David Cameron: Conservatives can win general election

David Cameron campaigning during  the European elections David Cameron says the party needs to work harder to win over voters

David Cameron has insisted the Conservatives can win the next general election despite being pushed into third place in the European elections.

The prime minister said he appreciated people were "disillusioned" with the EU and he "absolutely understood and received the message".

He told the BBC that only Conservatives offered a referendum on UK membership.

The BBC's Nick Robinson said this "simple message" instilled confidence for many within the party.

UKIP gained 23 MEPs, with the Tories having 19, behind Labour which has 20. The Conservative share of the vote was 23.9%, behind Labour on 25.4% and UKIP on 27.5%.

Some Conservative MPs have expressed dismay at the performance and Mr Cameron said he was "disappointed" for the MEPs - including its former leader in Brussels Martin Callanan - who lost their seats.

'Clear message'

But he said the vote reinforced his belief that the UK's relationship with the EU needed to change.

"I take a very clear message from the election. People are deeply disillusioned with the EU. They don't feel the current arrangements are working well enough for Britain and they want change.

"I would say that message is absolutely received and understood."

While he was an instinctive "reformer" who, in the referendum would "give the choice to the British people of whether to stay or go", Labour backed the "status quo" in Europe and the Lib Dems did not want any change.

Party

Mr Cameron rejected suggestions that UKIP's victory was a snub for the Westminster elite in general and for Mr Farage's different campaigning style, saying the UKIP leader was a "consummate politician" who was already discussing tactics for the 2015 general election.

He again dismissed any talk of pre-election pacts, at either a national or constituency level, saying he was "100%" focused on delivering an outright Conservative victory.

He said Labour had got a lower share of the vote in the 2004 European election and managed to comfortably win a general election the year after.

"It is possible to win from here," he said. "We have just got to have a real focus on what really matters which is completing our economic plan and turning our country round."

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the rise of Eurosceptic parties should serve as a wake-up call to European politicians.

'Free hit'

UKIP's support would switch for next year's general election, he told BBC News. "They can have a free hit; they can have a vote that does not have the consequences of bringing the wrong government in," he said.

"So it is very different to a general election."

But backbencher Bernard Jenkin wrote on Twitter: "Some of us who opposed Maastricht 20 years ago predicted it would lead to the rise of the right in the EU: and here we are."

And Clacton MP Douglas Carswell added: "So maybe those of us who sometimes banged on about Europe were on to something?"

The European election results come just days after the Conservative Party lost more than 200 seats in local polls, prompting ministers to promise tougher curbs on immigration.

Home Secretary Theresa May said they were considering deporting people who came to the UK to work, but who could not find a job after six months.

They were also looking at cutting the length of time migrants could claim benefits from six months to three months, she said.

Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps said the election results were "a command for Britain to get a better deal" in Europe - but he rejected calls by Tory grandee David Davis to bring forward a proposed in/out EU referendum to 2016, saying negotiations on this could not be rushed.

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Politics Live

  1.  
    13:17: All in it together BBC Radio 4

    "It's not just for government to solve this problem however," Mr Beatson says. There are things that only government can do, invest in infrastructure, for example and regulating industry. But it's also about businesses making investment. Productivity isn't about how hard you work it's about the return you get on your investment, he adds

     
  2.  
    13:15: Productivity worries BBC Radio 4

    The IFS report on living standards remains one of the big stories of the day. On The World at One, Mark Beatson, chief economist at the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), says lower productivity has been a nagging concern since 1998, but we're now in an unprecedented world where productivity is lower than it was in 2008 despite the economic recovery.

     
  3.  
    13:10: Clegg drugs speech

    Nick Clegg is now giving his speech on drugs that we've been trailing this morning. "If you are anti-drugs you should be pro-reform," he tells the audience in London.

     
  4.  
    13:06: IFS report James Landale Deputy Political Editor, BBC News

    The Conservatives' great fear in this election is that they will experience a voteless recovery - all the stats say it's getting better but people don't feel that on the ground - and wont show it at the ballot box. They hope the IFS report will help convince the public that things really are improving.

