On the Daily Politics Soapbox

The Daily Politics invites a famous face to get on their soap box on an issue they feel passionately about.

Here are some of the films our stars have made promoting a cause close to them.

Lammy: Housing shortage is causing poverty

Labour MP David Lammy is worried that parts of the private rental sector are forcing people back into poverty

Goldacre: Publish all drug trial results

Publish all drug trial results, says Dr Ben Goldacre

UKIP: Appalling UK gives EU £55m a day

UKIP councillor Suzanne Evans on why UK should leave EU

A former Conservative leader said he "may vote no" and back the UK leaving the EU in his party's planned referendum if "we have not made significant changes" before 2017.

Howard on EU: I may well vote no

'Pensions are an issue for us all'

Pensions are for young people too says Margaret de Valois and the media has a role to play

Inflation-free plan to help older people

Prof Heinz Wolff explains the Care4Care scheme helping older people

A pressing challenge facing society is how to care for an ageing population in austere times, but a television scientist offers his own cashless solution.

MP calls for pricing and food information for shoppers

Laura Sandys: "Time the consumer had the truth"

Consumers must have more rights and better information about food and other products before they decide what to buy, an MP claims.

Poet Motion: house building, Green Belt and countryside

Andrew Motion on building homes in 'beautiful precious countryside'

CPRE president and former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion climbs on a soapbox to claim homes can be built while protecting green areas as he spoke up for England's "beautiful precious irreplaceable countryside".

Andrew Motion, Mark Harper and Own Smith on how to choose building sites

Preston bus station landmark facing demolition

John Wilson puts the case for saving the 1969 "unique and iconic" Preston bus station

Preston bus station is threatened with demolition, but campaigner John Wilson put the case for saving the 1969 "unique and iconic" structure from the wrecker's ball.

Philip Booth on government culture money

Arts funding should be reviewed as it was a "price we all have to pay" said Philip Booth, of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Arts funding should be reviewed as it was a "price we all have to pay" said Philip Booth, of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Jude Kelly: "We don't want arts for the few"

'More women needed on TV and in media'

Alice Arnold: "I want change and I want it now - no more excuses"

There should be more effort to get women on TV and in the media, says the former BBC Radio Four announcer and newsreader Alice Arnold.

Alice Arnold, Emily Thornberry and Jo Swinson on quotas for women

Price restrictions on starter homes?

Time for starter homes restrictions?

The cost of housing in Britain has led to millions of young people priced-out of buying a home of their own with millions more hoping prices remain high to prevent a slide into negative equity.

Tatchell: Equality for all, hatred of none

Peter Tatchell: Equality for all, hatred of none

Videos have appeared on the internet showing women, gay people and others in the London borough of Tower Hamlets being subjected to abuse and told to get out of "Muslim areas".

Why is there so much bad news on TV?

Why is there so much bad news on TV?

Broadcasters should look for more good news, rather than the disasters and grim happenings that lead TV bulletins, says designer Wayne Hemingway.

Cancer care 'medieval and degrading'

Lord Saatchi on cancer treatment and his Medical Innovation Bill

Lord Saatchi - best known as an advertising guru - is introducing a bill aiming to help find a cure for cancer 18 months after he lost his wife to a rare form of the disease.

PM warned to stop 'vanity' rail project

Actor Geoffrey Palmer on high speed rail plan

Actor Geoffrey Palmer claimed the HS2 rail line that would pass his home in the Chilterns would be the most expensive railway in the world, equivalent to the cost of 60 hospitals.

MPs salaries should be 'more generous'

Former civil servant Martin Narey reckons MPs should be paid more money despite the revelations which saw some in court over their expenses

Former civil servant Martin Narey reckons MPs should be paid more money despite the revelations which saw some in court over their expenses.

Simon Callow on same-sex marriage

Simon Callow: Gay marriage can't come too soon

Actor Simon Callow explains why he backs the prime minister on gay marriage and how it would "set its seal" on his love for his partner.

The case against Christmas presents

Martin Lewis: Don't give Christmas presents

Consumer finance expert Martin Lewis makes a plea to save the pennies and shorten the present list.

'It's time to limit NHS provision'

Katie Hopkins on NHS eating, smoking and drinking costs

Philip Hammond and Emily Thornberry take the opposite view to Katie Hopkins and her ideas for NHS charging

Former TV Apprentice Katie Hopkins believes people who eat, drink and smoke more than is good for them should pay more towards the NHS health care they need, as she calls for additional payments for some health services.

No black people in rural Britain?

Dwayne Fields: "I hardly ever see young people in the countryside, let alone black people"

Londoner Dwayne Fields, who has walked to the north pole and plans to venture to the south pole in a few weeks, hopes his fame could encourage other black people to explore the British countryside.

'Real work and training' needed

Long term unemployed make up a 'let-down generation' and are victims of a 'terrible double-whammy' says social entrepreneur Colin Crooks

One solution to unemployment is "real work and real training" says the social entrepreneur and author Colin Crooks, who gives his views on how to get young people back to work.

Young people lack 'basic life skills'

Colin Smith claims some young people lack the "basic life skills" required for the workplace

The chairman of the Poundland chain of shops claimed some young people lack the "basic but crucial life skills" for work, and business leaders must play their part in helping them.

HS2 rail 'will end north-south divide'

HS2 rail will end 'north-south divide', claims Pete Waterman

The HS2 rail line will end the 'north-south divide' in Britain, claims rail enthusiast Pete Waterman as he recalls how a previous upgrade made it possible for him to get from the Midlands to London in less than an hour.

Council leader Martin Tett with Pete Waterman on the HS2 rail scheme

Private schools are a 'social menace

George Monbiot: Public schools should be closed down

The environmentalist and author George Monbiot, who went to a private school, put the case for closing them down.

Why do British work such long hours?

Why do British work such long hours?

Economist Robert Skidelsky looks at John Maynard Keynes' predictions, what people want today and finds a society "obsessed with consumption"

Widow: We must stop underage drinking

Baroness Newlove speaks in Havering, east London, one of the neighbourhoods, where she has been trying to tackle anti social behaviour through community activism.

