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  1. The defence secretary said there is a "real and present danger" of Russia trying to destabilise the Baltic
  2. RAF fighters have intercepted two Russian bombers spotted off the coast of Cornwall
  3. The Electoral Commission published details of donations to political parties in the last quarter of 2014
  4. The Conservatives received £8,345,687, compared to Labour's £7,163,988
  5. UKIP leader Nigel Farage condemned "deeply racist comments" made by one of his Kent councillors
  6. There are 77 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Nick Eardley and Brian Wheeler

All times stated are UK

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That's a wrap

And that's your lot from the politics live blog too. We'll be back at 06:00 GMT with a change of shift. Brian Wheeler and Nick Eardley are heading home for a well-earned rest. Things to look forward to tomorrow: The start of the Scottish Conservative conference, George Osborne and Boris Johnson outlining Tory plans to boost London's economy, the latest figures on the UK public finances and a Lords report on the EU and Russia. Labour's Frank Field will also be doing the rounds, speaking about the Jobseeker's Allowance sanction regime. And Green Party leader Natalie Bennett will be pressing the flesh in north London. Goodnight all.

QT ends

And that's your lot. The audience in Stockton seem genuinely disappointed that the Question Time debate has come to an end. Some fascinating stuff was revealed over the past hour, however. Not as much confrontation as usual but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Let us know what you think in the comment box at the top of this page.

Lib Dem deal?

Lord Heseltine predicts big tax rises if there is an SNP/Labour deal. Norman Lamb says the prospect of the SNP in government at Westminster "absolutely horrifies me". No SNP/Lib Dem deal then? This seems at odds with what Vince Cable was saying earlier this week about a "rainbow coalition".

Labour deal?

Nicola Sturgeon sets out her case for a "progressive alliance" at Westminster. She doesn't mention Labour by name but it's implied. Possibly one of the clearest indications yet that the SNP are open to a deal with Ed Miliband's party.

SNP deal?


"Every vote for the SNP is more likely to put David Cameron in government than it will Ed Miliband," says Caroline Flint. Some people seem to like that idea judging from the cheers. Norman Lamb - who has expressed his doubts about Mr Miliband in the past - seems to be enjoying that.

Final question

Tamara Pattinson asks "in the event of a Labour minority government, will Scotland be ruling Westminster?".

Attention job seekers!

Duncan Bannatyne

Don't bother applying for a job with Duncan Bannatyne online. He likes people to come and knock on his door. That's how he used to do it when he was on the dole, he says. His

headquarters are up the road from Stockton, in Darlington, by the way.

Heseltine backs Cameron plan

Lord Heseltine throws his weight behind David Cameron's plan to make the young unemployed work for the benefits - provided it is not a "blanket" sanction.


Nicola Sturgeon says Tory plans for the young unemployed sound like "exploitation" and accuses them of being lenient on tax avoiders.

Education problem

Lord Heseltine identifies education as the key to improving the employment prospects of the young - saying underperforming schools should be given three months to improve their standards. He doesn't seem keen on commenting on the Tory plans for the young unemployed. Duncan Bannatyne says he didn't have a bank account until he was 30-years-old and couldn't hold down a job because he was "highly dyslexic" and that is not recognised in schools.

'Gimmicky' plan?

Caroline Flint says she is all for people doing voluntary work before banging the drum for Labour's "jobs guarantee" for the young unemployed. Norman Lamb attacks the Tory plan as "gimmicky" and accuses them of slashing the education budget.

'Not enough work'

Duncan Bannatyne is against the idea. Some people can't work for health reasons and it wouldn't be fair, he says adding that "you wouldn't find enough work for them to do anyway".

Working for benefits?

Moving on to a question from Ian Malcolm. Should David Cameron's proposed policy of 18 to 21-year-olds having to do community work be extended to all claimants?" This should provoke a bit of debate.

'Pretty bows'

Lord Heseltine

The former Royal Navy woman is taking Lord Heseltine to task over his suggestion that more reservists are the answer to boosting the strength of the armed forces. "It's a financial gain - let's not dress it up in pretty bows." Hezza seems suitably chastened but sticks to his guns.

The Sun front page

The Sun front page

Faslane question


Nicola Sturgeon is now coming under attack from a former member of the Royal Navy, who asks her if she would have closed the Faslane nuclear base and left Scotland undefended if she had won the independence referendum. Ms Sturgeon says she has always been opposed to nuclear weapons and at a time when public services are under pressure "is it really the right use of £100bn - £4bn a year over the next decade - to spend on nuclear weapons? That money could do so many more, better things." She says she would have turned Faslane into a conventional naval base. Duncan Bannatyne questions her figures. He'll be asking to see her business plan next.

Lamb on Putin

Norman Lamb

"Putin's aim is to destabilise," says Norman Lamb, who calls for stronger sanctions against "this unpleasant man".

