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Summary

  1. Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe named as official campaigns in EU referendum
  2. That means the Nigel Farage-backed GO movement misses out as lead Out campaign
  3. At PMQs: Corbyn and Cameron clash over tax affairs in wake of Panama Papers
  4. Labour calls on Culture Secretary John Whittingdale to withdraw from press regulation
  5. Downing Street says that it has full confidence in Mr Whittingdale

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm, Alex Hunt and Gavin Stamp

All times stated are UK

Look ahead to Thursday: Corbyn speech and EU countdown

To the victors the spoils... Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe are celebrating this evening after being awarded lead campaign status for either side in the EU referendum. But are Vote Leave's celebrations premature? Leave.EU, which was backing the rival Grassroots Out application, has said it is considering a judicial review of the ruling and will make a decision tomorrow. They will have to be quick. The official campaign period for the EU referendum starts on Friday. And before that, we have Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's first major speech on the EU vote coming up on Thursday.

John Pienaar to become BBC's deputy political editor

John Pienaar
BBC

Some in-house news from the BBC. John Pienaar has been appointed deputy political editor of BBC News. Currently chief political correspondent for BBC Radio 5 Live, he succeeds James Landale who is becoming the BBC's diplomatic correspondent. Read the full announcement

Leave.EU to decide legal position tomorrow

Leave.EU has issued a fresh statement about its position. An hour ago it was clearly suggesting that it would mount a legal challenge to the Electoral Commission's decision to designate Vote Leave. Now it is saying it "has consulted Counsel" and will make a decision by midday tomorrow. Watch this space...

John Whittingdale 'pretty secure'

BBC News Channel

BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith says Culture Secretary John Whittingdale is "pretty secure unless anything fresh emerges". It follows news Mr Whittingdale had a relationship with a woman who worked as an escort before he was made a minister. Mr Whittingdale has strong backing among Conservative MPs, Norman Smith adds.

Britain Stronger in Europe 'delighted' at official status

BBC News Channel

Will Straw
BBC

Britain Stronger in Europe's Will Straw says he is "delighted" his group has been named as the official Remain campaign (it was the only candidate) and highlights "divisions" on the other side.

Asked about the possibility of a legal challenge delaying the referendum, he says he hopes it still takes place in June but his group will make its case whenever the poll is held.

PM warns about EU trade barriers

David Cameron tweets...

David Cameron has been meeting representatives of EU business groups in Downing Street as he seeks to highlight the UK's trade links with the continent. This is what he has just tweeted. 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Kuenssberg and MPs review PMQs clashes

The Daily Politics

This content only works in the UK.

The BBC's political editor and MPs go back over the Cameron and Corbyn exchanges over tax.

The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg and MPs Owen Paterson and Hilary Benn go back over the David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn exchanges over tax.

They spoke to Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn on the Daily Politics after watching the exchanges over tax.

Arron Banks 'duty bound' to challenge EU decision

Arron Banks
PA

Arron Banks, the millionaire businessman behind the Leave.EU group, has been explaining his decision to seek a judicial review of the decision to name rival Vote Leave as the official lead Leave campaign in the EU referendum. He has said he is "thoroughly unsatisfied" with the outcome. 

There are a number of judgements according to the Electoral Commission’s own criteria that do not make sense and we shall be raising those inconsistencies in our action. It is to be regretted that this process may put the referendum back until October but if we are to avoid the most important vote of our lives being rigged then I feel duty bound to take this course of action.”

Why Vote Leave beat Grassroots Out

The battle to become the official campaign to quit the EU has finally been settled by the Electoral Commission.

Its decision means Vote Leave gets increased spending limits of £7m during the campaign period, campaign broadcasts and a free mail-out to households.

But why was Vote Leave, not the rival Grassroots Out organisation, chosen?

Read more.

Leave.EU calls Electoral Commission's decision a 'stitch up'

Leave.EU head of communications Andy Wigmore has said it believes the Electoral Commission decision has been a "stitch-up" and it is consulting lawyers.

We were always aware that this might happen, it clearly has happened, and we are going to take counsel's advice on this."

Was it because of the tie?

BBC News Channel

Peter Bone
BBC

Peter Bone, co-founder of Grassroots Out, tells the BBC the group "will continue to campaign in our own right" ahead of the in-out referendum on 23 June.

