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  1. This is a test version of a BBC Live page mimicking the content from 24 March edition of Politics Live
  2. Westminster reacts to the news that David Cameron says he wouldn't serve a third term as prime minister
  3. Labour will pledge not to raise VAT if elected in May
  4. There are 44 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Matthew Davis and Alex Hunt

All times stated are UK

Have Your Say

Excellent PR stunt from David Cameron. Just before election put the idea in the electorate's mind that he's already won it. Genius.

Tom Jolly

Cameron heckled

David Cameron at AgeUK

"You're not answering the question", "rubbish" and "answer the question" - these were some of the heckles faced by David Cameron at the AgeUK conference earlier. "Out of all the PM Directs, schools and factory visits," Telegraph correspondent Matthew Holehouse tweets, "never seen Cam jeered, booed, heckled like at Age UK". After taking questions from the media, Mr Cameron thanked the delegates for their "lively questions and the lively interactions". But Labour has already commented on Cameron's reception. Shadow health minister Jamie Reed says: "David Cameron cannot shake off his betrayal of the NHS and older people's care services."

Salmond says no Tory pact

Is there any chance at all of a deal between the Conservatives and the SNP after the election? Alex Salmond says no. Last night at an event in London, he told a journalist his party would not strike a deal with the Tories for full fiscal autonomy.Now, the former SNP leader has said his party would try and topple a minority Conservative government. He told the New Statesman: "The Tories would have to go effectively straight for a vote of confidence, usually the Queen's Speech…and we'd be voting against." more here.

David Cameron and Alex Salmond

Now, the former SNP leader has said his party would try and topple a minority Conservative government. He told the New Statesman:

"The Tories would have to go effectively straight for a vote of confidence, usually the Queen's Speech…and we'd be voting against."

Party funding

The coalition didn't make much progress in reforming party funding because the parties couldn't agree on the level of a donations cap: too low would help the Labour party, too high would damage Labour.


Now the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has been investigating where the parties get their cash, has called for reform.Editor Rachel Oldroyd writes that review of the current legislation is now overdue. "It is certainly time for a thorough rethink," she says. "As the Bureau's past investigations have revealed there are considerable weaknesses in the rules governing disclosure of political donations and wider fundraising. The system is simply not transparent enough."

Vince on the attack

Much of the political talk today, for obvious reasons, has been about the identity of the next Conservative leader. But how about the other coalition party? Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable has had some pretty strong words for another of the potential successors to Nick Clegg, Tim Farron. Here's what Mr Cable told Buzzfeed : "He's a very good campaigning MP, but he's never been in government and has never had to make difficult decisions and I think his credibility isn't great. You know, he's an entertaining speaker and has a bit of a fan club. But I suspect he would not be seen as a very credible leader, at least now. Maybe in five, 10 years' time, things are different."

Falklands worries

House of Commons


Port Stanley

Here's a few of the contributions from backbench MPs on the Falkland Islands:

  • Labour's Barry Sheerman says he hopes the "whiff of gunpowder and sabre rattling we heard this morning" doesn't preclude taking part in discussion at the "senior diplomatic level".
  • Conservative Alec Shelbrooke says the actions of Argentina and Russia show "that we must maintain Trident as a deterrent."
  • Conservative defence expert Dr Julian Lewis asks for a commitment that 2% of GDP will be spent on defence throughout the lifetime of the next parliament. Russia and Argentina react to the "signal we send to them", he argues.

The Commons is now moving on to another statement - this one on cybersecurity from Francis Maude.

Political speechwriters

Daily Politics

Live on BBC Two


Politicians will make a lot of speeches in the coming weeks in order to win votes, but many of their lines will not have been written by them. Political speechwriters often either do the work, or hone the ideas of the politician they write for. Watch a Daily Politics film, where Giles Dilnot hears from two big beasts of the scriptwriting world for the view from behind the podium.

DUP: No horse trading after election

Daily and Sunday Politics

The Democratic Unionist Party will "put our mat out very clearly before the election" and not take part in horse-trading after 7 May, said one of its MPs. Jeffrey Donaldson said "national issues will take prominence", and the party will decide this weekend at its spring conference where it stands on supporting larger parties. But speaking to Jo Coburn on the Daily Politics, he would not say whether he backed the Conservatives or Labour.

The DUP is the fourth largest party in the current Parliament and could have a role in deciding which party leads a hung parliament, should none emerge with a majority after the election. Speaking of a potential link up with his former Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), Mr Donaldson said "maybe that will happen one day".