     
  5.  
    13:00: Lunchtime recap:
    • Ed Miliband attacks David Cameron over his record on immigration at PMQs - the latter lists his other achievements in office, but admits that immigration from within the EU has risen.
    • The Labour leader also asks the PM to say if he will take part in a head-to-head TV election debate. Mr Cameron says "we're having a debate now" and says he's happy to "get on with it" now.
    • Nigel Farage has given a big speech outlining his desire to return immigration to "normal" levels, with between 20,000 and 50,000 migrants given work permits each year.
    • But the UKIP leader has spent much of the morning insisting he hasn't performed a U-turn on the issue of whether he's setting a formal immigration cap. His spokesman Steven Woolfe said last week he wanted a cap of 50,000, but Mr Farage says he - and the public - have "had enough of caps and targets".
    • Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell has paid £80,000 in damages to Pc Toby Rowland, the office at the centre of the plebgate row
    • The Liberal Democrats' manifesto will include a pledge to hand drugs policy from the Home Office to the Department of Health, Nick Clegg is to say.
     
  6.  
    12:56: Migration target Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Labour's Hilary Benn says it was unwise of the prime minister to make the promise on net migration, and criticises Ms Perry for trying to "blame everyone else". Asked what Labour's plan is, he says the party would have a "fair" immigration policy that requires migrants to the UK to contribute. "That's what we're doing," Ms Perry intervenes.

     
  7.  
    12:55: Jobs factory Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Over to the MPs panel now, and transport minister Claire Perry concedes that the government had not met the target. But she says that no-one could have predicted the UK would become the "jobs factory of Europe", which is why migration to the UK has increased, she adds. Ms Perry stresses the government's "commitment" to bringing down immigration.

     
  8.  
    12:51: Miliband's tactics Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The Guardian's Nick Watt predicts that Ed Miliband will not want to define his election campaign on immigration, but rather on the cost of living. "But for today's purposes he felt he had a clear way of getting a clear win on immigration, and clearly the prime minister was uneasy," he adds.

     
  9.  
    12:49: PMQs analysis Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Let's go back to the Daily Politics for a moment, where we're getting some reaction to PMQs. Guardian commentator Nick Watt says the PM clearly knew what was coming on immigration. He knew that Ed Miliband would mention David Cameron's pre-election "contract with Britain", and so had a copy to hand to reel off commitments that had been met, he added.

     
  10.  
    12:44: Coming up in the Commons House of Commons Parliament

    That brings an end to this week's Prime Minister's Questions and in a short while MPs will turn their attention to the Corporation Tax (Northern Ireland) Bill, which is going through its final stages in the Commons.

     
  11.  
    12:40: Hospital failures

    Labour MP John Woodcock raised a question, before the session ended, on Furness General Hospital, after an investigation rules that a "lethal mix" of failures led to the unnecessary deaths of 11 babies and one mother. David Cameron says it is a "very important report", adding that the government wanted to see many of its recommendations implemented. Where there are problems in the NHS it is important not to sweep them under the carpet but be open and honest about them, he says, adding that his heart goes out to all those whose children died at the hospital.

     
  12.  
    12:39: Pic: Cameron, Clegg and Hague
    David Cameron, Nick Clegg and William Hague
     
  13.  
    12:35: Energy prices

    Labour MP Iain Mckenzie's attempt to attack David Cameron over the government's energy reforms backfires slightly, as the PM uses it as an opportunity to go on an attack of his own, by making fun of Labour's "price freeze" which he said would increase consumers' bills as energy costs have fallen.

     
  14.  
    12:33: Nursery first aid

    Lib Dem MP Mark Hunter asks the prime minister if he supports a campaign to ensure that all nursery staff are qualified in paediatric first aid, and if so, if he will seek to hurry up a government review on the matter. David Cameron says it makes sense for as many people as possible to have that sort of training, and promises to speak to the relevant minister in charge of the review.

     
  15.  
    12:32: Child protection

    Labour MP Meg Munn says it is time to make child protection "much more central" within the Ofsted process and ensure every school is inspected on this area regularly, even if they are rated "outstanding". David Cameron says he will look carefully at her suggestion.