Baroness Newlove in one of the neighbourhoods where she has been trying to tackle anti-social behaviour through community action.

Ban chips on school menus, says Reid

No packed lunches or chips at school says Alex Reid

Big businesses should sponsor compulsory school meals, and packed lunches should be banned, says the former cage fighter and Celebrity Big Brother winner Alex Reid.

Subsidise local newspapers says MP

Louise Mensch MP climbs on the Daily Politics soapbox to argue for state subsidies to keep the regional press rolling

With many daily local newspapers turning into weeklies, Louise Mensch MP climbs on the Daily Politics soapbox to argue for state subsidies to keep the regional press rolling.

12p fizzy drink tax 'could save lives'

Mike Rayner is calling for a "fat tax" to get the British eating more healthily and cut back on fizzy drinks, chocolate, crisps and pasties

A University of Oxford director is calling for a "fat tax" to get the British eating more healthily and cut back on fizzy drinks, chocolate, crisps and pasties.

Don't give naval contracts to Scotland'

Portsmouth's Gerald Vernon-Jackson said it would be "really stupid" for British ships to be built outside Britain and the work should go to his city.

A council leader has argued no further UK government contracts for shipbuilding should be placed in Scotland until the independence issued has been settled.

Why 'we need an English Parliament'

Why 'we need an English Parliament'

English Democrats leader Robin Tilbook climbs on the Daily Politics Soapbox to explain why he campaigns for England to have to have its own Parliament.

London Olympics 'not worth it'

London Olympics 'not worth it'

The writer Iain Sinclair has spent decades documenting London and its edgelands and reckons the Olympic development in east London has ruined a "wonderful wasteland".

Why I donate my winter fuel money

Why I donate my winter fuel money

The former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe - who served as shadow home and health secretaries - reckons the better-off pensioners like her should donate their winter fuel payments from the government.

Lobbyists 'should not be ashamed

Lobbyists should not be ashamed, says Mark Adams

Mark Adams spoke up for the lobbying profession, claiming they had no reason to be ashamed of their work.

Older people 'not getting care they should'

Dementia care reform needed, says Rosie Boycott

Journalist Rosie Boycott called for a reform of social care for older adults as she explained what happened when her father developed dementia and ended up going into a home.

We have to change view on nuclear power'

Nuclear power needed to fight climate change says Al-Khalili

The scientist, author and broadcaster Prof Jim Al-Khalili says "we have to change our views on nuclear power" as he addressed concerns after the Fukushima plant leak in Japan.

Plumber's call to flush 50p tax rate

50p tax rate should go says plumber Charlie Mullins

The owner of a London plumbing firm explains why he thinks the 50p top tax rate is hurting British businesses.

Rugby star on fighting bullying

Rugby star on fighting bullying

Former England rugby international Ben Cohen explains why he stands up against bullying and homophobia.

Author: 'We need to share more'

Author Danny Dorling on closing gap between rich and poor

Author Danny Dorling claims the British people need to learn the lessons of the 1930s and do something about the growing gap between the super rich and everyone else.

Sam Fox's appeal to save the tigers

Sam Fox's appeal to save the tigers

Even though it's illegal, the trade in tiger parts is still taking place all over the world and Sam Fox wants this practice to end.

Monks: UK should still join euro

UK should join euro currency says ex-TUC boss John Monks

Britain should consider joining the euro currency, despite the state of the eurozone says John Monks, the former general secretary of the TUC.

Why phone-hacking could kill off PC

Why phone-hacking could kill off PCC

Former Press Complaints Commission chairman Sir Christopher Meyer claims the phone-hacking allegations could see the end of the regulatory body.

Why UK farmers need the European CAP

Why UK farmers need the European CAP

NFU vice president Gwyn Jones explains why he believes the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is needed to keep Britain farming.

Blame Churchill for Human Rights Act?

Patrick O'Flynn of the Express traces the history of the Human Rights Act back to Winston Churchill but explains why he wants it to go.

Patrick O'Flynn of the Express traces the history of the Human Rights Act back to Winston Churchill but explains why he wants it to go.

Britain 'can't afford' rising energy bills

Power bills 'inflated' for climate change

Matthew Sinclair, TaxPayers' Alliance director and author of a book on green taxes gives his take on rising energy costs and what he thinks we can and cannot afford.

Clogged airport risk to London growth

Clogged airport risk to London growth

Baroness Valentine - who speaks for London First - puts the case for further expansion at London's airports.

Gerbeau: Don't be like the French

Gerbeau: Don't be like the French

The businessman who helped make the Millennium Dome what it was, offers a French view on the wave of industrial action on this side of the Channel.

Rowntree drums up housing benefit anger

Housing benefit change could lead to cardboard city says David Rowntree

David Rowntree - drummer in the band Blur, now turned Labour activist and trainee solicitor - predicted the return of the cardboard city, with people living in boxes on the streets.

Why can't girls play football asks MP?

Why can't girls play football asks MP?

Tracey Crouch has been booted off the Parliamentary football team, because she is a woman, but the MP claimed girls and women should be encouraged to play the national sport.On the Daily Politics Soapbox

Winter fuel payment 'waste of money'

Winter fuel payments are waste of money says author Ed Howker

Author Ed Howker says the taxpayer is already paying too much to subsidise the over-60s with bus passes, winter fuel payments and free eyes tests.

Spend more on aid, says ex-army chief

Spend more on international aid, says Lord Dannatt

The former head of the British army appeals to politicians to "move to the moral high ground" and raise spending on international aid once the current economic problems are over.

MEP: UK should not bail out euro

Euro bailout: Don't send UK the bill

The Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan says the UK should wake up to how much it is paying to support the euro currency and EU countries struggling with debt.

Venture capitalist: deeper and faster cuts needed

Venture capitalist John Moulton says cuts should be deeper and go further

Venture capitalist John Moulton says economic cuts should be deeper and go further to help the UK economy.

Guide dogs refused restaurant entry

Why can't my guide dog come in?

Barring blind people with guide dogs from restaurants should be against the law argues Talksport political journalist, Sean Dilley.

