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  1. Two UKIP election candidates were suspended and a third stood down, complaining of bullying and racism.
  2. Campaigners criticised calls from a committee of MPs for a ban on identifying people who are arrested for sexual offences in England and Wales.
  3. Plans to overhaul transport across the North of England - including with multi-billion pound rail schemes - were laid out by government
  4. There are 48 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Dominic Howell and Angela Harrison

All times stated are UK

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Here's a quick recap of today's main political stories:

That's it for tonight folks, see you at 08:00 GMT on Sunday.

Tomorrow's papers

Here's a quick teaser as to what will be in a few of tomorrow's papers:

  • The Independent leads on the identification of a major Labour donor which it claims the party has "tried to keep secret" - he's a hedge fund manager. The Times has a statement from the donor, released via Labour, in which he says there is "no mystery" around his identity, and he's "proud" to support the party.
  • The Financial Times reports that weeks before major changes to pension schemes come into effect, "hundreds of thousands of savers" remain unable to arrange the free guidance the government has offered.
  • The Sun's front page mixes coverage of the eclipse and the acquittal of four of its journalists charged with making illegal payments to public officials, under the punning headline: "the Sun Smiles."

'Groomed online'

Theresa MAy

The Home Secretary Theresa May has been speaking about the dangers of children being groomed online by extremists. In light of the recent stories about teenagers heading to Syria to join the Islamic State (IS) Ms May called on mothers and fathers to become more aware of what their children got up to online. During a ministerial visit in the Welsh capital, she said: "I think that parents don't sometimes realise the impact of the internet and particularly social media.

"Sometimes they don't know what interactions their children are having and what is going on can be effectively unseen by parents. One of the messages that I want to give to parents is that if you are concerned they might be being radicalised or if they might be thinking of going to Syria to join terrorist groups please say something as soon possible."

Saturday's Times

The Times
The Times

James Chapman, Daily Mail


tweets: Boris on political selfies: "You're importuning for their vote.. at least give something back, no matter how trivial"



Tweets: Schools reform weighed down by a "gradgrind" from ministers and held back by "conservative elements" @TristramHuntMP told #newsnight

Saturday's Express


Saturday's Telegraph


UKIP's turbulent day

Chris Mason

Political correspondent, BBC News

"UKIP are a weather-changing party... but one which bounces off internal turbulence. With three incidents today, it will be intriguing to see whether it affects their standing. They seem to defy gravity - these kinds of headlines don't seem to make a difference."

Tomorrow's Guardian front page

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


SNP poll

An article gaining interest at highlights the latest research carried out by Survation for the Daily Record, which puts the SNP on 47% to Labour's 26%. If that were replicated at the general election it would see Nicola Sturgeon's party pick up 53 out of 59 Scottish Westminster seats, while the Lib Dems would be left with just one MP in Scotland.

Saturday's i


Steel: 'No more coalitions'

Rebecca Keating

BBC News

The former Liberal leader, Lord Steel, says "the most" Liberal Democrats would accept in another hung parliament is a "confidence and supply" deal.

With polls predicting no clear winner at May's general election, the Liberal Democrats could be called upon to shore up a Conservative- or Labour-led government.

Lord Steel, who agreed the Lib-Lab pact with Jim Callaghan's government in the 1970s, told The Week in Parliament there was a "general feeling" the Liberal Democrats needed to "recharge our values".

"I'm pretty certain that the mood in the party will be to say the very most we would accept would be confidence and supply," he said.

"I don't think there will be a mood in the party to go into another coalition with either party," he said.

Saturday's Independent

independent front page

FT front page

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


Rape allegation myths

Campaigners say proposals to bring back a ban on identifying people arrested for sexual offences in England and Wales would "institutionalise the myth that lots of women lie about rape". Lisa Longstaff, from Women Against Rape, told BBC News the cross-party group of MPs calling for the change had been influenced by celebrities and that such a ban would prevent other victims from coming forward. The Home Affairs Committee says the names of suspects should not be published by the media until they're charged - unless police believe there are "exceptional" circumstances.

Saturday' s Daily Mail

Front page of Daily Mail
Daily Mail

What is British-ness?

BBC Radio 4 Any Questions

Asked "What is British-ness?", the panel seem almost united, mentioning tolerance, fair play, respect for individuals and freedom. Mark Littlewood says there is a "strand of small-l liberalism, live-and-live attitude to people that is shared across the political spectrum".