Sanctions working?

Sanctions are working, says an audience member: "you can't get bananas in Moscow" and ordinary Russians are turning against President Putin over such privations. She offers to site Trident in her back garden in the North East. Duncan Bannatyne likes the sound of that. "Putin's main aim is world domination," adds the Dragon's Den man, who supports Trident but also wants more troops on the ground.

BBC Question Time


tweets: Which countries around the world
have nuclear weapons? #bbcqt


Flint attacks Sturgeon

Interestingly, in the context of any post-election negotiations, Ms Flint boldly restates Labour's support for Trident. Nicola Sturgeon has joined forces with Plaid Cymru and the Greens to make scrapping Trident a "red line" issue that would prevent any deal with Labour. "I would really worry Nicola, if you were in charge of the defence policy of the United Kingdom," she tells the SNP leader.

'Embrace Russia'

Lord Heseltine calls for the West to "embrace Russia" in a new accord to stand against instability in the "Muslim world". Caroline Flint thinks some of President Putin's "bullish, aggressive behaviour" is related to problems "back in Russia" but the strength of Nato and the EU "will see us through".

Hezza vs Sturgeon

Lord Heseltine clashes with Nicola Sturgeon

Nuclear stand-off

Former defence secretary Lord Heseltine hails Nato as "the most formidable defence alliance in human history" and says there is not "the slightest risk of a nuclear confrontation with Russia because we have a nuclear deterrent". Nicola Sturgeon warns about sending out the wrong message on nuclear proliferation. Heseltine says leaving France as the only nuclear power in Europe would be "reckless".

Putin threat

On to the next question, from Peter Baines. "Is Russia still a real threat and since these cuts in defence are we prepared? Nicola Sturgeon gets first go, claiming the Westminster government's "obsession" with Trident is entirely the "wrong priority".

Hezza's advice for Ant and Dec

Lord Heseltine

"I can help these people, Ant and Dec", says Lord Heseltine: "Bash the oil companies, renationalise the railways and tax everybody who's got a big house. It's called 50 Shades of Red. A blockbuster by Ed Miliband". So he hasn't entirely given up on popular culture - and he still knows how to craft a cracking sound bite...

BBC Question Time


tweets: Michael Heseltine has this message for @antanddec #bbcqt

Lord Heseltine

Ant and Dec who?

Major Ant and Dec fail by Lord Heseltine. "I don't who they are," says the 81-year-old former deputy prime minister, "Should I?" In case any of you share his bafflement, Ant said he didn't know what Labour stood for any more and Dec said he couldn't picture Ed Miliband as prime ministers. They are Geordie light entertainers.

Heseltine attacks SNP

Nicola Sturgeon

Lord Heseltine explains the rise of UKIP - comparing it to the SNP and France's Front National and other "protest" groups. SNP supporters will really hate that. Nicola Sturgeon doesn't look too impressed.

SNP 'alternative'

"Why isn't Labour heading for a landslide?," asks Nicola Sturgeon. "Because it doesn't offer an alternative," she argues, pointing to Labour's backing for Tory austerity plans. "That's ridiculous," says Caroline Flint. Are we witnessing a sneak preview of post-election talks here?

Lamb bites

Norman Lamb says HMRC needs to get tough on tax evasion - but this coalition has delivered, he argues. More people are in work now. Caroline Flint's not having that either. They are low quality jobs, she says.

BBC Question Time


tweets: .@CarolineFlintMP say this is not a genuine recovery - and that's why it isn't encouraging anyone to vote Tory #bbcqt

Question Time tweet

The Independent front page


Point scoring?

Let's not turn this into party political point scoring says Lord Heseltine, before suggesting that most tax scandals have a Labour beneficiary somewhere. He's still got it!

Taxing matters

Tax evasion gets its first mention. "Tax evasion is illegal, it is criminal and it should be hounded out," says Lord Heseltine and this government has done more than any other to crack down on it. Caroline Flint is not having that.

'Recovery for everybody'

Labour's shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint accuses the government of being "out of touch" and says the recovery "has to be for everybody" not just a few at the top.

Green shoots?

Nicola Sturgeon goes first - people are not feeling the recovery, she argues. Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine - who still puts in a shift for the Conservative Party, working on regional development policies among other things - says: "People have had a rough time". He adds: "Only now in the last month or so have real living standards started to rise." They will start to notice it soon, he says.

BBC Question Time


tweets: UK inflation is
at a record low

Question Time graph

Harry Cole blogger and writer


tweets: First question to Michael Heseltine is about reasons the Tories will lose. His specialist subject.

Tory landslide?

With all this good economic news, why aren't the Conservatives heading for a landslide election victory? That's the first question.

We're off

Question Time

Question Time is under way from Stockton-on-Tees (home of the widest high street in England!). Let's see if we can keep up with the debate.