English Baccalaureate not good enough - author

MG Harris on English Bacc plan

Children's author and school governor MG Harris argues the planned English Baccalaureate, with its focus on core subjects, risks marginalising less academic pupils.

Give teenagers leaving care a mentor

Olympian defends teenagers in care

Former Olympic athlete Kriss Akabusi, who grew up in care, wants the government to do to more to help teenagers in care.

Johnny Ball's climate change sums

Johnny Ball on climate fears

TV presenter Johnny Ball is known for his grasp of maths but reckons arguments from climate change campaigners don't add up.

Saira Khan in Big Society birthplace

Ex-Apprentice Saira Khan on David Cameron's Big Society project

Broadcaster and entrepreneur Saira Khan headed to David Cameron's Oxfordshire seat in Witney to give her take on the so-called Big Society.

Toyah: I have suffered ageism and sexism

Toyah battles ageism and sexism

The singer-turned-presenter Toyah Willcox explains how she has suffered ageism and sexism throughout her career.

Mosse: 'Don't shut libraries to balance books'

Save our libraries, author Kate Mosse says to councils

Author Kate Mosse explains the day of action to send a message to politicians about the campaigns to save library services.

Pete Waterman: You can't get the staff

Pete Waterman: "You can't get the staff"

Music man Peter Waterman explains how he struggles to get apprentices who can properly work at his heritage railways business.

Neil Fox's plea to end the war on motorists

Neil Fox's plea to end the war on motorists

Radio DJ Neil Fox (aka Dr Fox) thinks it is time the government delivered on its pledge to end the war on motorists.

Billie Oddie on intensive farming

Wildlife presenter Billie Oddie on intensive farming

Wildlife presenter Bill Oddie gives his take against farming methods which are popular in the US and there are plans to bring them to the UK.

'We can't afford the Falklands'

Peter Preston: UK can't afford the Falklands

Former Guardian editor Peter Preston thinks we need a bit of political bravery and admit we can no longer fund the Falkland Islands.

'Give 10% of your money to charity'

Oxford academic Toby Ord on giving his money to charity

Oxford academic Toby Ord gives everything he earns - above £18,000 - to charities in developing countries and he thinks more of us should consider giving 10% of our income to good causes.

Actor's calls for climate change aid

David Harewood on climate change

Actor David Harewood - famed for TV roles seeing him as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela on TV plus roles in Robin Hood and Doctor Who - says money must keep flowing to the world's poorest people to help them fight the effects of climate change.

Olympic athlete: save sport funding

Olypmic athlete: save sport funding

Olympic athlete Darren Campbell - who brought a gold medal back from the Athens games and a silver from Sydney - says the coalition government should re-think its plans to cut sport funding in English schools.

'Children need to be allowed to fail

Teacher Katharine Birbalsingh on her Tory conference speech

Katharine Birbalsingh was a deputy head in an inner city London school but everything changed at the Conservative Party Conference where she received a standing ovation following her speech on a "culture of excuses" in state education.

Sainsbury: 'GM food will help feed world'

Lord Sainsbury's call for GM food

Lord Sainsbury says it is time for a new debate on GM foods as he thinks they will help feed the world population estimated to reach 9bn by 2050.

Tax the rich more says Greg Philo

One-off tax on the rich to save cuts, says Greg Philo

A one-off tax on the rich in Britain should save the need for planned cuts in the economy, says Greg Philo

Sewell calls to kill off Arts Council

Art critic Brian Sewell says iis time to kill the Arts Council and replace it with Dragons Den style funding bids

'Alf Garnett' wants Harman for leader

Warren Mitchell wants Harman for leader

Warren Mitchell is unimpressed with all of the Labour Party leadership contenders and thinks acting leader Harriet Harman should carry on in the role.

John Bird: 'get radical on benefits'

Big Issue founder John Bird's makes an appeal to David Cameron about people on benefits.

More UK Politics stories


Politics Live

    16:59: Sunday recap

    It's been far from a lazy Sunday for some of our biggest political hitters, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage defending his party's attitude to gay people; Conservative former defence secretary Liam Fox hinting at a potential Tory rebellion if defence spending targets are not met; Labour's Yvette Cooper saying the security services had their "hands tied" by coalition policy; and the two governing parties at odds over the limits of free speech on university campuses.

    This is the end of our live updates - we'll be back at 06:00 GMT on Monday for the start of another week of electioneering.

    16:58: Cameron's last stand? The Daily Mail

    In his column in the Mail on Sunday, James Forsyth suggests this is "almost certainly [David] Cameron's last General Election battle." But he argues that the Conservatives won't "win without taking some risks" and that some Tories are pushing for the right to buy - "the great, iconic Thatcherite policy" - to be extended to two and a half million housing association properties.

    16:40: Pink bus - in the driving seat The Independent
    Pink Bus

    Jane Merrick, political editor of the Independent on Sunday, says that despite the controversy around Labour's "pink bus", women in the Labour Party have never been so powerful. Ms Merrick argues that the future of the party lies in the hands of "the group of talented female MPs from [the 2010] cohort - Liz Kendall, Rachel Reeves, Stella Creasy, Gloria De Piero, Emma Reynolds and Luciana Berger."

    16:36: Threat evaluation Sunday Times
    Militant waving an IS flag

    A YouGov/Sunday Times poll (pdf) finds that 66% of people think ISIS are the biggest threat facing the UK, as opposed to 20% who see Russia in that position. 4% of respondents - who, depending on your opinion, could be wise, foolish, perceptive, or ignorant - say that neither is a threat to the UK.

    16:21: Another Tory defection? The Daily Telegraph
    Nigel Farage

    There is still a chance that another Conservative MP could defect to UKIP before the general election, Nigel Farage has suggested in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph. The UKIP leader said there was still "one conversation" going on with a Conservative about switching sides to join Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, who defected to UKIP late last year - triggering by-elections which they won in Claction and Rochester and Strood respectively.

