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Summary

  1. Ed Miliband and Lord Fink accused each other of U-turns over row about HSBC tax affairs
  2. UKIP leader Nigel Farage said the Conservatives and Labour 'fear' his party
  3. Labour leader Ed Miliband said his party would protect education spending in England
  4. David Cameron flew to Brussels for a European Council meeting
  5. Today marked 84 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Adam Donald and Pippa Simm

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodnight

That's it for another day in the political world. With everything that's been happening it's hard to believe there are still another 83 days (from midnight) to go until the polls open. Today the parties fired more salvoes: Ed Miliband and Lord Fink traded accusations of a U-turn over the row about tax avoidance; Nigel Farage said the Conservatives and Labour "fear" UKIP; Nick Clegg outlined five promises for the next five years of Liberal Democrats in government, including protecting education spending; and David Cameron flew to Brussels for a European Council meeting. Meanwhile, in Parliament, the Treasury Select Committee announced that it would examine allegations that HSBC's Swiss private bank helped clients evade tax. It's almost too much to keep up with. Lucky, then, that there's the BBC Politics Live page, which will be back at 06:00 on Friday bringing you all the political content from across the BBC - and the best from elsewhere. Goodnight.

'Sexist spats'

Channel 4

After the furore over Labour's pink bus campaign,

Channel 4 have compiled a list of the top "sexist spats" in British politics.

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's Times: "Boom time ahead for families, says Bank chief" (@suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Tomorrow's Times front page
The Times

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's Independent: "Ex-Lib Dem minister slams 'insipid' Clegg" (@suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Tomorrow's Indy front page
The Independent

This Week, 23:45 GMT

BBC One

Victoria Derbyshire
BBC

Also on This Week: the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire rounds up a manic week in the world of Westminster politics.

Farage on social issues

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

2012 Olympics opening ceremony
Getty Allsport

Evan Davis asks Nigel Farage some quick-fire questions designed to try and glean some of the UKIP leader's personal vision. Mr Farage says he "couldn't care less" if he saw two gay men kissing, but "if there are people out there who are uncomfortable with, for example, gay marriage, they should be allowed to have that opinion without being utterly condemned".

And Danny Boyle's Olympics opening ceremony in 2012 - is that a snapshot of a UK that Nigel Farage appreciates? He says he didn't have a problem with it, and though "unashamedly patriotic" he believes there are "different understandings of patriotism".

Finally - Page 3. The UKIP leader says we live in a free country, and that he has no problem with Page 3: "If you buy The Sun newspaper, and it's got Page 3, you know what you're getting."

Farage on NHS

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

Nigel Farage says UKIP wishes to diminish the size of the state, but says he "absolutely" believes in the existence of the NHS. He said an NHS free at the point of delivery was not just "the manifesto position", but one he was "very happy to endorse". He did say that British citizens "have not got bang for our buck for the money that we put in", and that it was conceivable in the future that discussions over how to run the NHS would take place.

Farage on tax

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

UKIP leader Nigel Farage on Newsnight
BBC

Nigel Farage tells Newsnight he would not put taxes up, and that "history shows you that if you do that it doesn't actually work". He says UKIP want to ensure that no-one on the minimum wage would pay tax. Pressed by Evan Davis on how he would pay for such tax relief, Mr Farage says: "If you ally that to a proper control of the amount of labour that is coming into Britain and get people off benefits, it will pay for itself."

Asked about the recent revelations about HSBC, the UKIP leader said: "To try and paint all this simply in terms of right and wrong isn't that straightforward." He said when there are "fairer tax rates" then tax avoidance begins to become "morally questionable", and added: "If we get tax right there will be fewer and fewer people who try and avoid it."

This Week, 23:45 GMT

BBC One

Jacques Peretti
BBC

Investigative journalist and documentary-maker Jacques Peretti joins Andrew Neil and guests on This Week later tonight, asking whether or not the public is shocked by tax avoidance - or if they've come to expect this from the super-rich.

