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Summary

  1. Ed Miliband unveiled Labour plan to cut university tuition fees in England and Wales by £3,000 to £6,000
  2. David Cameron and Nick Clegg announced further devolution of powers to Wales
  3. Nigel Farage addressed UKIP's spring conference in Margate, Kent
  4. Rolling political coverage included Today, the News Channel, Daily Politics and Any Questions
  5. There are 69 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Angela Harrison and Dominic Howell

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Recap

Before we go here's a quick recap of the main political stories of the day:

  • Labour announced its promise to cut university tuition fees in England from £9,000 to £6,000 per year from autumn 2016. Ed Miliband says a Labour government would pay for the fee cut by reducing tax relief on pensions for those earning over £150,000 per year.
  • UKIP will back the Conservatives' deficit reduction strategy in the next Parliament but only if they "stick to their promises", Nigel Farage said ahead of his party's conference in Margate, Kent.
  • A new
    devolution package for Wales has removed "the last remaining barriers" to an income tax referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron said. Alongside Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, Mr Cameron said the further powers were a "clearer, stronger, fairer" deal.

That's it for today. We'll be back with all the political news, reaction and analysis on Sunday at 08:00 GMT. See you then, goodnight.

Health and social care merger

Hugh Pym

Health editor

The announcement about ground-breaking changes in health and social care in Greater Manchester was a "genuine surprise", Hugh Pym reports in his

blog.

Murphy to stand as MP

Scottish Labour leader

Jim Murphy has said he is the party's candidate for the East Renfrewshire constituency at the general election. He had faced calls to clarify his position over the Westminster seat.

Compensation call

One interesting article which is being reported in tomorrow's

Times is that MPs are calling for price comparison websites to compensate consumers who were misled into switching to deals that were not the cheapest on the market.

Russian politician shot

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

The Newsnight programme also carries some international news about a leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, who has been shot dead in Moscow. An unidentified attacker shot Mr Nemtsov four times in central Moscow, a source in the law enforcement bodies told Russia's Interfax news agency.

Get the full story here.

Times' front page

The Times
The Times

Newsnight

BBC Newsnight

BBC Two, 22:30

For the political junkies out there who want yet more analysis Newsnight has just started on BBC2. The programme reveals that Mohammed Emwazi - who has supposedly been identified as an Islamic State extremist - had anger management therapy at secondary school.

Daily Telegraph

#tomorrowspaperstoday

Daily Telegraph
Telegraph

'Red line' in coalition talks

Carole Walker

Political correspondent, BBC News

Ed Miliband made that promise [to cut tuition fees in England's universities] and it's going to be a red line in any coalition negotiations. If he does not keep that promise, it's going to be a heavy political price.

Guardian front page

#tomorrowspaperstoday

Guardian
Guardian

Saturday's 'i' front page

#tomorrowspaperstoday

i
Inpho

Students on fees

Many students are welcoming Labour's proposal to cut tuition fees at England's universities - but many are calling for more help with living costs. The BBC spoke to

students at Leeds University.

Daily Express front page

#tomorrowspaperstoday

Daily Express
Daily Express

Martine Croxall - BBC news presenter

@MartineBBC

Tweets: #BBCPapers with @carolinefdaniel of the FT & broadcaster Anna Raeburn at 10.30pm & 11.30pm

Morning Star's front page

Morning Star
Morning Star

Tomorrow's Independent

#tomorrowspaperstoday

independent
Independent

Tomorrow's Daily Mail front page

#tomorrowspaperstoday

Mail front page
Daily Mail

Slow hand clap

BBC Radio 4

Some of the Any Questions audience drown out UKIP's MEP for Scotland David Coburn with a slow hand clap after he complains: "How would you know how many houses we need if you don't know how many people are coming in to the country?"

The MEP clamps down on Ed Davey for using the phrase "zero carbon", saying "zero carbon houses is a middle class obsession"

There is some booing and he complains that the audience are very Green.

Hung parliament deals

#BBCAQ

BBC Radio 4

On the question whether parties would form a coalition in the event of a hung parliament, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said: "We would not in any way at all prop up a Tory government. And we are not looking towards Labour or some other Labour-led grouping." She said she would prefer to support a minority government on a "vote by vote basis". "You don't get the ministerial cars but you get to keep your principles," she adds.