    @patrickwintour Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian

    tweets: Engaging gentle look at Jim Murphy Scots Labour leader & suddenly the man on which the election outcome could turn. http://www.scotsman.com/news/dani-garavelli-jim-murphy-the-dynamic-underdog-1-3705170 …

    16:04: Independence after all? The Spectator
    SNP election campaign launch

    At The Spectator, Alex Massie says an SNP landslide in Scotland in May could spell the end of the Union - but parties in the rest of the UK don't appear to understand this. With the SNP "stronger than ever" after the independence referendum, "David Cameron would be wrong to think that his mission in May is to sneak over the finish line: his fight will have just begun. So unionists are entitled to feel a deep and heavy sense of foreboding. This election is going to be a disaster."

    @SophyRidgeSky Sophy Ridge, Sky News political correspondent

    tweets: No 10 aide to @adamboultonSKY "There's a general election on.You wouldn't expect the PM to spend much time on foreign policy" (Sunday Times)

    15:43: Labour fees cut is 'terrible policy' New Statesman
    Ed Balls and Ed Miliband

    At the New Statesman, Emran Mian writes, the senior civil servant to work on the Browne Review of Higher Education which "paved the way" to the introduction of £9,000 fees, writes that Labour's tuition fee announcement was "better than expected" - but still "terrible policy". He complains that the change is "simply unnecessary". "University applications are rising, despite the higher fee levels, and the gap between the participation rate of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and others has continued to reduce", he says.

    15:30: Follow the polls

    Follow the parties' fortunes with the BBC's interactive poll tracker, bringing you the latest poll results from different organisations, as well as a guide to how the parties have fared with the public at key moments in the last five years.

    15:19: Election 2015 A-Z The Guardian

    The Observer has an A-Z guide to the 2015 general election, which'll get you up to speed on some of the serious and not-so-serious factors set to make this election the most exciting and unpredictable in a long time.

    15:18: SNP: Plaques are a 'silly gimmick'

    The SNP has criticised plans to place plaques featuring the Union flag and the line "funded by the UK government" on publically-funded projects in Britain as a "silly gimmick." The SNP's deputy leader and Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said the project "can't cover over the fact that his government at Westminster has slashed infrastructure spending - destroying jobs and delaying economic recovery - including cutting Scotland's capital budget by a quarter."

    15:11: The party of the 1%? The Daily Telegraph
    David Cameron in white tie

    At the Telegraph, Janet Daley writes that the Conservatives have failed to properly neutralise the allegation that they are the party merely of the wealthiest in society: "The Tories are trusted on the economy, but they could fail to turn that into an election victory, thanks to a feeling that they are too closely allied to the 1%."

    15:07: Labour's Cardiff 'carnage'
    Jenny Willot

    Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Willott has accused Labour of wreaking "political carnage" on Cardiff in the way it is running the local council. The Cardiff Central MP claimed there was "open warfare" between Labour cabinet members, MPs and AMs. Ms Willot told her party's Welsh conference in Cardiff that services like rubbish collection suffered while Labour members argued over budget cuts.

    14:56: In case you missed it...
    Ed Balls and Ed Miliband

    We know following the Politics Live page on a daily basis can be engrossing enough, so you might have missed some of the best longer-form content from the BBC's journalists during the week. Our economics editor Robert Peston took a look at Labour's pledge to reduce tuition fees; political reporter Brian Wheeler explained why the latest immigration statistics were potentially embarrassing for the Conservatives - before our assistant political editor Norman Smith asked why there wasn't more "weeping and wailing inside Number 10" in response to the figures. Finally, the website's own Tom Moseley outlined just a few of the jobs MPs do when they're not being MPs.

    14:55: Hunt: Give girls career advice from primary school The Independent
    Tristram Hunt

    The Independent on Sunday reports that Labour's shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt is calling for girls to start careers lessons from the age of seven to encourage them to become more ambitious. He told a Labour conference in London that his party would want to encourage more employers to go into schools to talk about careers. "I want them to go into primary schools to talk to pupils - particularly girls in primary schools - so that they broaden their horizons," he said.

    14:43: Politicians 'should be tougher' on dangerous driving
    Suzette Davenport

    Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport has accused politicians of failing to get tough on drivers who use mobile phones at the wheel, out of fear of upsetting voters. Chief Constable Davenport, who is the lead for roads policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast show: ''My view is that if someone is caught twice using a mobile phone within a period of time we should be considering things like disqualifications for short periods of time."

    14:34: Clarity on second jobs needed The Guardian
    Houses of Parliament

    All would-be MPs should be forced to tell voters what paid jobs they have and whether they would keep them if elected, ethics chief Lord Bew has said. Lord Bew, who chairs the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the Observer politicians were "really riding for a fall" if they failed to address the issue of outside earnings. His comments come after two former foreign secretaries, Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw, were suspended from their parties after allegedly offering their services to a private firm for money.

    14:24: UKIP investigating candidate over tweet Alex Forsyth Political correspondent, BBC News
    Richard Hilton twitter

    UKIP has referred a parliamentary candidate to its national executive committee after he suggested "Jihadi John" should have committed suicide. Richard Hilton, PPC for Mitcham and Morden, wrote on Twitter: "Jihadi John 'contemplated suicide'. It's a shame he didn't. Don't understand media attempts to blame MI5 for his evil." UKIP says neither the party nor Mr Hilton encourages suicide, and as soon as Mr Hilton realised his Tweet might be misconstrued he took it down.

    14:13: Say what?
    Nigel Farage

    Politics Home have found an extract from UKIP's 2001 Manifesto which seems to counter Nigel Farage's claims that "prior to 2004 UKIP as a party didn't even talk about immigration as an issue because in fact we've got on for a long time with a net inflow to this country of about 30,000 people a year" made on today's Sunday Politics.

    The 2001 manifesto stated: "The current problems of immigration and asylum result from inadequate enforcement of our laws, with migrants allowed by other EU countries to 'escape' into Britain. Our own government must re-establish proper border controls and apply our immigration laws humanely but firmly."