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's Scotsman: "Interest rates could hit new low says BoE boss"(via @suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Tomorrow's Scotsman front page
The Scotsman

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's i: Trust me, Sturgeon tells the English" (via @suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Tomorrow's i front page
Independent

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's Daily Mirror: "Cameron donor: Everyone's a tax avoider" (via @suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Tomorrow's Mirror front page
Daily Mirror

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's Telegraph: "Enjoy low prices while you can" (via @suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Tomorrow's Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's Metro: "Inflation set to fall below zero" (via @suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers

Tomorrow's Metro front page
Metro

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's International NY Times: "Ukraine pact comes with warnings of vigilance" (via @suttonnick) #BBCPapers

Tomorrow's International NYT front page
New York Times

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's FT: "Central banks take extreme action to stave off deflation" (via @suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday

Tomorrow's FT front page
Financial Times

Tomorrow's papers

@BBCNews

BBC News

UK

tweets: Friday's Morning Star: "Tax rat Fink humiliates PM" (via @suttonnick) #tomorrowspaperstoday

Tomorrow's Morning Star
MOrning Star

Cameron on Ukraine

Angela Merkel and David Cameron
Reuters

About today's

announcement of a ceasefire agreement in Ukraine, David Cameron said: "What really matters now is that on the ground actual things happen rather than just words being said. That means heavy weapons need to be removed, it means a proper ceasefire has to be put in place, it means that people actually have to do the things they have signed up to do.

"If that happens it'll be progress but we should wait and watch to see whether that happens before we make a judgment.

"What mattered today was that we sent a very clear message that unless Russian behaviour changed and Putin's behaviour changed then sanctions should stay in place. That's very much the message coming out of this Council meeting."

Nigel Farage interview

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

Nigel Farage and Evan Davis
BBC

Tonight on

@BBCNewsnight: Evan Davis sits down with UKIP leader Nigel Farage to talk healthcare, taxation, and more.

What's been happening?

Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, Lord Fink, school classroom, David Cameron, Nigel Farage
Getty Images/EPA/Reuters

Not had a chance to catch up with the day's political news just yet? Well let us lend you a helping hand, with our quick round-up of the main stories:

  • Ed Miliband has accused Lord Fink of an "extraordinary U-turn" after the Tory donor appeared to drop his threat of legal action in a row over tax avoidance
  • Nigel Farage
    has used his first major speech of the year to say both the Tories and Labour "fear" UKIP holding the balance of power after May, but that the party would would not "prop up" a government unless it offered an "immediate" EU referendum
  • Labour
    has pledged to increase spending on education in England by at least the rate of inflation if it wins power in May
  • The Lib Dems
    have made an education pledge of their own: to protect spending in England from nursery to college level
  • The Commons Treasury Committee
    announces an inquiry into allegations that HSBC's Swiss private bank helped clients evade tax.

Today in Parliament, 23:30 GMT

BBC Radio 4

Parliament at night
BBC

Join the BBC's Today in Parliament team tonight at 23:30 GMT for all today's highlights from the Palace of Westminster. On tonight's show: Vince Cable answers business questions; MPs discuss the destruction of historic sites in Iraq and Syria; and the House of Lords once more considers advancing a woman bishop in the succession to the next episcopal vacancy in the Upper House. All this and more tonight on Radio 4.

BBC Question Time

‏@bbcquestiontime

tweets: A reminder of our panel tonight in Norwich: @EdwardDaveyMP, @sarahwollaston, @ChrisBryantMP, @SuzanneEvans1 and @Aiannucci #bbcqt

Question Time panel
@bbcquestiontime

Lib Dem prospects

Nick Clegg
Press Association

Nick Clegg says he expects the Liberal Democrats will do better in the election than many doomsayers predict. At Prospect Magazine,

YouGov president Peter Kellner offers an answer to the question: "How many seats will the Lib Dems lose?"

Still 'barnacles on the boat'

The Spectator

Lynton Crosby
BBC

At The Spectator,

Isabel Hardman reports that at last night's meeting of the 1922 Committee (of Conservative backbenchers), the rank and file confronted the party's strategist Lynton Crosby about poor message discipline, to which Mr Crosby replied that "there were still some barnacles that needed scraping from the boat".

BBC Parliament/Democracy Live

@bbcdemlive

tweets: "A big turn-off": why former Speaker Betty Boothroyd is dead against leader debates: Laws and Ladies, Sat, 10pm.

Law and Ladies
BBC

Inflation: 'Zero is too low'

David Blanchflower
BBC

Former Bank of England monetary policy committee member David Blanchflower, a professor of economics, told BBC News that zero or negative inflation could spell trouble for governor Mark Carney: "You really don't want to be in zero or negative inflation - zero is too low and we need to get it up," he says. "And there are worries he [Mr Carney] won't be able to."