Watch the interview

'Slightly more difficult'

BBC Radio 5 Live

Brian Binley

Conservative MP Brian Binley, who is standing down at the next election, says he was "a little surprised" by David Cameron's comments. It wasn't a "scripted, planned announcement as such" in his view. "The prime minister has a perfect right, being a young man with a young family - I can understand why 20 years in politics would be long enough for anybody." Mr Binley says the story "could create a bit of a diversion" over the coming weeks. He wonders whether Mr Cameron is right to pick out Theresa May, George Osborne and Boris Johnson as his potential successors.

"It's made it perhaps slightly more difficult for the three people named - and who knows whether those three people are going to be in the frame in three-and-a-half years' time."

Brian Binley MP

Vicky Young, BBC chief political correspondent


tweets: Been in Hove hearing what voters think about no 3rd term for Cameron. Some admire his honesty others think it's undermined his authority.

David Cameron, Prime Minister


tweets : Today's plane crash in the Alps is heartbreaking news. The UK will do everything it can to support the French emergency services.

Villiers 'sympathies' over On the Runs

BBC Radio 4 World at One

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers tells The World At One she's already apologised for the "hurt caused to victims" by the On the Runs letters condemned by MPs today . It was never an amnesty scheme, she says. The Northern Ireland committee has complained of question-marks over the legality of the government's actions. "I provided clarity in September when I announced to the Commons the scheme was at an end," she says.

John Stevens, Daily Mail reporter


tweets: Ukip announcement gone off rails. Local party treasurer says new candidate chosen without consultation. Press officer asks him to keep quiet

Ukip policy 'off rails'

Ukip announcement gone off rails. Local party treasurer says new candidate chosen without consultation. Press officer asks him to keep quiet

Labour's Falklands response

Vernon Coaker

Shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker voices his support to the government over defending the Falklands: "The government is right in its vow to remain vigilant in the protection of Falkland Islanders at all times," he says. But he suggests defence of the islands should be kept permanently under review, especially given "the role of Russia in the region".

Green views

Here's some details of the ComRes polling of 56 Green councillors discussed on the Daily Politics just now. The top findings are:

  • No Green councillors would join a Conservative-led coalition in the event of a hung parliament
  • All Green Party councillors believe the top level of income tax should be over 45%
  • 96% of Green councillors do not want Trident renewed

Chinooks heading south

House of Commons


Around 1,200 military and civilian personnel will continue to defend the Falklands, Michael Fallon tells MPs.

  • Two Chinooks are to be deployed to the Falklands, he says, in order to provide more tactical flexibility to the UK's defensive forces there.
  • The Royal Navy will continue to maintain a patrol vessel in the archipelago
  • Mr Fallon announces £180m of infrastructure spending in the Falklands over the next ten years

Falklands statement

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is on his feet making his statement about the Falkland Islands. "We will always defend the right of the Falkland Islanders to determine their own political future," he tells MPs. The review he's updating the Commons about today was triggered in December 2013. Not that he can actually say what it found, of course, because of "operational sensitivities". But Mr Fallon can say the development of an oil and gas industry has been a factor.

House of Commons

Rural payments agency

House of Commons


In the Commons farming minister George Eustice has been taking questions about the Rural Payments Agency, which has struggled to implement its digital service for farmers. Maria Eagle tells MPs that the government has been "insisting that everything will work" as recently as 12 March, only to admit today that they are behind. Responding to Ms Eagle, George Eustice says while he cannot guarantee the payments - made up of funding under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy - will be made in the "payment window" he is "confident we will have a system in place to deal with them".

Debating the Army

Daily Politics

Live on BBC Two

Ahead of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon's Falklands statement, which is coming up shortly, the Daily Politics samples the views of the Greens' Andrew Cooper and UKIP's Peter Reeve on the role of the military. "The bigger issue in defence is what the Greens would do to decimate our Army, which is even worse than the terrible things that Labour and the Conservatives are proposing," Mr Reeve says. Mr Cooper says the Army should be more about peacekeeping and humanitarian aid. "These are the sorts of things that will give our country more security, not less," he insists. "We need to be using our armed forces intelligently."

Daily Politics

DUP's hung parliament plans

Jeffrey Donaldson of the Democratic Unionist Party - currently the fourth largest party in the Commons - has been explaining the DUP's approach in the event of a hung parliament. "What we will seek to do is support whoever is going to deliver the strongest government for the United Kingdom… we're not in the business of bringing about instability, we've had enough of that." He says there's an opportunity to "maximise Northern Ireland's influence", though - suggesting there may be strings attached to his party's support.


Maggie Aitch


tweets: #Cameron thought he was in safe territory at Age UK event - but pensioners in audience heckled and jeered him. Food for thought, Dave...