Lib Dem Ed Davey says his party would speak to whichever is the largest party about forming a coalition and that the only party he would not go in to coalition with was UKIP.

Bennett on migration

BBC Radio 4

Leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett speaks through the shouting voices of other panellists to remind the audience that the net migration figures also include international students the "majority of which go home after they have finished their course". She admits on the subject of migration the UK needs a "controlled" system.

UKIP on migration

BBC Radio 4

UKIP's David Coburn takes centre stage with his answer to a question about the recent net migration figures. He said it was ridiculous that 624,000 people came to the UK and said it was comparable to the size of Liverpool and Aberdeen. He said that "regardless of ethnic background" the UK needed "quality people coming here" who are going to add something to the country.

"If we don't control our borders we don't know what's happening," he said.

Greens on tuition fees

BBC Radio 4

Also on Any Questions, Leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett drew cheers from the audience when she said: "Education is a public good. It should be paid for from progressive taxation."

Any Questions

#BBCAQ

UKIP's MEP for Scotland David Coburn also chipped in and said that UKIP would scrap tuition fees for students doing particular subjects as long as for five years after they graduate they paid their taxes and contributed to society.

Tuition fees

Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds MP said she did not recognise the analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) which said it would be higher-earning graduates who would benefit from the changes.

"I don't buy that," she said.

"I do think we are under-estimating the anxiety of having that debt when you graduate from university. I don't understand why Ed Davey thinks that is a good thing."

Any Questions

BBC Radio 4

Energy secretary Ed Davey, a Lib Dem, came out all guns blazing to the first question from the audience about Labour's tuition fee policy announced today. He said the policy was a "nonsense", and would only favour the "future bankers" of this country because the only students who would see any benefit would be those who leave university and get a starting salary of £35,000. He said the average starting salary was £21,000. He described the policy as a "weird betrayal of Labour's values".

Any Questions

BBC Radio 4

Tonight on

Any Questions Jonathan Dimbleby hosts political debate from Bristol University with the Leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, UKIP's MEP for Scotland David Coburn, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey and Lib Dem MP and the Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds MP. Nuggets from the programme will be coming up here shortly.

David Cameron in Wales

David Cameron
BBC
David Cameron says the Conservatives are doing more for Wales than any other party

As well as talking about further devolution for Wales today, David Cameron also addressed a conference of Welsh Conservatives in Cardiff, telling them the Tories were

.

The Prime Minister said the Conservatives were the "driving force" behind road and rail improvements and praised Wales' manufacturing industry, saying it was growing faster than France, Germany and other UK regions.

Peston's blog on tuition fees

Robert Peston

Economics editor

One way of seeing

Labour's tuition fee plan is that it is replacing £3.1bn of university financing via student loans with £3.1bn of financing from taxation - through a tax raid on pensions.

Clegg's Lib Dem's on the NHS

Nick Clegg
PA

The NHS would receive billions of extra funding if the Liberal Democrats have a hand in the next UK government, Nick Clegg has said. The Lib Dem leader pledged to give an additional £8bn to the health service in England - and an extra £450 million for Wales - by the end of the next parliament. Mr Clegg made the promise during a rally in Cardiff - where earlier, alongside Prime Minister David Cameron, he announced UK government plans to give more power to Wales.

'Challenge misconceptions'

Mark Reckless
Reuters

Although it was Nigel Farage's rallying speech which stole the show during today's UKIP conference. The audience also heard from Tory defector and UKIP MP Mark Reckless. He warned that the party will not grow unless it can shake off the taint of xenophobia and demonstrate it is the "party of the NHS".

Mr Reckless, who won a by-election in Rochester and Strood after defecting from the Conservatives, said currently voters knew UKIP wanted to leave the EU and cut immigration. Mr Reckless told activists: "There are two things most people know about us - we want to leave the European Union, and we want to cut immigration. We should talk about those things. But if we want to get beyond 20%-30% of the vote to the 40% or so we will need to win constituencies, we will have to explain why we want those things, challenge some of the misconceptions there are around our party, and talk about other things as well."