Anonymity for sex crime suspects

BBC Radio 4

On the subject of whether suspects of sex crimes should remain anonymous until they are charged - which is an idea mooted by the Home Affairs Select Committee - Labour's Chris Leslie says he thinks it "legitimate" in a case where there are multiple victims "that we do have to have some of that information available". But he accepts that it is a difficult issue. Tory Patrick McLoughlin wades in, and makes reference to the case of BBC presenter Paul Gambaccini who was put through what was described as "12 months of trauma", and then never charged. "That is just not acceptable, once that air of suspicion comes over somebody and then is not charged," says Mr McLoughlin, but he adds "but I don't want to see anything that stops prosecutions taking place".

Attacks on female politicians

BBC Radio 4 Any Questions

Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt says she and other female politicians have suffered attacks on social media and elsewhere.

Some had had a "dreadful time for their faith, size.. the way they dress". It had to be stopped, she said and the perpetrators charged.

Will you tell?

BBC Radio 4 Any Questions

Jonathan Dimbleby pressed the Conservative and Labour politicians on where they would cut and where they would find money, asking "Will you tell people where the cuts will come or not?"

Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, says there needs to be "some more frank discussions in the run up the election", adding: "We've got to be honest with pensioners and say 'Your pensions are going to rise in line with inflation but we are already borrowing money from ... the next generation and the un-conceived, and that has to stop'."

Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt says the party thinks it can alter the TV licence and winter fuel allowance for better-off pensioners and that the party will set out its departmental cut plans before the election.

David Dimbleby says there were only eight Lib Dems in the Commons for the "yellow budget", but Tessa Munt says many were busy working in their constituencies.

Budget talk

BBC Radio 4 Any Questions

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie MP tells Any Questions in the budget the Chancellor "wanted you to go away thinking everything is fantastic...only problem is, that is not the experience everyone is having". He said the main area of difference between Labour and the coalition was in dealing with the deficit.

Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP said every Labour government had left office with higher unemployment levels than when it came in. There are many areas where we have made advances, he said, but there is more to do and we have to pay back some of the debt Labour ran up.

Any Questions

BBC Radio 4 Any Questions

Starting shortly is Any Questions with Jonathan Dimbleby and guests from Aston University in Birmingham. On the panel tonight are Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie MP, Director General of the the Institute for Economic Affairs, Mark Littlewood, Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, and Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt.

'Wipe the smile off'

Nick Clegg says the Liberal Democrats will "wipe the smile off" Alex Salmond's face by beating him in the general election in the Gordon constituency in Aberdeenshire. An opinion poll in Scotland today put support for the Lib Dems at just 4%, but Mr Clegg insists his party "will do so much better than anyone thinks".

He told a rally at the party's Scottish conference in Aberdeen the Liberal Democrats had shown "incredible resilience in the past five years", and this had helped them to achieve "incredible things".

He said: "That resilience will see off the SNP challenge in the seats we hold. And it will wipe the smile off Alex Salmond's face in Gordon too."

'Dressed up policies'

The Independent

Across at the Independent, journalist Duncan Exley is

providing some analysis to this week's Budget. He said that Chancellor George Osborne has "dressed up policies for the very richest as support for the 'middle class'". He writes: "Increasing the 40p income tax threshold doesn't help the average Briton."

Chancellors' 'debate'

Sky News

Ed Balls and George Osborne

Here's the latest news about the election debates and other TV coverage. Sky News and Facebook say they will host an Ask The Chancellors event next Monday that will involve separate sessions with George Osborne and Ed Balls. They will be quizzed by an audience of entrepreneurs, start-up companies, and local businesses for 30 minutes each during the live broadcast, which will be followed by a Facebook question and answer session for a further 15 minutes. Last week Mr Balls challenged his rival to a head-to-head debate.

'Not the be all and end all'

James Landale

Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

James Landale (left) with Hermance Clegg and Nick Clegg

The Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has said he's "never thought politics is the be all and end all".

In an

interview with BBC deputy political editor James Landale, he "insists the pollsters and the critics will be proved wrong", but also is "prepared to contemplate what might happen if he was not successful".

Are millions wasted on gulls?

Daily and Sunday Politics

Gulls on River Thames in Westminster
(C) British Broadcasting Corporation

Gulls are said to be a major problem in some towns with a report that the prime minister once had the ham stolen from his sandwich. In his Budget speech, George Osborne committed to spend £250,000 on research into what to do about them.