     
  16.  
    @EmilyThornberry Emily Thornberry, Labour MP

    tweets: Cameron refuses to rule out putting up tuition fees if re-elected #pmqs

     
  17.  
    12:30: Tuition fees

    Seema Malhotra, a Labour MP, uses her question to ask the PM to rule out increasing tuition fees any further. David Cameron says universities are now better funded, with the number of students having increased, including from poorer backgrounds. Labour has taken four years to work out its own "useless" policy, which hits universities and helps rich students rather than poor ones. It represents the "chaos" that a Labour government would bring, he adds.

     
  18.  
    @CLeslieMP Charlotte Leslie, Tory MP

    tweets: In #PMQs. Never seen anyone look so upset that youth unemployment's gone down as the people opposite me.Just Wow.Election time IS here. :-(

     
  19.  
    12:29: Pic: All eyes on the PM
    David Cameron
     
  20.  
    12:27: Long term plan

    A question from Conservative MP Guy Opperman provides David Cameron with a rather helpful opportunity to set out his "long-term economic plan" for the north east. He goes on to list of what he says are the government's economic achievements.

     
  21.  
    12:26: Minimum wage

    Labour MP Julie Elliot criticises the government over what she sees as its failure on the national minimum wage, which prompts David Cameron to defend his record in this area, citing steps taken to enhance enforcement of the law.

     
  22.  
    @jreedmp Jamie Reed, Labour MP

    tweets: #pmqs Dave extolling the benefits of pubs. I hear they make a great place to leave the kids...

     
  23.  
    12:25: British beer industry

    "I bring the House good news," declares Andrew Griffiths, who tells MPs that British beer sales are up for the first time in a decade - praising the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and cuts in beer duty. He calls for further cuts to the beer duty. David Cameron praises Mr Griffith's campaign work in this area, adding that the government has been a "good friend" to pubs and the beer industry.

     
  24.  
    12:25: Pic: Opposition benches
    David Cameron faces the opposition benches

    David Cameron faces the opposition benches.

     
  25.  
    @gabyhinsliff Gaby Hinsliff, Grazia

    tweets: Seriously unconvinced there's any point whatsoever to #pmqs at this point in the electoral cycle.

     
  26.  
    @IsabelHardman Isabel Hardman, The Spectator

    tweets: That sound is the nails being screwed into the coffin of the TV debates #PMQs. Or else it's the sound of Labour MPs making chicken noises

     
  27.  
    @tnewtondunn Tom Newton Dunn, The Sun

    tweets: Only 10 Labour MPs put their hands up when Cameron asked how many would use Ed's pic in leaflets. Can't believe they fell for that #PMQs

     
  28.  
    @JGForsyth James Forsyth, the Spectator

    tweets: Sign of Tory discipline that Fox's question was about Trident not spending 2% of GDP on defence

     
  29.  
    @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason, BBC News

    tweets: PM ducks two offers from Ed Miliband to do the head to head tv debate the broadcasters have offered #pmqs

     
  30.  
    12:21: Nuclear weapons

    Liam Fox, former Tory defence secretary, seeks assurances that David Cameron would not agree to scrap the renewal of Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system in any future coalition negotiations. Mr Cameron reaffirms his commitment to the deterrent and says Labour needs to rule out any possibility of a coalition with the SNP, who have said the scrapping of Trident would be a red line in any coalition negotiations.

     
  31.  
    12:19: David Ward question

    Lib Dem David Ward asks the PM whether he feels his and Ed Miliband's behaviour at Prime Minister's Questions either enhances or damages the image of Parliament. In his reply, the prime minister acknowledges it is "inevitably a robust exchange" but says there is always room for improvement. PMQs has an important function, in that it holds government to account, he adds.

     
  32.  
    @paulwaugh Paul Waugh, Politics Home

    tweets: Real prob with Ed M saying he'll attend head to head debate on Apr 30, even if Cam doesn't: TV unlikely to empty chair a 2-way

     
  33.  
    12:18: In touch?

    Labour backbencher David Winnick says he doesn't want to be personal but... the PM "doesn't understand" the lives of people who try to live on modest incomes. The Conservatives remain the party of the rich and privileged, he adds. David Cameron responds that 1.85 million more people are now in work as a result of the government's policies, as he defends his record in office.

