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  1. Nigel Farage vows to remain UKIP leader, despite a row over his leadership of the party
  2. The rift developed after election campaign chief, Patrick O'Flynn, attacked Mr Farage's aides via a newspaper article
  3. Chancellor George Osborne sets out plans to give English cities powers over housing, transport, planning and policing
  4. Mary Creagh and Yvette Cooper announce bids to become Labour leader, joining Andy Burnham, Chuka Umunna and Liz Kendall
  5. Tim Farron joins former minister Norman Lamb in the race to succeed Nick Clegg as Liberal Democrat leader

Live Reporting

By Andy McFarlane and Dominic Howell

All times stated are UK

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Thursday's recap

So, as we sign off after another eventful post-election night of politics, here's a quick recap of what Thursday brought:

  • The row at the top of UKIP dominated political headlines throughout the day, concluding with Nigel Farage making clear he intended to remain as leader
  • Elsewhere, Chancellor George Osborne set out plans  to devolve powers over housing, transport, planning and policing to English city areas that agree to elect a mayor
  • Shadow international development secretary Mary Creagh declared her candidacy for the Labour leadership
  • Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron confirmed he will stand in the party's leadership election, saying he believes it "must be saved"

That's it for tonight folks, our colleagues will be back with you from 06:00 BST tomorrow.

Are some Tories 'shamefaced'?

Coming up on This Week very shortly, journalist and author Lionel Shriver will look at why some Conservative voters are not keen to voice their support. She reckons it "shouldn’t be a sordid little secret".

In her film, she says: "Conservatives have been made to feel that voting Tory is one of those disgusting habits that you only indulge in the shady privacy of the polling booth."

Also on the live programme with Andrew Neil - on BBC1 from 23:45 BST: Michael Portillo, Diane Abbott, Miranda Green, Piers Morgan and Andrew Rawnsley.

Lionel Shriver in This Week film

UKIP's Kassam denies 'aggression'

The UKIP row is still bubbling on, with one of Nigel Farage's former advisors denying he encouraged the UKIP leader to take an aggressive approach.

Raheem Kassam, who left UKIP today, said he had "kept the ship steady" and helped win the party nearly four million votes.

Speaking to the BBC from New York, he accused critics of Nigel Farage's aides of staging a leadership coup. He namechecked economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn, who had claimed Mr Farage had fallen under the influence of advisors wanting an "aggressive" approach.

Mr Kassam said: "Nigel Farage is a very intelligent character, he's his own man. He doesn't necessarily take advice from everyone at all times and I think that's why he's so good.

"So the case that XYZ had undue influence - I think actually what these people are saying is they doubt Nigel Farage's leadership."

Mr Kassam said there shouldn't be a leadership contest, but called on Patrick O'Flynn and his "allies" to resign.

Another Labour leadership bid

Labour's Jamie Reed, who is the MP for Copeland, has told BBC Radio 5 live that he is considering standing for the party leadership. Mr Reed held a health brief under Ed Miliband.

Guardian front page

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


EU referendum exchange

On Question Time, Nigel Farage points at Conservative Jeremy Hunt and says the forthcoming In/Out EU referendum "has got to be fair".

He says the sums spent on the "Yes" and "No" campaigns should be equal.

Mr Hunt quickly replies that Mr Farage is being a "coward". He says the UKIP leader has got the referendum he wanted.

Farage rules out taking 'Short money'

Earlier in the week UKIP's only MP, Douglas Carswell, resisted pressure from the party to claim £650,000 of taxpayers' money to fund up to 15 additional members of staff.

Smaller parties are entitled to the cash - known as Short money  - to help run their Parliamentary affairs.

However, Mr Farage said: "I'm going to recommend we don't take any of it."

He said the last thing the public want to see is a political party infighting over taxpayers money.

Times front page

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


'Personal wars'

Here's a bit more on Mr Farage's comments on Question Time, due to be aired later tonight 22:45 BST.