    @HarrietHarmen Harriet Harman, Labour deputy leader

    tweets: Observer "gen elec A-Z." Guess what P is for! #pinkbus

    @BBCMarkMardell Mark Mardell, Radio 4 World This Weekend presenter

    tweets: The former head of the British Army Sir Peter Wall tells us parties should make election promise to spend 2% gdp on defence #tw2 @1 r4

    13:24: The World This Weekend BBC Radio 4
    Gerald Howarth

    Gerald Howarth, a Conservative MP and former defence minister, tells Radio 4's The World This Weekend that with Russia making aggressive movements in Ukraine, and with continuing turmoil in the Middle East, this is "no time to be cutting our defence - and the prime minister at the NATO summit last September castigated other countries for their failure" to meet the NATO target of spending 2% of GDP on defence. Mr Howarth says falling short of this target would be "damaging" to the UK and would diminish this country in the eyes of the U.S., our "closest ally". He adds that "Conservatives believe the defence of the realm is the first duty of government", and it must be a commitment in the Conservative manifesto to meet NATO's defence spending targets. Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox has been made a similar argument on Sky News earlier.

    13:06: Union flagging? The Daily Mail
    union flag

    Mail Online political editor Matt Chorley reports that "the Union Flag is to be plastered across big money projects [in Scotland] paid for by the UK taxpayer in a bid to counter Scottish independence. Ministers will announce tomorrow the plan to brand roads, flood defences and broadband hubs with the message 'Funded by the UK Government' to hammer home the benefits of the 300-year-old union."

    13:02: Could Labour be 'Lamonted'? The Independent
    Norman Lamont and red box

    The Independent on Sunday's John Rentoul says Chancellor George Osborne has an extra £5bn "to play with" in the final few months before the general election - with the Budget outlined on 18 March. He says Mr Osborne could do worse than to emulate then-Chancellor Norman Lamont in 1992, who promised a tax-cut for the low paid ahead of polls opening.

    12:48: Lib Dems announce renewable energy plans
    Nick Clegg

    The Liberal Democrats have set out their plan to double the UK's production of renewable energy by 2020 and introduce a Zero Carbon Bill in the next parliament. In a blog post, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Our plans are a bold ambition to end Britain's adverse impact on climate change completely, but I believe it can be done within my lifetime." Earlier on Sunday, Ed Davey told the BBC's John Pienaar on 5 Live that he wanted to make the next parliament provide the "greenest government ever".

    12:37: 'Cash-and-carry politics' The Guardian

    In the Observer, Andrew Rawnsley writes that decisions to offer "sweeteners" to select groups such as pensioners or students "debases the parties and alienates those left out".

    12:35: View from abroad
    Nigel Farage

    Here at Politics Live we assume all our readers are political junkies, so are up to speed with Nigel Farage's speech in front of a rather threadbare audience last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference in the U.S. state of Maryland. But what did the American media make of the UKIP leader? Politico's Adam B. Lerner has a go at explaining Mr Farage's appeal - or lack thereof - to American conservatives.

    12:21: Cameron 'toast' if Tories lose Sunday Politics
    Isabella Oakshott

    Discussing the so-called "Save Dave" plans reported in today's Sunday Times, Isabel Oakeshott says that David Cameron will be "toast politically" if the Conservatives don't win a majority and return him to Downing Street. "I'm sure he accepts that and would not particularly want to cling on", she says.

    12:18: Two 'hideous' post-election scenarios Sunday Politics

    Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh says there are two "hideous" scenarios for a post-election hung parliament. One is that a minority government is formed that is too weak to function properly, but isn't willing to join with opponents to muster the 66% majority required to repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, and so stumbles on for five years. The other is that a second election is called later in the year that is also inconclusive, potentially leading to a major constitutional crisis.

    12:16: Bad interviews 'unrecoverable' Sunday Politics
    Janan Ganesh

    Discussing Green Party leader Natalie Bennett's awkward interview on LBC, Financial Times journalist Janan Ganesh warns that a bad interview can be "unrecoverable" for a mainstream politician. Helping David Cameron maintain stature as prime minister is the fact that he "never completely screws up an interview". His fellow panel member - and David Cameron biographer - Isabel Oakeshott corrects him, pointing out that Mr Cameron did have a "car crash interview with the Gay Times while he was in opposition".

    @BBCPeterH Peter Henley, BBC South political editor

    tweets: Conservative candidate for North West Hampshire Kit Malthouse says he will continue 2nd job if elected: "keeps a foot in the real world"

    12:03: Vote Green, go blue? Sunday Politics
    Stephen Timms

    Stephen Timms says the there is a real danger if people vote Green they will let in the Conservatives, and says the Labour Party is looking forward to exposing how the Green Party's "numbers don't add up" in the next few months.

    @PeterWalshAvMA Peter Walsh, chief executive of Action against Medical Accidents

    tweets: Utterly disgusting that PR machine behind #SaatchiBill is seeking to make political capital by lying & exploiting fears of cancer patients

    12:02: Bennett on immigration Sunday Politics
    Natalie Bennett

    Natalie Bennett says the Greens do not have an open-borders policy, but they celebrate free movement of people within the EU. She says the Greens' focus is on the rights of people who "should be able to be here", such as British people with non-EU spouses, refugees, and international students.

    @IsabelOakeshott Isabel Oakeshott, political journalist and commentator.

    tweets: Liam Fox will not be enjoying having to defend the PM on #bbcsp . No love lost, to put it mildly

    12:00: Lib Dems kill off Saatchi Bill The Daily Telegraph
    Lord Saatchi

    The Telegraph is reporting that Liberal Democrats have killed off a new law to allow doctors to test new drugs on seriously ill patients without the fear of being sued, despite it passing through the House of Lords. The Medical Innovation Bill, promoted by Lord Saatchi after his wife Josephine Hart died from ovarian cancer, would have allowed doctors to test cutting edge new treatments on patients to help find cures for cancer and other serious illnesses. But Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat health minister, has told Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt that his party will not support the bill, effectively vetoing the proposals.

    @andymcsmith Andy McSmith, writer for The Independent

    tweets: "You said you were as fit as a flea: in my experience, fleas aren't very fit" @afneil tells Nigel Farage. What experience, I wonder?