     
  34.  
    @IainDale Iain Dale, presenter of LBC Drivetime

    tweets: I can't think anyone can call today's PMQs anything other than a total walkover for @Ed_Miliband. Not often one can say that.

     
  35.  
    12:17: Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian

    tweets: My snap PMQs verdict - PM's bluster machine on overdrive, but Miliband had him bang to rights

     
  36.  
    12:17: Cancer referrals

    On to backbench exchanges now. Barry Gardiner, the Labour MP for Brent North, uses his question to raise concerns about targets for cancer referrals. David Cameron tells him there has been a 50% increase in cancer referrals, and stresses the importance of early diagnosis. He also underlines the need to keep on with the Cancer Drugs Fund.

     
  37.  
    12:16: Pic: Miliband asks a question
    House of Commons
     
  38.  
    12:14: TV debates?

    Ed Miliband tries once again, asking the PM if he will commit to the debates - which is met with the same reply from the PM, who adds that Mr Miliband wants to avoid debating with the Greens. This gives him the chance to joke that Labour's leader had seen Natalie Bennett's "car crash" interview last week as a "master class". That brings the leaders' exchanges to a close.

     
  39.  
    12:12: TV debates?

    "So it's all about leadership?" responds Ed Miliband - which gets cheers from the Tory backbenchers. The Labour leader changes subjects, and goes on the attack over TV election debates, asking the PM if he will commit to the proposed head-to-head debate with him on 30 April. Mr Cameron does not say he will take part, saying "we're having a debate now" and says Miliband can't talk about jobs or the economy because of the government's success.

     
  40.  
    12:10: Election leaflets

    The PM takes a swipe at Ed Miliband whom he says Labour MPs do not want to feature on their election leaflets. He asks for a show of hands for those going to feature Mr Miliband on their leaflets. Lots of arms are raised on the Conservative benches.

     
  41.  
    12:11: Speaker calls for order House of Commons Parliament
    John Bercow

    Speaker John Bercow tries to quieten noisy MPs, telling them they should consider what their rowdiness looks like to the public, whose votes they will be seeking soon.

     
  42.  
    @DJack_Journo David Jack, The Times

    tweets: Cheeky of Miliband to attack Cam on migration given Labour's open-doors policy #PMQs

     
  43.  
    @georgeeaton George Eaton, The New Statesman

    tweets: Challenge for Miliband is to criticise Cameron for breaking a promise without appearing anti-immigration. #PMQs

     
  44.  
    12:08: UKIP immigration policy

    UKIP's immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe says the party's points-based system will work like someone "submitting a CV". "People from anywhere across the world, irrespective of whatever culture, creed, nationality you are, goes onto our system whether its online or through an organisation helping them and puts in their application," he says.

    "If they fit the points they go through to the next stage. Then the Commission will work out what sort of numbers we need for each year. If it says we need 50,000 people that year then we'll have 50,000 visa available and that goes through those people that have passed."

     
  45.  
    12:07: Speaker speaks

    Speaker Bercow is on his feet again, and calls for order (it's getting pretty rowdy in the chamber). Over to Ed Miliband, who says the PM must admit he has broken his promise. David Cameron says he has cut migration from outside the EU but that it has risen from within the EU. He's back to his list of commitments met again.

     
  46.  
    12:07: Promises kept

    After Ed Miliband accuses David Cameron of breaking his promise to cut net migration, the PM reels off a list of pledges that he says the government has honoured - much to his backbenchers' delight. Speaker John Bercow cuts him off for taking too long, opening the floor to Ed Miliband who says Mr Cameron's promise on immigration was not worth the paper it's written on.

     
  47.  
    12:06: Pic: Miliband waves migration pledge
    Ed Miliband
     
  48.  
    @Kevin_Maguire Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror

    tweets: Cameron again refuses to say if he discussed tax avoidance with Lord Green. He did/didn't*(*delete according to politics) #pmqs

     
  49.  
    12:06: Cameron hits back

    David Cameron adds that he wants to keep the economy strong but change the benefits system. Labour wants to protect the benefits system and trash the economy, he adds.