Lib Dem MP Don Foster, who is standing down this month and has been campaigning on the issue for years, told Giles Dilnot why the aggressive birds had to be controlled. He said "millions of pounds are being wasted" on how to deal with the birds with issues over noise, mess, damage and causing illnesses.

Watch their interview

UKIP 'expenses' suspension

Janice Atkinson
Getty Images

The Kent and Essex Police have received a report of fraud following the

suspension of South East MEP Janice Atkinson from UKIP (left). There have been claims of financial misconduct concerning a member of her staff. Ms Atkinson was due to challenge the Conservatives in Folkestone and Hythe at the general election - but will now face a UKIP disciplinary panel on Monday.

Child abuse

Yvette Cooper
Getty Images

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper says child abuse is not being given "the focus, time and resource needed". Her comments follow the news that 260 people have been charged under Operation Notarise, which targeted people suspected of looking at images of child abuse on the internet. Ms Cooper says this is "a tiny proportion of the cases the [National Crime Agency] NCA are aware of", saying the agency has details of at least 20,000 people who have accessed child abuse images, but has arrested fewer than 1,000.

The NCA says the 260 charged include 16 teachers or school and college staff, a retired magistrate, two doctors and a police service employee.

UKIP resignation letter

Jonathan Stanley, who has resigned from UKIP and stood down as the party's candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, has released his resignation letter. He writes: "Recent performances in the handling of issues in Scotland, in the banning of migrant children from state funded education, and in health care have left me unable to campaign for UKIP.

"This is a sad decision for me."

Unite leader on strike rules

Len McCluskey
Getty Images

The head of the Unite union

Len McCluskey says he will not "respect" any law passed by a future Conservative government tightening the rules on strike ballots.

David Cameron has said strikes should not be lawful unless a minimum number of union members vote in a ballot.

Len McCluskey said this would "oppress the people and remove their freedoms", adding, "Can we respect it? It ain't going to happen."

Leadership - LBC

Asked about the whether Boris Johnson might be the leader of the Tory party in the future, George Osborne said: "All this speculation about the leadership seems to be predicated on the fact that there might be a vacancy." He said he knew David Cameron "pretty well" and knew he wanted to lead his party. Mr Osborne also added that he personally doesn't think about about one day leading his party, instead he just wants to "focus on the job in hand".

Guardian's of the Galaxy

Asked on LBC radio which song would get him on to the dance floor, Chancellor George Osborne says: "I quite like The Killers and Spaceman... I also bought the soundtrack to a movie The Guardian's of the Galaxy, it's brilliant."

Chancellors' debate

On LBC, Mr Osborne is asked about the prospect of a "chancellors' debate" including Danny Alexander from the Liberal Democrats.

"To paraphrase Ed Miliband - anytime anywhere," he says.

'Weak opposition' - LBC

"It would be madness to go back to that chaos," is how Chancellor George Osborne describes a potential Labour government on 8 May. "They don't have a serious economic argument," he adds. Speaking on LBC, he says "there is an absence of argument from the Labour Party" and describes them as "quite a weak opposition".

National debt - LBC

Osborne says that the national deficit might sound like an "abstract concept", but it "means that this country has to spend billions of pounds on the debt that we owe". He says that it stems growth and needs reducing.

Osborne on LBC

George Osborne is on LBC Radio. He's talking about the concept of the "northern powerhouse". He said that historically "the Conservative Party was always a bit shy of talking about the north of England". He quickly adds though that "the gap between North and South grew under the last [Labour] government." And he believes that in his Budget he has put forward the Conservative answer "to what is clearly geographical imbalances".

The week in 60 seconds

Daily and Sunday Politics

Danny Alexander with yellow Budget box
(C) British Broadcasting Corporation

A red box, a yellow box, Nigel Farage's book, Shapps and/or Green, and coalition talks all feature in a one-minute video guide to the political week from Daily Politics reporter Adam Fleming.

Watch it here

'Drifting through corridors'

Mark D'Arcy

Parliamentary correspondent

In his

blog, Mark reports on a peculiar atmosphere in the House of Commons today....

"Those who remain seem, mostly, to be MPs who're not coming back (voluntarily or otherwise) who drift through the corridors with an abstracted air of premature nostalgia, along with a retinue of parliamentary staffers who'll be uncertain of their future, too," he writes.

Mark also looks ahead to next week - which will be the last few days of this Parliament.