Your views

We are interested in your views on the political stories of the day. Get in touch by using the "Get Involved" tab at the top of the page.

Here's what Alison and David Foster had to say on Labour's tuition fee policy.

When will the real issue over student fees be discussed? The reason the current system massively disadvantages the poor is because they cannot afford to live on the tiny living allowance that can be borrowed under the scheme. The majority of university accommodation fees are more than the cost of living loan (forget eating and travelling!

Unless you come from a family that can afford several thousand to support their son/daughter's living costs, you'll have to find a job with a lot of hours to keep your head above the waterline. So, great that Labour will reduce your future loan bill, but none of the parties mention that it's only the middle class that can cope with the immediate costs of living as a student.

'The glamour of spying'

David Davis
BBC News
David Davis claims the committee is not taken seriously by UK spies

The committee monitoring the security services has been taken in by the "glamour" of spying and is failing to do its job, its founder has said. Conservative MP David Davis said the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) had been "captured by the agencies they are supposed to be overseeing". He also said ex-chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind acted as a "spokesman" for MI5, MI6 and GCHQ rather than a watchdog. Sir Malcolm said the criticisms were "ludicrous" and had no basis in fact.

Get the full story here.

Osborne: 'economic chaos'

George Osborne
PA

Here's a bit more from the Chancellor George Osborne on Labour's hotly-debated tuition fee policy announced earlier today. The chancellor claimed the Labour's planned pension tax change - which is needed in order to reduce the fees - would hit "people on middle incomes - including nurses, teachers and firefighters".

He said: "Another Labour policy launch has collapsed into chaos. Far from hitting only the richest as Ed Miliband claimed, his new tax on pensions will hit many people on middle incomes including nurses, teachers and firefighters. So a tuition fees policy that only benefits better-off students is being paid for by hardworking taxpayers on middle incomes. It just shows that all Ed Miliband offers is higher taxes, more debt and the economic chaos those would bring."

NUS on tuition fees

Megan Dutton, the vice president of the National Union of Students, welcomes Labour's plans, saying: "We welcome this policy as a step in the right direction, a step away from the failed experiment of fees and the marketisation of higher education."

Afternoon round-up

A quick re-cap of the main political stories of the day:

  • Labour has set out its plans
    to cut university fees in England from £9,000 a year to £6,000
  • Ed Miliband says the universities wouldn't lose income and the cut would be paid for by lowering tax relief on pensions for high earners
  • David Cameron says Labour has shown it's incompetent and that its policy would mean those who've gone on to good jobs and high earnings will, in effect, be subsidised by those with less money
  • The Liberal Democrats say the idea is a terrible mistake and that the Treasury will hang on to the pensions money and not pass it on to universities
  • In other news
    Nigel Farage has told his party's spring conference UKIP will get a "good number of MPs over the line" in the election and emerge as the "main opposition to the Labour Party" in the north of England
  • In Wales,
    David Cameron and Nick Clegg have been offering a new deal on devolution, including guaranteed minimum funding for the Welsh government, control of fracking and more energy projects.

Farage 'upset' people think UKIP is racist

In an interview with the BBC's chief political correspondent Vicki Young, UKIP's leader Nigel Farage said it "upsets" him that a growing number of people seem to think that UKIP is a racist party. "We are no such thing, we never have been, we never will be, in fact there is a growing number of ethnic minorities standing for us in elections," he said.

Betting man?

Bookmakers William Hill believe Nigel Farage will become an MP at the general election - quoting him at odds of 4/7 to win the South Thanet seat. And UKIP are also fancied to poll more votes than the Lib Dems, with the bookies offering odds of 2/7 for the party to do so, and 5/2 not to.

"UKIP's ever-growing impact on domestic politics has added a fascinating element to the general election campaign and they have been heavily backed to win five or more seats, which may give them a genuine chance of being involved in a coalition government", says Hill's spokesman Graham Sharpe.

Student fees devolution

It's worth pointing out that Labour's pledge to cut fees relates to England only. Education is a devolved issue in the UK and students from Wales and Northern Ireland pay less than £4,000 a year in fees if they stay there to study, while those from Scotland pay no fees if they study there. If Welsh students want to study in England, the Welsh government covers the additional fees.