Asked if he's disappointed at not getting the official designation, he says the only thing that matters is if the UK votes to leave the EU.

"Would I like to have won it yes? But will Vote Leave winning it make any difference? Not really," he says - before quipping that GO's fluorescent green tie, which he can be seen sporting, is the reason it didn't get the designation.

Farage: I'll try to bring leave campaigns together

Mr Farage said regardless of whichever campaign got the designation "UKIP would always have played a big role in this campaign". He added:

I have always wanted all on the Leave side to come together and have done my best to try and make this happen. I'll continue to do so in the run up to the referendum to ensure the Leave side wins. We in UKIP, as I've said from the start, will work with anyone that wants to leave the EU. We must work together to get our country out of the European Union."

Farage: Immigration is the key issue in the referendum

Here's some from UKIP leader Nigel Farage's statement responding to the news that Vote Leave - and not Grassroots Out, of which he is part - has got the official Out designation.

The decision of UKIP to back Grassroots Out was on the basis that they saw the importance of the immigration issue in this referendum, and that we wanted to reach out across the country at a grassroots level and work with everyone from the left, centre and right of British politics to get our country out of the EU. I believe this approach is the only way the Leave side can win this referendum. It is clear that Vote Leave now share my view on this approach, for instance the issue of EU open borders is now a prominent part of their campaign messaging."

The people hoping to persuade the UK to vote to leave the EU

Vote Leave badges
PA

Meet the men and women who have been given the job of persuading Britain to leave the European Union in 23 June's referendum, in our handy guide.

Vote Leave scored 49/52, compared with GO's 45/52

Summary of assessment scored for 'Leave' outcome
Electoral Comission

UKIP's Nigel Farage offers congratulations to Vote Leave

Stronger In responds to getting official Remain campaign designation

Britain Stronger In campaign poster
Getty Images

Britain Stronger In Europe has welcomed the Electoral Commission's decision to designate it as the official Remain campaign in the 23 June referendum. Will Straw, executive director, said:

I’m delighted that the Electoral Commission have recognised that Britain Stronger in Europe has the breadth of support, the unity of purpose and the campaigning organisation to be the official Remain campaign in the upcoming referendum. Britain is stronger, safer and better off in the EU than we would be out on our own."

Mr Straw congratulated opposing campaign Vote Leave on their designation bud said "now is the time for them to come clean with the British people and say what Out looks like".  

Leave.EU seeks judicial review of Electoral Commission's decision

Leave.EU, which is one of the groups campaigning to leave the European Union, says they are planning to seek a judicial review of the Electoral Commission's decision to make Vote Leave the official "out" campaign group.

Leave.EU is one of many campaign groups that were supporting GO Movement in its bid for official designation.

The Electoral Commission has awarded official status to Vote Leave. 

Why does getting the official Remain and Leave designation matter?

The official campaign for Remain and Leave will have a spending limit of £7m while other groups taking part in the campaign are limited to £700,000 expenditure

Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe will both be able to spend up to £7m during the official referendum campaign. Other groups taking part in the campaign will be limited to £700,000

Both groups will be entitled to a free distribution for one leaflet, and they will be able to make referendum campaign broadcasts

They will also be given a grant of up to £600,000 to help cover administration costs, bills for campaign broadcasts and mailshots.

GO 'came pretty close' to official nomination

Buzzfeed political editor tweets...

PM congratulates Stronger In for official Remain designation

Why was Vote Leave chosen?

Explaining its decision to award Vote Leave the official Out designation, Electoral Commission chief executive Claire Bassett said:

Where there are competing applicants for a particular outcome the law is clear, we must designate the applicant which appears to us to represent those campaigning for that outcome to the greatest extent."

We received two high quality applications on the ‘Leave’ side, from ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ and ‘The Go Movement Ltd’. After careful consideration, the Commission decided that ‘Vote Leave Ltd’ better demonstrated that it has the structures in place to ensure the views of other campaigners are represented in the delivery of its campaign. It therefore represents, to a greater extent than ‘Go Movement Ltd’, those campaigning for the ‘Leave’ outcome, which is the test we must apply."

She added: We encourage all campaigners to now focus on engaging voters on the historic decision they will have to take on 23 June.”