     
  50.  
    12:04: Miliband on immigration

    Ed Miliband is on his feet and begins his questioning on immigration. He says the PM made a "no ifs, no buts" promise to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands and had said people should vote him out if he didn't keep it but now it's higher than when he took office, he says. David Cameron says the strength of the UK economy and the benefits system were the reasons why migration had gone up.

     
  51.  
    @Markfergusonuk Mark Ferguson, Labour List

    tweets: Lots of empty space on the green benches today #pmqs

     
  52.  
    12:02: Lord Green kicks it off

    The first question to the PM comes from Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, who asks David Cameron to clarify whether he or the chancellor had a conversation with former trade minister Lord Green about HSBC's tax affairs. David Cameron responds by saying all the proper checks were made on Lord Green's appointment, and that Labour had employed him as a trade adviser.

     
  53.  
    12:02: Pic: David Cameron
    David Cameron
     
  54.  
    @Mike_Fabricant Michael Fabricant, Tory MP

    tweets: Am told that tomorrow is World Erotic Book Day. Shall I ask at #PMQs what the PM will do to mark it? (Maybe not).

     
  55.  
    12:00: Likely subjects? Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Guardian commentator Nick Watt offers his predictions on Ed Miliband's line of questioning at this week's PMQs. He thinks the Labour leader would be on more comfortable ground if he goes on David Cameron's "failure" to meet the net migration target, rather than this morning's IFS report on household incomes.

     
  56.  
    11:59: Pic: Cameron in the House
    David Cameron
     
  57.  
    11:57: UKIP immigration policy 'consistent' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Tim Aker, UKIP MEP and parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, rejects assertions that UKIP has changed its mind on its immigration policy. He says the party has been "consistent", and that its target is to bring immigration under control.

     
  58.  
    @AngusMacNeilMP Angus MacNeil, SNP

    tweets: Interesting on @bbc5live panel..Farage claims of UK being most crowded country contradicted by Reckless who agreed with me - Netherlands is!

     
  59.  
    11:54: UKIP and Channel 4

    UKIP's Steven Woolfe gets a double round of applause as he says "when UKIP come into power, when we win this election... and when we do so Channel 4 by the way, I will be the immigration spokesman not the fantasy person you created."

     
  60.  
    11:52: Stephen Crabb House of Commons Parliament
    Stephen Crabb

    Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb answers questions in the Commons.

     
  61.  
    11:49: Tuition fees Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    On tuition fees, Labour front bencher Hilary Benn rejects the notion that Labour's policy - to reduce them from £9,000 to £6,000 - is "unravelling". He contends that Labour is on the side of students.

     
  62.  
    11:47: Lib Dem electoral fortunes Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Lib Dem party president Tim Farron is pressed over the party's prospects at the forthcoming election. He thinks predictions the Lib Dems will lose up to 30 seats will not prove accurate. He says if the election is a "difficult experience" and the party comes through it "then the leader deserves all the credit for bringing us through it".

     
  63.  
    @daily_politics 11:47: DailySundayPolitics
    Opinion polls tracker

    tweets: Here are the poll graphics from #bbcdp debate with @afneil @Jo_Coburn @claire4devizes @timfarron @hilarybennmp

     
  64.  
    11:47: Household incomes Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The first subject under discussion is this morning's IFS report which says average household incomes are back to where they were before the financial crisis. Conservative minister Claire Perry welcomes the report's findings and says the trend on the cost of living is "really improving".

     
  65.  
    11:47: Labour tribute to Hain and Murphy

    Shadow Wales secretary Owen Smith also pays tribute to departing Welsh MPs. He notes that the list includes two former Labour secretaries of state: Peter Hain and Paul Murphy.

    Owen Smith
     
  66.  
    11:43: Pic: UKIP's Steven Woolfe
    Steven Woolfe at UKIP immigration speech

    UKIP's immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe is speaking now. As you can see the party's slogan is Believe in Britain.

     
  67.  
    11:43: Farage speech on immigration

    Mr Farage says that over 600,000 people came to settle in the UK last year. That's true - the figures from the Office for National Statistics show that immigration was up to 624,000 in the year to September 2014 from 530,000 in the previous 12 months. About 327,000 people emigrated from the UK in the same period. That left a net migration figure of 289,000, which is the one mostly talked about when politicians debate immigration levels.