In response to Patrick O'Flynn's article in the Times criticising his leader, Mr Farage said: "I was disappointed that a member of our team said this, but look, [in] general elections you are under a huge amount of pressure it's like a boiler room, pressure cooker."

Nigel Farage on Question Time

We maintained discipline as a party extraordinarily well during this general election... the election is over, people are letting off steam, and we've seen one or two people fighting personal wars against each other."

Tristram Hunt for Labour leader?

Another snippet from Question Time, ahead of the broadcast at 22:45, with shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt telling the audience: "I am interested in the leadership."

He says he will meet party members tomorrow.

But the Telegraph still sees 'civil war'

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


Farage rules out stepping down

While Nigel Farage appeared to cast doubt over his future within UKIP earlier (see 20:35), his performance on the BBC's Question Time seems he might have misheard the question.

Mr Farage said he had "phenomenal" support from the majority of his party, despite the row that's raged for much of today among the party's senior figures.

He warned that to go through a leadership contest now, with an EU referendum on the way, would be a "massive, massive mistake" for the party.

The full programme airs on BBC1 at 22:45, except in Northern Ireland.

More UKIP at 10pm

.@Nigel_Farage has spoken about what comes next for @UKIP during recording of #bbcqt tonight. More at 10pm.

Petition for northern England to join Scotland

In case you missed it earlier, BBC Trending reports how thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the north of England to break away from the "London-centric south" and join Scotland.

The online petition states that the deliberations of Westminster are becoming "irrelevant" to people in the north, who are not understood by "the endless parade of old Etonions lining the frontbenches of the House of Commons". 

Created by "Stu Dent" who gives his location as Sheffield, the petition is aiming to reach 25,000 signatures. 

Numbers swelled on the day that Chancellor George Osborne used a speech in Manchester to promise a "revolution" in the way England is governed, with elected mayors presiding over far greater powers in major cities to help them rival London. 

'Common sense' on UKIP Short money

It's clear that an agreement has been reached over @UKIP use of short money, suspect @DouglasCarswell will think 'common sense' prevailed

Teacher crisis 'greatest challenge'

Away from the UKIP row, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has warned that a crisis in teacher recruitment is Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s greatest challenge in the new government.

"These are difficult times for education," writes ATL general secretary Mary Bousted. 

"Our children and young people are under increasing pressure, caused primarily by intensive testing, and yet neither employers nor universities are convinced that this is preparing them for life after school. We are seeing the results of this pressure on children's mental health and well-being," 

'Big time' loss of faith

On arrival at BBC's Question Time Nigel Farage is asked by an ITN reporter: "Have you lost the confidence of your party?" 

Nigel Farage: "Big time" 

O'Flynn hits back

UKIP MEP Patrick O'Flynn has hit back after Nigel Farage's former chief of staff Raheem Kassam said that he should "consider his position".

In response Mr O'Flynn said: "I may well have burnt my bridges but it had to be said. 

"I'm not in politics to pursue personal seniority but to persuade the British public that we are good enough to govern ourselves away from the EU. 

"There are a couple of advisers who are pushing Nigel in the wrong direction both in terms of policy and style of leadership." 

Creagh targets Mail readers

Mary Creagh said she opted to launch her campaign in the Daily Mail because "that's exactly the sort of reader Labour have lost". 

She confirmed she did not yet have the 35 nominations from fellow MPs necessary to get on the ballot paper. The Wakefield MP added: "It's very early stages in what is going to be a long race."

O'Flynn 'should consider position'

Sky News

Nigel Farage's former chief of staff Raheem Kassam tells Sky News that MEP Patrick O'Flynn should consider his position as UKIP economic spokesman, after criticising the party leader in a Times article.

"It seems to me an elected MEP should not go on behaving like that," says Mr Kassam, who has denied he was sacked, insisting his contract with the party was due to end.

You cannot go to a national newspaper and air internal party grievances... It is wholly unprofessional and I think Patrick should absolutely consider his position."