    11:41: Carswell: I don't want to lead UKIP Sky News
    Douglas carswell

    UKIP MP Douglas Carswell - speaking on Sky News - has emphatically ruled our running for the leadership of the party. He was asked if he would stand to take over if he won his seat at the election but Nigel Farage lost in South Thanet. Mr Carswell said: "I will never, ever lead a political party. It would be bad for me and bad for the party." During the same interview he affirmed that "UKIP is absolutely not a racist party" despite a recent poll which found about 44% of the electorate regard UKIP as a racist party.

    11:40: Fox: maintain NATO spending target Sunday Politics
    Liam Fox

    Former Conservative Defence Secretary Liam Fox says the UK should commit to maintaining a defence budget of a minimum 2% of GDP - the NATO benchmark. He adds that a lot of Conservatives would find it difficult to swallow falling short of this target at a time when the 0.7% of GDP foreign aid budget has been ring-fenced. He says the UK reputation as a military ally to the U.S. "took a knock" when parliament in 2013 refused to authorise military action in Syria after the use of chemical weapons there. Not following through on promises "only gives comfort to your enemies" he adds.

    11:32: Farage on immigration Sunday Politics

    Nigel Farage says that "prior to 2004, UKIP as a political party didn't even talk about immigration as an issue", because the net migration into the UK was only approximately 30,000. He says the "big, big moment" causing immigration problems was the opening of British borders to citizens of ten former Communist countries - as they joined the EU - in 2004.

    11:29: UKIP 'gay-friendly'? Sunday Politics
    Nigel Farage

    Asked why the head of UKIP's LGBT group - who accused the UKIP leadership of not setting a "gay-friendly" tone - has resigned, Nigel Farage says people in a voluntary organisation are free to leave whenever they wish. He points out that his party does have that LGBT group, has selected two gay parliamentary candidates, and gave a rapturous reception to Kellie Maloney, who spoke about transgender issues at the UKIP spring conference yesterday. He concludes: "Repeated attempts to paint UKIP as homophobic come to nothing."

    He agrees that UKIP don't set a gay-friendly agenda, but points out it also doesn't set a "male-friendly agenda or a female-friendly agenda". He adds: "The most important thing is we all live together equally under the law."

    11:24: Farage on Russian threat Sunday Politics

    Nigel Farage is now speaking to Andrew Neil down the. He says that if Russia were to invade one of the Baltic states, he would "of course" support a robust Nato response.

    11:19: Current system 'going bust' Sunday Politics

    Liam Byrne tells Andrew Neil that Labour need to get the policy right as "the current system is going bust", and will add £281bn to the national debt by 2030. Tripling fees meant that three quarters of students will never pay off their debts, and "we can't afford that", he says. Labour's plan intends to fully fund the higher education system by "asking the wealthiest in Britain to fund more." He claims "the challenge is now on the Tories to rule out raising tuition fees up to £15,000" in order to fill the funding gap.

    11:14: Tuition cut "fully costed" Sunday Politics
    Liam Byrne

    Shadow Universities Minister Liam Byrne tells Andrew Neil he is an "evangelist" for the Labour policy - announced this week - that the party would reduce tuition fees by a third. He says in the long-term he does believe a graduate tax is the right thing to do, but that the party currently can't commit to ensuring a graduate tax would work, as opposed to the "fully costed" policy they've decided to pursue.

    11:05: Nigel Farage on Sunday Politics Sunday Politics

    Lots to come in the next hour on the Sunday Politics, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage talking to Andrew Neil following UKIP's spring conference in the past couple of days. Also on the programme, interviews with Conservative former defence secretary Liam Fox, and shadow universities minister Liam Byrne. Watch the programme now live on BBC One, or in the Live Coverage tab at the top of this page.

    11:05: Sin-bin plans 'overkill' BBC Radio 5 live

    William Dartmouth describes Labour's plans to introduce a "sin-bin" system, allowing the Commons speaker to send out misbehaving MPs for an hour for the first warning, or for three sessions if they are a repeat offender, as "an absolutely rotten idea." Transport Minister Stephen Hammond agrees "it's overkill". He complains that the public are judging the politicians by Prime Minister's Questions, "where passions run high."

    11:03: Commons 'sin-bin' BBC Radio 5 live

    The panel of politicians with John Pienaar are discussing a new Labour proposal to introduce a "sin-bin" system for MPs who get a little too excited at Prime Minister's Questions. Although the proposal is not yet entirely fleshed out, all politicians agree they have a soft spot for the one time of the week when there can be the liveliest back-and-forth between government and opposition - and the highest public viewing figures for the House of Commons.

    10:58: Pienaar's panel BBC Radio 5 live
    Pienaar's pannel

    Click the tab at the top of the page to listen in to BBC Radio 5 Live as a panel of politicians, including shadow foreign affairs minister Gareth Thomas, UKIP's William Dartmouth, Liberal Democrat Treasury Minister Lord Newby and Transport Minister Stephen Hammond debate the day's political hot topics on Pienaar's Politics.

    10:53: 'Biggest attack on British values' BBC Radio 5 live

    William Legge, a UKIP MEP and the 10th Earl of Dartmouth, tells John Pienaar it is "absolutely risible" to hear Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey talking about British values since it was the coalition government, with Labour's help, who implemented the European Arrest Warrant - which he describes as the "biggest attack on British Values."

    10:52: Shapps: 'Err on the side of caution' BBC Radio 5 live

    Grant Shapps denies that the disagreement between Conservatives and Lib Dems over so-called hate preachers on university campuses constitutes a coalition "row", saying that "if I had a pound for every time people told me there was a coalition row, not only would I be very wealthy but this coalition would have ended years ago". But he admits there is some difference of opinion, and says the Conservatives want to "err on the side of caution" and draw the line of acceptable speech closer to "protecting the security of the British public".

    10:48: Shapps on MPs' second jobs BBC Radio 5 live
    Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind

    Grant Shapps says he has no problem with MPs holding second jobs as long as it is "completely transparent". He says the way to avoid controversy is to "publish what you're doing, have full transparency and disclosure", and he adds that he doesn't want the House of Commons stuffed with 650 professional politicians "who have never done anything else in their life".