EU exit campaign 'will be less about immigration'

BBC assistant political editor tweets...

GO congratulates Vote Leave on becoming official Out campaign

Responding to the news, Grassroots Out congratulated rival campaign Vote Leave on securing the official designation and said it looked forward to "working closely and productively" with everyone campaigning for Britain to leave the EU on 23 June.

In a statement Conservative MP Peter Bone said GO drew its supports "from right across the political spectrum and from tens of thousands of grassroots campaigners of no particular political affiliation"-  and thanked them for their "hard work". He added:

We are determined to play our part in creating a united front to secure victory on June 23 for Leave – Independence Day."

BreakingLead EU referendum campaigns named

Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe have been designated as the official Leave and Remain campaigns in June's EU referendum.

Vote Leave - backed by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove - saw off a challenge from a rival campaign Grassroots Out, backed by UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

The campaigns will be allowed to spend up to £7m, get a free mailshot, TV broadcasts and £600,000 public funds.

The decision was made by the elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission.

Story developing here.

Recap of Prime Minister's Questions

We'll be adding more clips from today's PMQs session this afternoon - you can watch them below or via the Key Video tab, or watch the whole session back via the Live Coverage tab. As we wind up our text coverage here are the key points of the day so far.

  • In other news, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale is under fire after news of his relationship with a sex worker. Labour has called for him to withdraw from press regulation decisions but Mr Whittingdale says it had not affected his decisions
  • Mr Whittingdale says he broke off his relationship with the woman after he found out about her real occupation, in 2014 - before he became culture secretary
  • Downing Street says the culture secretary has "the full confidence" of the PM
  • Ahead of an announcement (by Thursday) of which group will be chosen as the official campaign for the Out side, Leave campaigners are warning that the eurozone is a "ticking time bomb" that will harm the UK if it stays in the EU
  • The eurozone jobs crisis is encouraging more southern European migrants to head to the UK to join those from the east, according to the Migration Observatory.

Cameron and Corbyn trade blows on taxes

Jeremy Corbyn hits back after David Cameron teases him over his tax return.
Jeremy Corbyn hits back after David Cameron teases him over his tax return.

The prime minister said the Labour leader's tax form was "late, chaotic, inaccurate and uncosted" while Mr Corbyn replied that he had paid more tax than some companies owned by people the Tory leader may know.

All of their exchanges at Prime Minister's Questions were over claims about tax collection and staffing, in the UK and crown dependencies.

Farron: At least 10,000 refugee children missing

The Liberal Democrat leader has visited a refugee camp on the Greece-Macedonia border.
The Lib Dem leader has just returned the refugee camp at Idomeni on the Greece-Macedonia border and claims 10,000 children are now in the hands of traffickers.

Speaking to Jo Coburn on the Daily Politics, Tim Farron called on the UK to take in 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees.

PM accuses Tory MP of 'classic scare story' on EU

Jacob Rees-Mogg asks David Cameron about migration figures in the government EU leaflet.
Jacob Rees-Mogg asks David Cameron about migration figures in the government's EU leaflet that he branded a "propaganda sheet".

But the prime minister accused his backbencher of a "classic scare story" over his claims about economic migrants and UK border security.

Carswell: Will PM resign if he loses UK referendum?

Douglas Carswell gets a one word answer when he asks David Cameron about his future.
UKIP MP Douglas Carswell gets a one word answer when he asks David Cameron about his future if the UK votes to leave the EU in the 23 June referendum.

Press 'right not to publish' Whittingdale story, says Tory MP

Speaking to BBC News, Tory MP Tom Pursglove said the newspapers were right not to publish stories about John Whittingdale’s private life.

This is exactly the sort of story that all of us were saying, and the public were saying, shouldn’t be appearing in newspapers. This was the right decision originally not to publish that story.”

Mr Pursglove – a founder member of the EU leave group Grassroots Out – said the culture secretary probably had “more experience than anyone else in government” on press regulation. “I think we need that expertise,” he added.  

PM 'has full confidence' in Whittingdale

Vicki Young

Chief Political Correspondent

John Whittingdale
Reuters

Downing Street says the prime minister "has full confidence in John Whittingdale to fulfill all his duties" after Labour called on the culture secretary to take no further part in decisions on press regulation.