If the UK slips into negative inflation, then austerity would be exactly the wrong policy for the next government to pursue, he adds: "To actually argue in a period of deflation that you want to do more austerity - you'd fail my economics 101 class, which is the class for the starting economist."

Mike Smithson, polling analyst

@MSmithsonPB

tweets: Feb @IpsosMORI poll Farage biggest loser on month in the satisfaction ratings

poll results graphic
Ipsos Mori

And then there was one

Tom Espiner

A busy day for the live page. The prospects for

inflation in the UK,
peace in Ukraine, and an economic deal being hammered out between
Greece and the EU have all been on our radar. Adam Donald will continue to bring you the latest updates until midnight, including the latest from Question Time and This Week.

Tax avoidance row

Channel 4

Shaun Bailey, a Conservative Party adviser, told Channel 4 News that it is "very easy to say I want to see people paying tax, but as a political party, what are you going to do about that?". He said the Conservatives currently have a better claim to have dealt with re-configuring the tax system than Labour.

Labour's Rushanara Ali said: "Tax avoidance is costing hundreds of millions of pounds for Britain...why should there be double standards for those who are wealthy who are finding ways of avoiding tax?"

'Too pretty' for politics?

The Daily Telegraph

The Telegraph is one of a number of outlets to

report on an exchange of views between Harriet Harman and Rochdale councillor Karen Danczuk over whether or not the Labour deputy leader once told Mrs Danczuk that she was "too pretty to be interested in politics". Ms Harman denies ever saying those words.

'How to make the wealthy pay tax'

The Guardian

At the Guardian, specialist tax barrister

Jolyon Maugham says: "The UK has yielded [recouped] far less than other comparable European countries seeking to recoup their cash - time to change tack."

BBC Newsnight

@BBCNewsnight

tweets: Read: What can comparisons with the 1930s tell us about public spending? @DuncanWeldon asks
http://bbc.in/1DJVD0w

Five for Ed Miliband

New Statesman

At the New Statesman,

Mehdi Hasan has "five questions that trouble Ed Miliband's many disillusioned supporters".

Tim Montgomerie, Times comment editor

@montie

tweets: The biggest general election bet ever has just been placed! Via @sharpeangle

picture
@sharpeangle

European Council 'cautious' about Ukraine peace

Rebels fire a mortar towards Ukrainian government troops north-east of Debaltseve - 11 February 2015
AP
Rebels surrounding Ukrainian government troops in the flashpoint town of Debaltseve on Wednesday

European Council president Donald Tusk said the EU would remain "cautious" about the prospects for peace in Ukraine, after an agreement aimed at ending the fighting in Ukraine

was reached today following marathon talks in Belarus. He said: "Today we still have hope for a peaceful solution but the real test is the respect of the ceasefire."

BBC interactive election tracker

still from video
BBC

Have a look at the BBC's new interactive video

here, where chief political correspondent Vicki Young explains how you can keep up to date with the latest election news. There's also a transcript if you can't watch the video.

Treasury looking to tighten tax evasion laws

Kamal Ahmed

Business editor

Kamal Ahmed says: "After all the sound and fury over tax evasion, a question in many people's minds is whether anything is actually happening to tighten the rules on income and capital held abroad. Well, the answer to that is yes." Read Kamal's full explanation

here.

May2015.com, campaign website

@May2015NS

tweets: Labour now ahead by 0.9% on
http://May2015.com after Ipsos MORI join others in putting Labour slightly ahead.

graphic
May2015.com

Miliband 'dodgy donor' rhetoric

Nick Robinson

Political editor

Ed Miliband
Press Association

Nick Robinson says: "Ed Miliband has been looking for a moment to demonstrate that he is - in his phrase - on your side, whilst the Tories are on the side of the rich. He sees this as rather like the moment when he challenged Rupert Murdoch, after the revelation that the murdered teenager Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked."

Going once, twice, three times

The Independent

Ed Balls signed tweet
Labour Students

The Independent reports that the group Labour Students is selling a signed copy of an "infamous" Ed Balls tweet, wherein the shadow chancellor accidentally tweeted his own name. No words yet on the likely bidders, or how much it will sell for...