    @alstewitn Alastair Stewart, ITV News Anchor

    tweets: I was reading about @grantshapps on @SkyNews then he pounds out of my speakers on @bbc5live @JPonpolitics Sunday politics conveyor belt.

    10:42: Shapps's praise for Lib Dems BBC Radio 5 live

    Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps tells John Pienaar he'll start with some nice words about the Lib Dems, praising Nick Clegg's party by saying they "haven't wavered on their desire to see the deficit got under control", even though it would have been "easy to do so".

    10:34: 'Juvenile' attitude to coalition BBC Radio 5 live

    The Times columnist Jenni Russell says MPs and the media have been "absolutely juvenile about this whole coalition business", and have chosen to criticise Nick Clegg's party "as if they had freedom of action in government". She says the Lib Dems were "hopelessly naive about the political process when they went into government", but adds that if the British people don't vote in a majority government, voters cannot complain when politicians negotiate and compromise after the election. Ed Davey, unsurprisingly, agrees.

    10:34: Cable blocking 'hate preacher' plans Sky News

    Grant Shapps accuses Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable of blocking Conservative moves to crack down on "hate preachers" in universities. "There is a difference of opinion", he tells Murnaghan: "Cable doesn't want to do what the Conservatives want to do."

    10:29: '75% of manifesto' passed BBC Radio 5 live
    Ed DAvey Ed Davey gets an early morning cup of tea in the Radio 5 Live studio.

    Ed Davey - referencing the trebling of tuition fees earlier in this government - says it is "easy to pick that one out" to criticise the Lib Dems, but he says voters should focus on the "75% of the manifesto commitments [from 2010] that we delivered" under the coalition agreement.

    10:27: Solution to housing problem Sky News
    Grant Shapps

    Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps is now on Murnaghan. He says the solution to Britain's housing problem is pushing people to make brown-field sites available for self-build programmes. He pledges 100,000 new starter homes, which can be purchased at 80% of market value, will be built if the Conservatives get into power. "Government support" and forcing the market "to step up to the plate" will make up the estimated £3.6bn cost of this project, Mr Shapps says.

    10:26: Tuition fees BBC Radio 5 live

    Ed Davey says the Lib Dems would refuse to sign up to the "stupid" policy of Labour's to reduce tuition fees, in the event of coalition negotiations after the May election. He says it is better to spend £2bn on something other than benefiting the "richer graduates" of universities.

    10:21: MI5 role in jihadi John radicalisation 'nonsense' Sky News

    Over on Sky's Murnaghan programme, Dr Afzal Ashraf, a consultant fellow at the defence and international affairs think-tank the Royal United Services Institute, says it is "complete nonsense" to suggest that MI5 would have driven Mohammed Emwazi to join Islamic State.

    10:19: Davey on hate preachers BBC Radio 5 live

    Following reports today that there is a row in the coalition between Theresa May and Vince Cable over so-called 'hate preachers' on university campuses, Ed Davey says "the consensus view - which the Tories used to sign up to" is that prosecutions should only occur if a speaker crossed the line into directly inciting violence. He tells John Pienaar "if you change that line, that's a dangerous attack on free speech".

    10:14: Labour green record 'hopeless' BBC Radio 5 live
    Ed Davey

    Ed Davey tells John Pienaar that the Labour Party has a "fairly hopeless record" on green issues. The Lib Dems, Mr Davey says, "want the next parliament to be the greenest government ever", and to that end his party will be setting out five green bills in their manifesto.

    10:10: Tuition fees BBC Radio 5 live

    The Times columnist Jenni Russell tells John Pienaar she can't understand why Labour have chosen to promise to reduce university tuition fees, which she describes as "a very strange way to spend a couple of billion pounds" given that - according to her - the issue isn't a live political hot potato any more.

    10:03: 'Different types of immigration' The Andrew Marr Show

    While criticising the government's "failed" immigration targets, Yvette Cooper admits that immigration is too high. Refusing to be drawn on specifics, she says that Labour's immigration policy would "target different types of immigration." The government has taken "the wrong approach" by lumping "all migrants" into same migration target, she argues.

    10:02: Surveillance powers The Andrew Marr Show

    Yvette Cooper says that intelligence agencies already have strong legal powers to implement surveillance on terror suspects. While Labour support updating surveillance powers for new technologies, she says these must have "proper checks and balances." That is why Labour have asked for the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, to review the law and recommend changes.

    @JPonpolitics John Pienaar, 5 Live presenter

    tweets: On Pienaar's Politics from 10am, I'll be joined by the Energy Secretary, @EdwardDaveyMP and @grantshapps. Watch: http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live

    09:56: Security services' 'hands tied' The Andrew Marr Show
    Yvette Cooper

    Yvette Cooper says Labour will bring back "the relocation part of control orders" to help "disrupt" terror plots in the UK, by moving suspects "away from their networks, away from the radicalisation, the extremist networks they might have been working with". The security services have had their "hands tied" by the current government, she says, pointing out that despite the "considerable risk" of a terror attack only one person is on a TPIM. This demonstrates that control powers are "simply not strong enough". But she adds that such powers - even if altered in the direction Labour wants - "should not be routinely used".

    09:50: 'Shocking but not surprising' The Andrew Marr Show
    Kalsoom Bashir

    Kalsoom Bashir, co-director of Inspire, says it is "shocking but not surprising" that young girls are being attracted to join Islamic State, as the group have a "campaign specifically targeting young women" by "hooking into their vulnerabilities." School girls - such as Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana who are believed to be travelling to join Islamic State in Syria - are too "religiously illiterate" to know the difference between "Islam and Islamism" or "facts and lies".