Asked whether the government was committed to going ahead with the next stage of the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking the spokesman said that no decisions would be made until criminal proceedings were over.

The spokesman confirmed that Mr Whittingdale hadn't told David Cameron about the relationship with a sex worker and the first the prime minister knew about the story was "about ten days ago when it began emerging on the internet".

He added that he thought the two men had now discussed the matter.     

Old-school style PMQs?

BBC News Channel

Reflecting on this week's PMQs, BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said it was an "old-school style", with Mr Corbyn not opting for his using "people's question time" format. The Labour leader used all his six questions on the Panama tax scandal.

Jon Ashworth, shadow cabinet minister, says Mr Corbyn's performance was "extremely effective", and adds: "I didn't think the prime minister had very good answers."

Conservative MP Tom Pursglove rides to the government's defence, saying it has "done more" than any other in tackling tax avoidance". "People should pay all the tax that they owe," he adds.

Tommy Sheppard, of the SNP, says the public are "flabbergasted at what they see as tax avoidance on an industrial scale" and claims the government is "playing catch up", adding:

I think David Cameron and the cabinet need to get their finger out and do an awful lot more."

Would Brexit cost your family £850 a year?

By Anthony Reuben

Reality Check

Leaflet from BSIE
BSIE

The claim: A leaflet being sent out by Britain Stronger in Europe says: "Jobs at risk, higher prices and your family worse off by at least £850 a year if we leave Europe."

Reality Check verdict: The £850 figure confuses GDP per household with household income, and is based on economic modelling so needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Read the full Reality Check here.

Watch: Tim Farron on trafficked child refugees

Lib Dem leader

Tory MP dismisses EU leaflet as 'not absorbent enough'

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

James Wharton says he disagrees with the PM's put-down of fellow Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg at PMQs, saying there is a clear "imbalance" between the UK's controls on EU immigration and immigration from the rest of the world. Asked about the government's controversial EU leaflets, he says he is "not too exercised" about them and the public are sensible enough to make their own mind up on the UK's future in the EU. But he has a dig at the worth of the leaflet, recalling one constituent telling him it is not "sufficiently absorbent for the use I want to put it too". 

Corbyn praised for 'focused' tax questions

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Labour's Gisela Stuart praises Jeremy Corbyn for his "focused" questioning on tax at PMQs, claiming the PM "ducked" the issue of whether Tory MEPs were opposing measures to force firms to publish what tax they pay in individual EU countries. Conservative MP James Wharton says Conservative MEPs have their own leadership and it is up to them to decide their stance. Transparency at a national level "may be a good thing", he says, but the issue is "not black and white" and the implications need to be considered. 

Labour MP: Whittingdale claims 'don't add up to much'

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Labour MP Gisela Stuart says she is not sure the story about John Whittingdale "adds up to very much" and she downplays the clamour from some within her party for Mr Whittingdale to stand aside from press regulation, saying she "struggles to see how this solves the problem" of the need to see the Leveson inquiry through to its natural conclusion. Ms Stuart and Mr Whittingdale are on opposing political parties but on the same Leave side in the EU referendum.

About the opposition motion

Tax avoidance and evasion debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Labour's motion for debate today "notes with concern the revelations contained within the Panama Papers and recognises the widespread public view that individuals and companies should pay their fair share of tax".

Labour is calling for "an immediate public inquiry into the revelations in the Panama Papers [and] HMRC being properly resourced to investigate tax avoidance and evasion".

The opposition motion calls for greater transparency about "beneficial ownership" - who really owns and profits from companies - including in the UK's overseas territories.

Tory MP: Whittingdale story 'storm in a teacup'

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Labour's Maria Eagle tells the BBC it would be "better for John Whittingdale and better for the government" if he steps aside from matters of press regulation, saying the perception of any conflict of interest needs to be "put to rest". She says there is no question that Labour would not be pressing on the matter if the government had confirmed Leveson Part 2 - looking into relations between the press and the police - would go ahead. But Tory MP James Wharton says the story is a "storm in a teacup" and a "lot of fuss about nothing", with no evidence of wrongdoing. Mr Whittingdale has a "wealth of experience" in this area and has challenged Fleet Street in the past over the issue of phone hacking.