'Comfort zones'

Independent on Sunday political editor tweets

Very clever of @marycreaghmp to bust comfort zones all over + go to MailOnline

Talking 'shy Tories' on This Week

Author and journalist Lionel Shriver will present a film on the phenomenon of "shy Tories" - saying she is among their number - as she looks back at the election result on This Week.

There will also be a film from Andrew Rawnsley, while ex-Britain's Got Talent host Piers Morgan and Lib Dem commentator Miranda Green will talk about rejection.

Andrew Neil brings on his panel live on BBC1 from 23:45 BST (later in N Ireland). Read more about the programme.

Lionel Shriver filming for This Week
Andrew Rawnsley filming for This Week

MEPs 'forced to sign' letter backing Farage

Norman Smith

Assistant political editor

Supporters of Nigel Farage have been accused of forcing the party's 22 MEPs to sign a letter backing the UKIP leader.

However, it's understood considerable pressure was placed on the MEPs to sign the letter, which is due to be published shortly.

One said they were left in no doubt that if they did not sign, their careers would suffer.

"Our arms were twisted so far up our backs we were left little option but to sign," said one.

However, it's claimed some of the MEPs were deeply reluctant. One said he was not opposed to Mr Farage previously but - because of the "strong arm tactics" - now felt he should resign.

Express owner's '101%' Farage support

Richard Desmond, the owner of Express Newspapers who donated £1m to UKIP during the campaign, said: "Nigel has my support 101%."

Creagh's bid after 'thumping defeat'

Announcing her leadership bid, Labour's Mary Creagh describes in the Daily Mail the moment she realised "Labour lost middle England".

She writes: "On election morning I received an email from a small business owner in Hove. 'If your lot do win today, please don't annihilate the private sector and economy'."

Mary Creagh with Ed Miliband
Getty Images

I was horrified, but I got a premonition of what was about to happen. It was his voice, the voice of middle England, that spoke on May 7 and delivered our thumping defeat."

Murphy should 'just leave'

Emily Maitlis

Newsnight Presenter

The Unite union's general secretary, Len McCluskey, has blamed Scottish Labour for the party's failure to win last week's election and called for leader Jim Murphy to resign.

"Not only have they lost Scotland but I think they've been responsible for making certain that the Tories were back in power in Westminster,” he tells Newsnight's Emily Maitlis.

He says the party must tell the Scottish people "we’re sorry for letting you down, for making you feel abandoned", he says, adding: "Jim and his colleagues should just leave the scene.”

He went on to tell me his thoughts on the prospective Labour leaders. And I asked him whether an endorsement from Unite could spell the kiss of death for any one of them.

You can see the full interview - including his thoughts on prospective Labour leaders and whether an endorsement from Unite represented the "kiss of death" for them - on BBC2 from 22:30GMT.

Mary Creagh 'to declare Labour candidacy'

Robin Brant

Political Correspondent

Mary Creagh will declare her candidacy in the contest to be the next labour leader tonight. The shadow international development secretary is expected to announce she's standing in an article for the Daily Mail. The Wakefield MP and married mother-of-two is the fifth candidate to replace Ed Miliband.

Another ex-leader on Farage

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who led UKIP into the 2010 general election and heads the party in the Lords, says: "Nigel fought a brilliant election campaign and what an achievement it was to get nearly four million votes. Nigel has my full support as leader."​

'Let off steam'

One of Nigel Farage's predecessors at the UKIP helm, Roger Knapman, tells BBC Radio 4's PM that it's "time for the party to have an opportunity to express a view" on its leadership.

Asked whether Mr Farage should stand again, he responds that it's "entirely a matter for him".

"If there are people who are unhappy with the situation then I do think they need a chance to let off steam," he says.

Roger Knapman

Mr Knapman adds that UKIP should "certainly not" accept the £650,000 in "Short money" available to opposition parties to help cover parliamentary costs. Its sole MP Douglas Carswell has so far resisted pressure from the party to claim the sum to fund up to 15 additional members of staff.

Because UKIP secured almost 3.9 million votes, but only one Commons seat, Mr Carswell is entitled to far more Short money than any other MP.