    09:37: 'Galvanising' extremism The Andrew Marr Show
    Helen Ball

    The UK senior national co-ordinator of counter-terrorism, Deputy Assistant Commisioner Helen Ball, says the Syrian civil war has had a "galvanising" effect on people becoming radicalised. Counter-terrorism investigations have "increased enormously" since the conflict began, while the police service are uncovering "more plots all the time". She adds the police miss the power of the "control order" - which kept terrorism suspects in their homes without access to phones or internet. She adds that it would take an "enormous number" of officers to provide surveillance on a suspect for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    09:30: Immigration 'dismay' The Andrew Marr Show

    Cardinal Nichols says he is "dismayed" that immigration has become such a big issue in politics ahead of the upcoming general election, and says all parties should have their views on immigration "tested." He adds that "the human person" must be always kept foremost in mind when discussing the issue, and he says without the "positive contribution" made by the "vast majority" of immigrants, London would "grind to a halt".

    @michaelsavage Michael Savage, Times chief political correspondent

    tweets: Key ? on Labour's tuition fees - is there better way to spend £3bn? Tories/Lib Dems could now use same pensions raid to fund something else.

    09:29: Politics 'everyone's business' The Andrew Marr Show
    Vincent Nichols

    Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, defends religious institutions getting involved in politics. He tells Sophie Raworth politics is "about the wellbeing of our country and that's everyone's business." He adds: "It urges people to ask what society we want to be and what role we see for ourselves in the wider world."

    @patrickwintour Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian

    tweets: Labour's tuition fees cut gets pasting in Sundays, but supported 3 to 1 in YouGov poll, despite voters knowing does not aid poor students.

    09:21: Full surveillance 'not possible' The Andrew Marr Show
    Margot James

    On the subject of British citizens travelling to fight for terrorist movements, Conservative MP Margot James says it is unfortunately "simply not possible to subject all potential targets to the degree of surveillance that we would need in order to prevent them travelling to Syria" or other jihadist hotspots.

    09:20: Paper review Daily Express

    The Sunday Express reveals how security forces finally identified Emwazi, who has appeared in several videos showing beheadings carried out by the Islamist group. The paper says spies worked out who he was after he used his student number to download discounted software after arriving in Syria. It also carries an interview with UKIP leader Nigel Farage , who calls for security services to be "given tools" to fight extremism.

    09:13: Paper review The Daily Telegraph

    The Sunday Telegraph leads on a revelation that "an al-Qaeda terrorism suspect closely connected to 'Jihadi John' [a.k.a. Mohammed Emwazi] is living in London, having used the Human Rights Act to prevent the Government from deporting him". The paper also reports that two contemporaries of Emwazi's at his former school have since died while fighting alongside terrorists in Somalia and Syria respectively. Education Secretary has ordered an inquiry into the Quintin Kynaston academy in north London as a result.

    Sunday Telegraph front page
    09:00: Paper review The Guardian

    Mohammed Emwazi had earlier been able to flee Britain despite being a member of a London-based terror cell that had links to the failed 21/7 attacks on the capital in 2005, according to the Observer. Associates of a 12-strong group spent time at a terror camp in Cumbria a year before the bid, the paper says. And it also reports that Labour is on course for an "absolute majority" in the House of Commons, according to a new poll commissioned by the paper.

    The Observer
    08:57: 'Bizarre' response to minimum funding guarantee
    Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb said Welsh ministers were being offered 'exactly' what they had asked for

    Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb has described Welsh ministers' response to a promise on minimum funding as "bizarre". On Friday, the UK government proposed a funding "floor" - guaranteeing a minimum Welsh government income. The Conservatives now want Labour Welsh ministers to call a referendum on devolving part-control of income tax. First Minister Carwyn Jones - a Labour politician - denounced the funding offer as a "vague promise", but Mr Crabb said it was a response to specific Welsh government demands.

    08:49: Paper review Sunday Times

    Inside the Sunday Times, a group of the paper's reporters looks at the "bewildering transformation" of Mohammed Emwazi from a "socially-inept computer programmer" to infamous murderer. The paper leads on an alleged row in the coalition between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems: "New rules drawn up by Downing Street to force universities to ban all 'extremist' speakers from their campuses are being blocked by Vince Cable, the business secretary." And it also carries a story about a plan by some senior Tories to "Save Dave" in the event the prime minister wins more votes but fewer seats than Ed Miliband's Labour in May.

    Sunday Times front page
    08:45: Paper review

    The Mail on Sunday leads with further details of the background of British-born Mohammed Emwazi, a.k.a. 'jihadi John'. The paper's security editor describes how as far back as 2010 Emwazi was convinced the security services were tailing him. Looking elsewhere, the paper's Ian Birrell writes about the recently-assassinated Boris Nemtsov, an opponent of Vladimir Putin's in Russia.

    Mail on Sunday front page
    08:21: BBC One, 11:00 GMT Sunday Politics

    Today's political coverage on the BBC starts, of course, with Andrew Marr - but by no means finishes there. Join Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics sofa at 11:00 GMT on BBC One, where he'll be joined by: Labour's Liam Byrne, the shadow universities minister; UKIP leader Nigel Farage; the Conservative former Defence Secretary Liam Fox; and the journalists Isabel Oakeshott, Nicholas Watt, and Janan Ganesh.

    Sunday Politics guests
    08:20: BBC One, 09:00 GMT The Andrew Marr Show
    Yvette Cooper

    It's been a frantic week in the political world, with election fever spreading to more and more people. UKIP kicked off its spring conference; Labour announced it would reduce tuition fees by a third; and new immigration statistics proved embarrassing for the Conservative Party. But it wasn't a week spent entirely slinging mud - the coalition outlined a new devolved settlement for Wales, in a news conference that saw a show of unity and good humour between David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Join Andrew Marr at 09:00 GMT on BBC One to review the past week and look ahead to the next. His guests today include Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper; Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster; and the actress Kristen Scott-Thomas.

    08:04: Good morning Alex Hunt Politics editor, BBC News Online

    Hello and welcome to a fresh Sunday's political coverage - there are only nine more before the election takes place. Sam Francis and Adam Donald will bring you all the main news and comment from the papers, and all the key moments from the morning's programmes such as The Andrew Marr Show, Pienaar's Politics and Sunday Politics. Don't forget you can get in touch by emailing politics@bbc.co.uk or via social media @bbcpolitics



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