     
  68.  
    11:38: MPs standing down House of Commons Parliament

    Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb tells MPs that this is the last Wales Office questions before the general election. He pays tribute to eight MPs in Wales who are standing down in May, saying they have "served their constituencies with distinction".

     
  69.  
    11:34: On BBC Two... Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The Daily Politics programme is under way, with Conservative MP and transport minister Claire Perry, shadow communities and local government secretary Hilary Benn and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron on today's panel. We'll be bringing you live updates.

     
  70.  
    11:34: Wales Office questions House of Commons Parliament

    Questions to Wales Office ministers are just starting in the Commons. Topics include the labour market in Wales, the tourism sector, the Severn Barrage, and healthcare provision across the border between Wales and England.

     
  71.  
    11:34: Farage speech on immigration

    "In the most overcrowded country in Europe... we have to build one new dwelling every seven minutes just to cope with current levels of immigration," Mr Farage adds. He says he knows an unlimited supply of unskilled labour and open door immigration have been a boon for the very wealthy - which he says have done well from cheaper nannies and chauffeurs and gardeners - and businesses which "have kept wages artificially low."

     
  72.  
    11:23: New cash for energy saving scheme announced

    Energy Secretary Ed Davey has announced the launch of a new £70m tranche of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund from Monday 16 March. He's been speaking to Money Saving Expert, and said up to £5,600 will be available to households in England and Wales to help with the costs of installing energy saving improvements. The money off vouchers will be available on a first-come first-served basis. The fund offers cashback and incentives on such things as double-glazing, insulation and boilers.

     
  73.  
    11:29: Farage speech on immigration

    "The big debate in the 1970s was whether we could accommodate 28,000 migrants from Uganda... but we did and they turned out to be one of the most successful migrant groups in our history," Mr Farage says.

     
  74.  
    11:28: Farage speech on immigration

    "We don't want mass immigration to continue as it is... we need better controls over our borders," Mr Farage says. He claims UKIP has a common sense policy on immigration. He adds UKIP is the only party that will talk honestly about immigration, which he says is the number one issue for most voters. He claims the current policy discriminates against skilled migrants from India and other parts of the Commonwealth in favour of unskilled migrants from southern and eastern Europe.

     
  75.  
    11:28: Pic: Farage speech
    Nigel Farage
     
  76.  
    11:23: Farage speech

    Mr Farage claims net migration levels used to sit at around 30,000 a year - he said earlier that he was referring to figures from the 1950s to the late 1990s. He continues by saying there is nothing wrong with wanting to control immigration, saying "we want to do what the Australians do". He claims an influx of unskilled migrants has also meant that for many the "minimum wage has become the maximum wage".

     
  77.  
    11:23: Farage speech on immigration

    "It is perhaps no wonder that 77% of the British public want us to take back control of our borders," says Mr Farage as he makes his opening salvo in his immigration speech. He then starts to link the pressure on services including the NHS and pressure on communities to immigration too.

     
  78.  
    11:23: Today in the Commons House of Commons Parliament

    The day in the House of Commons begins in a few minutes' time, as MPs put questions to the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb. Shortly after 12.00 GMT, Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband face each other for Prime Minister's Questions.

     
  79.  
    11:21: Red-Green alliance?

    Tory MP Dominic Raab has laid into the Green party on the Conservativehome blog. He calls the party's policies dangerous and irresponsible. He also warns the Greens "may threaten Labour most. But, that wouldn't stop them forming a Red-Green alliance that draws from the most economically and socially irresponsible agenda presented by any UK party for a generation".

     
  80.  
    11:11: Guardian election poll

    The Guardian's latest election poll projects the Conservatives will win 277 seats at the general election, Labour 271, the SNP 51, the Lib Dems 25, UKIP 4, the Greens 1.

