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  1. Net migration jumped 80,000 to 298,000 in the year to September 2014, the ONS said
  2. The Conservatives had hoped to cut the figure to "the tens of thousands"
  3. The NHS came under fire in new reports on the extent of sexual abuse carried out at hospitals by Jimmy Savile
  4. State-rescued RBS reported £3.5bn loss for 2014, better than 2013 but chief exec won't take bonus
  5. The UK is one of six Nato countries that will cut defence spending in 2015, a study said
  6. There are 70 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Dominic Howell and Tom Moseley

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Recap of the day's events

Here's a quick recap of today's top political stories (and a couple of things to look out for tomorrow):

  • A surge in
    net migration to 298,000 has killed off David Cameron's hopes of reducing it below 100,000 before the election
  • MPs
    have said the TV licence system does not have a long-term future
  • State-owned bank RBS
    has reported a loss of £3.5bn for 2014, down from a £9bn loss the previous year
  • UKIP
    has requested police bodyguards for Nigel Farage during the election campaign
  • Things to look out for: Labour are expected to announce their much-anticipated tuition fee policy at some stage tomorrow, and the UKIP spring conference gets under way


Phew! Today is coming to a close, and it has been busy. Net migration figures dominated the political conversation with all the other parties keen to point out the Tories' failure to get the numbers down to the "tens of thousands" as they had promised. But the Conservatives came back and argued that the figures were the result of a successful economy. Away from the campaign trail, another big story which attracted lots of attention was the Islamic State (IS) extremist "Jihadi John" whose identity was said to be that of Mohammed Emwazi from London. Check in with Politics Live tomorrow where we will endeavour to bring you all the political news, reaction and analysis from 6:00 GMT onwards. Until then, goodnight.

QT - Syria: Victims or terrorists

Earlier, Sunday Times journalist Camilla Long answered a question about whether the girls who have seemingly left the UK en route to Syria should be viewed as terrorists or victims. "Terrorists," she said. "It's a real pity such glamour is associated with it... it really is not running away to join the circus," she added.

This Week

Kevin Maguire

The BBC's This Week returns tonight with the Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire taking to the skies as a low-budget Top Gun to review the political news of the week, while Conservative MEP Dan Hannan will put the case for MPs not only having a second job, but making politics secondary to a main job. Presenter Andrew Neil is joined by Diane Abbott, Michael Portillo, Miranda Green and Nick Hewer live on BBC1, straight after Question Time at 11.45pm (or 12.15am in Northern Ireland). Desktop users can watch the programme via the Live Coverage tab at the top of this page.

QT - pay rise

In a moment of mutual appreciation, the crowd burst into spontaneous applause from a question from audience member, who is a nurse, and accuses the government of being in "breach of a contract" because she has struggled to get a 1% pay rise. "They earn more than enough," she says.

QT - MPs' second jobs continued

Reeves admits she earns three times as much as her constituents in Leeds West. Journalist Camilla Long chips in: "I really personally think it should be one job for each MP, I have elected them to be there in parliament and be in the constituency office." But she adds: "If we value our MPs we should give them a bit more money, so if someone comes to their door they don't have to think twice."

QT - MPs' second jobs

"It's plain wrong," declares Rachel Reeves, who is sporting a cardigan which is a similar colour to Labour's controversial campaign minibus. She says that MPs should represent their constituents and it's a "full time" job. Lib Dem Tessa Munt concurs with Reeves' general point. She says 281 MPs out of a total of 650 have second jobs, and earned combined £7.4m for outside work in the last year. "This is disgraceful," she exclaims. But Tory Grant Shapps adds a different view: "When you start to think about it when you become a minister you already have a second job.....You receive a second salary." He adds: "Ed Miliband has only ever worked in politics... do we really want the House of Commons full of people who know nothing about the outside world."

QT - Mark Reckless

UKIP's Mark Reckless argues that "an Australian style points based system" is the answer get the net migration figures down. He says the UK would be able to choose who comes in and what skills they have.

QT - Munt attacks the Conservatives

Lib Dem Tessa Munt says that the Tory ambition to cut net migration down to the tens of thousands was a "silly promise to have made". "It could not possibly have been kept," she adds.

QT - Reeves on migration

Labour's Rachel Reeves says that under this government 4.9 million migrant workers are paid less than the minimum wage. "We have got to do something about that," she says.

QT - More from Shapps on migration

Tory chairman Grant Shapps adds that from within the EU there are currently no restrictions for migration movements. He says that the UK has the fastest growth in Europe, and the country has produced more new net jobs than the rest of Europe put together, therefore people want to come to the UK. But he says: "We want to see these numbers come down because it puts a lot of pressure on public services. We want to have more control."