'Contract expired'

Farage's ex-chief of staff tweets

I was GE2015 staff. My contract has always expired at the end of the month and I am on holiday until then. Nigel is the best leader for UKIP

In other news, chill out guys. It's only a job, and one I enjoyed greatly.

UKIP has 'outgrown' Farage

Former UKIP deputy leader David Campbell Bannerman - now a Conservative MEP - tells the BBC News Channel that his former party has "outgrown" its leader.

He says Nigel Farage should step down to focus on campaigning during the In/Out referendum on membership of the European Union promised by the PM.

"Nigel Farage should work on the referendum and not be fighting this great battle within the United Kingdom Independence Party," he says.

Suggesting that Conservatives' referendum pledge won votes from UKIP's right-leaning supporters, Mr Bannerman adds: "UKIP will have to go left if it's to stay in existence."

Full-blown crisis?

Norman Smith

Assistant political editor

The departures from UKIP of Raheem Kassam and Matthew Richardson are significant in that they were both identified by critics as architects of the party's failure to secure more seats, says the BBC's Norman Smith.

They were blamed for the approach - dubbed "shock and awful" - adopted by Nigel Farage during TV debates, which saw him attack immigrants over HIV treatment and criticise the BBC's audience selection process.

But our assistant political editor says the situation has gone beyond a row over the two characters involved.

This has evolved into a full-blown leadership crisis, with figures calling for Mr Farage to go."

'Looks like a sacking'

BBC political correspondent tweets

Considering @Nigel_Farage chief of staff told me three hours ago he wasn't resigning that looks like a sacking

Kassam 'no longer at ukip'

Robin Brant

Political Correspondent

Raheem Kassam, formerly Nigel Farage's chief of staff, no longer works for UKIP, according to our political correspondent Robin Brant.

He's one of the aides who was attacked as "inexperienced and aggressive" by the party's economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn.

Where's Nigel?

We don't know is the answer. He might still be at lunch we're honestly not sure. But he'll be on Question Time tonight so that should be entertaining, right? 

Afternoon recap

So, Aiden and Matt have left the building and you're stuck with Dominic and Andy for the rest of the evening. Here's a quick recap of the day's main stories:

A row has erupted between senior UKIP figures, after its economic spokesman said leader Nigel Farage had become a "snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive" man

However, Patrick O'Flynn has since clarified that he wants Mr Farage to remain leader and that his criticism was aimed at "aggressive" aides

Other senior figures are calling for Mr Farage to go but the UKIP leader says he was asked to stay in the job by the party's National Executive Committee

Chancellor George Osborne has been promising powers over transport, policing, housing and planning to English cities that accept regional mayors

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has called for a "more ambitious and optimistic" message from Labour, as she launched her leadership bid

'Best communicator in British politics'

A statement from UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall on the Nigel Farage situation:

The general election was a great success delivering four million votes in the bag. The 2020 vision is on course. UKIP have the best communicator in British politics leading this party and who will play a vital role during the referendum campaign."

'Better if you were no longer the leader'

BBC News Channel

Stuart Wheeler says he hasn't managed to speak to Nigel Farage directly.

I have left a message saying 'I think it would be better if you were no longer the leader'. I'm not going to repeatedly push him or anything, he knows that. He probably doesn't particularly want to hear from me now.

Wheeler on Short money row

BBC News Channel

Former UKIP party treasurer Stuart Wheeler says he believes the row between Douglas Carswell and UKIP officials over Short money has been sorted out.

"I think they've sorted it out to some extent but I'm not close enough to it. I stopped being treasurer about a year ago so I'm not on the inside track now," he tells the BBC News channel.

He says the money "has to be spent for Parliamentary business purposes".

The idea that UKIP could use it, as it badly needs to, for other purposes to boost its chances and so forth, isn't right. What's meant by Parliamentary business is obviously a little bit vague, but it couldn't use it all in a way that it would like to.

Douglas Carswell was approached by UKIP's party secretary on Monday and asked to recruit 15 extra staff for his Parliamentary office, but the Clacton MP rejected the proposal.