'A straight answer'

Here's a bit more about what the prime minister had to say about his third-term announcement: "I'm going to fight with everything I've got to win that election because we've got a long term economic plan that's working, we're putting the country back to work, we've turned the economy around, we're providing the dignity and security that elderly people deserve in old age and that's the fight I'm going to have. But I think giving a straight answer to a straight question about the future is actually a sensible thing to do. And I think most people will understand that rather than want to play an endless game of political processes five years hence."

Brian May's pie chart

Daily Politics

Live on BBC Two

Brian May launched his "common decency" campaign this morning and is on the Daily Politics explaining his views. Five years ago, he says, he was fed up by the fact that in many "safe seats" there aren't really meaningful contests. But he's changed his mind now and deploys a pie chart to explain his point: that if everyone who didn't vote backed the second- or third-placed candidate, they'd win outright. "I'm politically colour blind," he says.

Pie chart

Labour's tax plans

Daily Politics

Live on BBC Two

Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, is on the Daily Politics talking about VAT after Labour pledged not to increase the tax in the next parliament. "It's important, from our instincts, that Labour governments haven't raised the main rate of VAT. But every single Conservative government for the past 40 years has," he says. He's asked what increases would take place in income tax or national insurance, and replies by saying income tax would only be increased for the higher-rate taxpayers. Can he rule out raising national insurance? "We've got no need to."

Chris Leslie

'A straight answer'

David Cameron hits back at claims he blundered by saying he would not serve a third term if retains power in May. "What I did in my kitchen was give a very straight answer to a very straight question. And I think people will understand that a full second term, a full five years, is a very reasonable, sensible thing to say."

David Cameron

Osborne on leadership question

David Cameron named three potential successors in his BBC interview: Theresa May, Boris Johnson and George Osborne. We heard from the London mayor earlier, and now the chancellor has answered questions about the PM's comments too. Mr Osborne would only say his Conservative colleague "leads a really strong team" on his own possible future candidacy. And on the third-term announcement itself? "I think it's really refreshing we have a prime minister who gives a direct answer to a direct question," he says. We'll be hearing more from the chancellor later when he takes questions from MPs on the Budget.

George Osborne

Not the media!

Groans all round at the Age UK meeting, as David Cameron says he wants to take some questions from the media. "Only two," says Mr Cameron, "they have been sitting quietly at the back."

'Courageous Clegg'

House of Commons


There's very much an end-of-term feel to today's Commons questions. Nick Clegg's enemies are being nice to him. "For the last five years I've tried to irritate the deputy prime minister by asking questions exposing Liberal Democrat failures," Tory backbencher Peter Bone says. He praises Nick Clegg's "good grace and good humour" in answering them and adds: "I think history will look at the deputy prime minister in being very courageous in bringing his party into government at a time of crisis."

House of Commons

'Blame me'

I would like to see a minister at cabinet level who represents the interests of older people, says a 91-year-old questioner. The prime minister is having a hard time getting a word in to reply. "We as a group need the same recognition as you give to children," the audience member says. When he does reply, David Cameron says he wants "every single one of my ministers to care" about older people. He says that if pensioners feel they haven't got what they need, the person to blame is him, not any of his ministers.

David Cameron

Marks out of 10

House of Commons


Stephen Mosley, the Conservative MP, gives the coalition nine out of 10 for its performance over this government's lifetime. Invited to give his own assessment, Nick Clegg says: "I will leave the markings and scores to other people." But he does note that the government survived - in spite of suggestions from many it would not make it through the full five years.

'Yes, prime minister'

House of Commons


Harriet Harman comes back at Nick Clegg by summing up the deputy prime minister's time in power with three policies: the bedroom tax, tuition fees and tax cuts for millionaires. "The reality is the only thing that people in this country will remember him for is giving a whole new meaning to the phrase, 'Yes prime minister'," she says. Mr Clegg offers a serious response when asked about his claim that he is even more anti-establishment now than he was five years ago. "I think the era of single party government in this country is over," he says. "I think the fact that this coalition government has in very difficult circumstances presided over what is now the fastest growing economy in the developed world… after the absolute economic mess that she bequeathed to us, is quite an achievement."

House of Commons

Harman vs Clegg

House of Commons


Harriet Harman uses her last questions of this parliament to condemn Nick Clegg's record in government. She opens by quoting the Liberal Democrat leader saying in an interview last week that "the way that politics works is bust and Westminster is a joke". Was he referring to himself? Mr Clegg is deeply sarcastic in reply. "Er, I wonder what answer I should give to that?" he says. "No, of course not."

House of Commons



tweets: That Cameron not-doing-a-3rd-term-thing is classic eg of something that at Westminster sounds mad but in normal life sounds quite...normal.