QT - Migration numbers

First question from the audience tonight is unsurprisingly on today's net migration figures. UKIP's Mark Reckless comes out all guns blazing and says the number of migrants coming to the UK is comparable to a city the size of Hull. He poses the question how can you plan public services when you have such an "enormous and unpredictable" number of migrants coming to the country. "There is no control," he adds. Tory chairman Grant Shapps admits the figures are "disappointing".

Friday's Metro front page


Mirror front page

Daily Mirror

Friday's Daily Express

Daily Express

Financial Times front page


Question Time


Tweets: This is your #TenMinuteTeaWarning . We're on at 10.45pm. #bbcqt


Tomorrow's Guardian


Friday's Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Robin Brant - BBC political correspondent


Tweets: New poll good for @Nigel_Farage name recognition in #ge2015

Robin Brant tweet

Mark Reckless - UKIP MP


Tweets: Catering for @bbcquestiontime and they've let me on panel for UKIP but will they let any UKIP into audience?

Mark Reckless tweet

The state of play

It's 22:00, but there's plenty of politics still to come and this is the place to get it. We'll be scouring the front pages for political scoops, and you can take your pick from Question Time, Newsnight and This Week on the Live Coverage tab above. In the meantime, for the benefit of those checking in after a long day at work/the pub, here are some of today's top political stories:

  • A surge in
    net migration to 298,000 has killed off David Cameron's hopes of reducing it below 100,000 before the election
  • MPs
    have said the TV licence system does not have a long-term future
  • State-owned bank RBS
    has reported a loss of £3.5bn for 2014, down from a £9bn loss the previous year
  • UKIP
    has requested police bodyguards for Nigel Farage during the election campaign

Nick Clegg - Lib Dem leader


Tweets: Great to visit Bradfield Dungworth primary in Sheffield today. Lots of great questions from their year 6 class!

Nick Clegg with schoolchildren from Bradfield Dungworth primary in Sheffield
Nick Clegg

Julia Hartley-Brewer - Journalist


Tweets: I'll be on @BBCRadio4 #AnyQuestions Fri 8pm along with... long pause, cough, er, pause... Green Party leader Natalie Bennett. Should be fun!

Campbell criticises Prevent cuts

Here's a bit more on security matters from Sir Menzies Campbell, who sits on the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).

Asked why supposedly intelligent people, raised in Britain, were attracted to Islamic State, he said: "There is a real issue as to how you get to people like that. One of the ways we've tried to do that in this country is by the 'prevent strategy' which was introduced under the last Labour government, the purpose of which was to identify people who may be susceptible to radicalisation and do what possibly could be done in order to prevent them going any further.

"But again, unfortunately, as part of this period of austerity the funds for the 'prevent strategy' have also been cut.

"You've got to prevent the terrorist act and for that you need well-resourced and highly efficient and professional security services. But you also need to start at the other end and make sure that the people you're talking about understand and realise that they do have a stake in this country."

Press 'fear TV debates'

Here's a bit more from Labour's Michael Dugher's interview with The House magazine. The shadow transport secretary suggests a public rail operator could follow the French or German model and bid to run services abroad. He also accuses the press of fearing the TV debates because they will allow the public to see Ed Miliband "for who he really is".

Question Time coming up

Hold up, it's Question Time tonight. On the panel in Telford this evening is Tory defector and UKIP MP Mark Reckless, Conservative chairman Grant Shapps, shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves, Sunday Times journalist Camilla Long, and Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt. You can watch on the Live Coverage tab above from 22:45 GMT.

More career opportunities - Crabb

Stephen Crabb

The Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb has also been interviewed by The House magazine. Asked if he wanted to be Tory leader he said "of course I'd love further jobs after this one that give me more opportunities' to further "social justice". He also attacks Conservative colleague John Redwood for his remarks on single mothers, and talks openly about his own upbringing in a single parent family.

Menzies Campbell

Ming Campbell

On the news masked Islamic State militant "Jihadi John" has been named as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man in his mid-20s from west London, former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell said: "We are told that he has been identified but as we have just heard the White House that there is neither confirmation or denial, and that is still the position of Downing Street and the Met Police."

Sir Menzies, who is a member of Parliament's Intelligence and Security committee, added that the prime minister's pledge earlier this year to spend an extra £130m over two years on the UK's intelligence services "doesn't really amount to very much" given that their budget at the moment is about £2bn in round figures.

