Scotland and England through its plans for English votes for English laws which, he says, "mean nothing other than restricting the rights of Scottish representatives in this House".

"At the very time they should be attempting to unify and reconcile the different nations of the UK... they have summarily rejected one of the recommendations of the Smith Commission," he argues.

Gordon Brown
BBC

Scottish representation

House of Commons

Parliament

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is now leading the day's final business - the adjournment debate on Scottish representation in the Union.

Labour business row

The Daily Mirror's political editor Kevin Maguire is downplaying the significance of the observations of Lord Digby Jones on Labour's approach to business. The former CBI director general, who served as a minister under Gordon Brown, has said he saw problems in the tone adopted by the party. Mr Maguire told BBC News he believed Mr Milband was "tapping into something" that would appeal to voters as "there is an issue with fairness" in UK society.

Illuminated tower

A number of MPs, including Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP for Chatham & Aylesford, have

tweeted photographs of the Elizabeth Tower, home of Big Ben, which has been illuminated with projections to mark National Voter Registration Day on Thursday.

Organised by campaign group

Bite the Ballot, the aim of the day is to register 250,000 young people and help engage the millions of people who are currently not registered before the general election.

Elizabeth Tower
Tracey Crouch

SFO plans 'disruptive'

Sky News

Conservative proposals to abolish the Serious Fraud Office would potentially jeopardise ongoing investigations, the organisation's director has said. The plans to roll the SFO into the National Crime Agency if the Tories win the next election could prove "disruptive" and it would be a mistake to move to an unknown model, David Green QC told Sky News.

Jim Pickard, Financial Times

@PickardJE

tweets: Labour six point lead?

Latest TNS-BMRB poll (29 Jan - 02 Feb):

LAB - 33% (+2)

CON - 27% (-4)

UKIP - 18% (+2)

GRN - 8% (+1)

LDEM - 6% (-2)

House of Commons

Parliament

In the House of Commons, Labour's Siobhain McDonagh makes a suggestion which she predicts will unite all MPs against her.

She suggests that if an individual wants to access a public service they should be required to register to vote.

"If you want the benefits of an advanced welfare democracy then you should sign up," she says.

People would not be allowed a drivers licence, access to tax credits or to use a library under this system, she adds.

Journalists' sources

Theresa May says she will accepts the recommendation of the Interception of Communications Commissioner that judicial oversight should be required before police officers look at journalists' phone records. Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg wrote to the home secretary asking her to back an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill. The commissioner, Sir Anthony May has said the current Home Office rules for for using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (ripa) did not "provide adequate safeguards to protect journalistic sources".

Recap: Election build-up

And in developments related to the general election, a

poll of 16,000 voters in Scottish constituencies suggests the Scottish National Party could be on course to win most of the country's 59 seats. Among those said to be at risk of losing their seats are Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander and the First Secretary to the Treasury the Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander.

At Prime Minister's Questions,

David Cameron seized on shadow chancellor Ed Balls' failure to recall the full name of Bill Thomas, one of Labour's main business supporters. He said it was evidence that Labour was "anti-business and anti-enterprise" but Labour leader Ed Miliband hit back, saying the Conservative Party was the party "of Mayfair hedge funds and Monaco tax avoiders" and that Mr Cameron was unwilling to clamp down on City firms because many of his friends "would get caught in the net". Mr Balls earlier described his memory lapse on the BBC's Newsnight programme on Tuesday as "an age thing".

David Cameron
PA

Recap: Foreign Affairs Committee

Earlier in the day, the c

hairman of the inquiry into the Iraq War, Sir John Chilcot, told MPs that none of the witnesses involved was deliberately trying to hold up the publication of his final report. Giving evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, he insisted the process "must not be rushed".

Sir John Chilcot
Reuters

Recap: Abuse inquiries

A recap on what has turned out to be a busy day on the political front.

Seven months after the government announced an inquiry into child sexual abuse, the

home secretary has given details of a new, replacement, inquiry. Theresa May told MPs it will be led by Lowell Goddard a 66-year-old high court judge from New Zealand and will have statutory powers.

Meanwhile, the entire cabinet of

Rotherham Council has resigned after a report found the authority was in "resolute denial" about the extent of child sex abuse in the town in the past. The government will take control, and early elections will take place next year, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told the Commons.

Rotherham signs
PA

UK Parliament

@UKParliament

tweets: 800 years on from the sealing of #MagnaCarta, find out more about its significance for Parliament #Parliament2015 http://goo.gl/ewywW3

Four copies of the Magna Carta on display in the British Library
Clare Kendall/British Library

More cash for police data gathering

Police spending on data gathering from private emails, texts and phone calls is to receive a £20m boost. The money will go to the Communications Capabilities Development programme, which is intended to help police gather better data within the framework of existing laws. The money has been reallocated from the Police Capital Grant.

In a written ministerial statement, Police Minister, Mike Penning, said: "This will reduce overall infrastructure costs, maintain capabilities to comply with current legislation, and develop future communications capability."

Tory 'gunfire'

Ed Miliband speaking at Prime Minister's questions
PA

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson has been reflecting on Ed Miliband's strategy at Prime Minister's questions and why he appeared to willingly "walk towards the sound of Conservative gunfire" over the issues of business backing and tax.

'News we needed'

Lucy Duckworth, the co-chair of the Survivors' Alliance, says the home secretary's announcement on the inquiry into historical sexual abuse was the "news we really needed to hear". Theresa May "really listened to our concerns", she told BBC News. New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard has been named as the head the inquiry, which will have statutory powers and a new panel.

Lucy Duckworth
BBC