'Clarkson is an idiot' - Dugher

Michael Dugher

The House magazine has an interview with shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher, who says Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is an "idiot" who is "not remotely representative of motorists".

James Chapman, Daily Mail


Tweets: Is it in Ukip's interests for Farage to be gallivanting with Palin in US rather than here for long-scheduled pre-election migration stats?

Balls denies 'bust up'

Ed Balls and Ed Miliband

During a factory visit in Glasgow Ed Balls has has denied having a "bust up" with Labour leader Ed Miliband over the party's tuition fees policy, which is expected to be announced in the coming days. The shadow chancellor said the Labour team had "all worked closely together" to finalise its plans to take into the general election. Mr Miliband signalled in 2011 he would promise to cut fees from the current maximum of £9,000 a year. Internal negotiations over what precisely will be in their manifesto have been described by Labour's own shadow Treasury team as "tortuous". But asked earlier if the process had "involved a bust up" between him and Mr Miliband, Mr Balls said: "No. Not at all. We've all worked closely together. It's going to be announced, the sums add up, it's a good policy. And unlike the Liberal Democrats, we'll stick to it."

Second jobs for MPs

Birmingham Mail

Labour is keen to introduce a cap on outside earnings for MPs if it wins the general election. The Birmingham Mail

has been taking a look at how its local MPs would fare under the proposals. It says shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, singled out by David Cameron during PMQs yesterday, would "narrowly avoid" being forced to give up his role as a history lecturer under Ed Miliband's plans.

Immigration recap

Here's a quick recap on one of the top political stories of the day, which is about the Office of National Statistic's announcement on net migration figures.

  • Net migration to the UK has risen to 298,000, according to the final set of figures before the election
  • The numbers, for the year ending in September 2014, are now well above the level of migration when David Cameron came to power in 2010
  • The Tories, who had promised to get it to below 100,000, said the figures were "disappointing" and blamed a rise in EU migration - and Lib Dem "constraints"
  • Labour said Mr Cameron's "grand promises" were "now in tatters"
  • Downing Street said the rise in immigration was driven in part by Britain's economic success relative to its neighbours in the eurozone.
  • UKIP's Steven Woolfe says the government should be "thoroughly embarrassed"
  • Net migration is the difference between the number of people who come to live in the UK (for at least a year) and the number who are leaving (for at least a year)

New Statesman


Tweets: A
four-graph guide from @May2015NS: net migration hits 300,000 - a ten-year high

Hague on defence spending

Carole Walker

Political correspondent, BBC News

William Hague has said he "strongly supports" spending 2% of GDP on defence and said the government does not accept the latest estimate from the European Leadership Network that UK will spend less than 2% next year. Mr Hague told a Westminster lunch "we are spending 2% on defence". He said the government had taken a lead on the issue and set an example to others within Nato. Asked whether the Conservatives should commit to spending 2% in future he said that was a matter for the manifesto and for the next government. Mr Hague said it was important Britain retained strong and effective defence forces and that would certainly happen under a Conservative government.

Robin Brant - BBC political correspondent


Tweets: #UKIP conf goers will be attending gala dinner tonight at Walpole bay hotel surrounded by art work incl. local girl Tracey emin

Peerage for Sir Bob Kerslake

Former head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, has been granted a peerage following his retirement from Whitehall. The peerage was conferred by the Queen following his retirement as permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government. Sir Bob, who will turn 60 on Saturday, was nominated for a life peerage by David Cameron.

Plan for more homes

Vince Cable

Plans to tackle the housing crisis, including building more homes off-site to cut costs and increase productivity, have been unveiled by the government. Business Secretary Vince Cable said there was an urgent demand for new, affordable homes because only 150,000 houses were built last year, half the number needed. Mr Cable said councils should be encouraged to build houses, while more public land should be freed up for development. He added: "To have any chance of meeting the demand for affordable homes, the industry must embrace the latest house-building techniques."

Those pregnancy comments

Rachel Reeves

The row which broke out after Tory MP Andrew Rosindell raised a query about Labour's Rachel Reeves potentially working as a cabinet minister while pregnant continues to provoke strong reaction. Mr Rosindell said that people must be "put in positions they can handle", and be able to give the role of a cabinet minister their "full attention". But in the

Daily Mirror today Alec Shelbrooke - the Conservative MP on the newspaper's politics panel - says his Tory colleague's view on working women has no place in the 21st century. Meanwhile, in the
Daily Express, columnist Virginia Blackburn argues that Rachel Reeves is doing women a disservice, because she "would enter the cabinet if Labour won the election and then go on maternity leave a few weeks later".