     
  81.  
    11:10: "Plebgate"

    In November former chief whip Andrew Mitchell lost his High Court libel action against News Group Newspapers over a story in the Sun in 2012 which claimed he called PC Toby Rowland a "pleb" during a row about whether he could cycle out of the main gates in Downing Street. Mr Mitchell acknowledged that he had used bad language but maintained he had not used that word. Delivering his ruling, Mr Justice Mitting said he was satisfied that the MP did say the word "pleb". PC Toby Rowland counter-sued Mr Mitchell over the claims, hence today's settlement.

     
  82.  
    11:07: "Plebgate" payout
    Andrew MItchell

    If you're a little behind the times on the "Plebgate" row or it it passed you by somehow then the BBC has a handy timeline, which should take you through it all.

     
  83.  
    10:51: Plebgate pay out

    It's been a long and tangled tale, the plebgate saga. Here's our news story on the latest development - the £80,000 pay out by Andrew Mitchell to Pc Toby Rowland. We'll be building it up as more details come in.

     
  84.  
    10:45: 'Job isn't done' BBC News Channel

    Business Minister Matthew Hancock begins his interview rather like his boss did earlier by avoiding the question raised by the IFS report about the divergence in fortunes between young and old. "It's a big moment. This is very big news," he says, hailing the positives. But he goes on to say: "The job isn't done. We're moving in the right direction." He adds that the government doesn't "care about the data" but about individual people.

     
  85.  
    @matthewchampion Matthew champion, news editor at i100

    tweets: attention residents of Thurrock: do not buy any walls today.

     
  86.  
    @David_Cameron David Cameron
    David Cameron buidling a wall

    tweets: Seeing homes being built by @barrattplc in Thurrock. 95% will be sold to first time buyers with Help to Buy mortgages

     
  87.  
    @BiteTheBallot Bite the Ballot, movement to encourage young voters

    tweets: A third of people who registered to vote on #NVRD were aged 16-24: are you registered?

     
  88.  
    10:34: HSBC tax scandal

    Yup it's true, we've checked. John Humphreys did in fact ask George Osborne the same question six times as Ed Balls has claimed. In case you missed it, it was did he [the chancellor] speak to Lord Green about the allegations that HSBC clients had evaded tax before the government appointed him as a trade minister?

     
  89.  
    Breaking News

    From the Press Association: Pc Toby Rowland, the police officer at the centre of the notorious Downing Street "Plebgate" incident, has accepted £80,000 damages in settlement of his libel action against former government chief whip Andrew Mitchell, a High Court judge was told today.

     
  90.  
    @DPJHodges Dan Hodges, commentator for the Telegraph and Total Politics

    tweets: Joking aside, if you read @Nigel_Farage Telegraph article, most significant thing is change of tone. Migrant bashing gone. And that's good.

     
  91.  
    @JGForsyth James Forsyth, from the Spectator

    tweets: Most encouraging thing for the Tories about latest YouGov is that their vote share is up to 36%, might not be stuck in the low 30s anymore

     
  92.  
    10:12: HSBC tax scandal

    Labour shadow chancellor Ed Balls has responded to Chancellor George Osborne's interview on the Today programme earlier. He accuses the chancellor of refusing to answer the same question six times. We may go back and listen to see if this is true.

    Mr Balls says: "George Osborne was asked six times whether he discussed allegations of tax evasion at HSBC with Lord Green, the bank's former chairman, and six times he refused to answer.

    "What has George Osborne got to hide? People will draw their own conclusions from his total failure to answer.

    "The chancellor also struggled to explain why, since the government received these files in May 2010, only one person has been prosecuted out of 1,100 names.

    "David Cameron and George Osborne must now come clean about their discussions with Lord Green - both while he was a Tory minister and before they appointed him."

     
  93.  
    10:08: Age discrepancy BBC News Channel

    "The slowness of this recovery seems to me to be quite unprecedented," says Jonathan Portes, from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. He's being asked about the IFS's report out today. Mr Portes also points out something we spotted too, that George Osborne avoided answering when it was put to him on the BBC News Channel earlier that people over 60 are getting richer while younger people aren't.

     
  94.  
    09:52: Immigration cap

    Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, told the Today programme a week ago that existing limits on skilled migrants were "draconian". He said the fact the government couldn't block EU migrants meant all the burden fell on those people coming from outside the EU, "and that's really damaging". "They should be able to come here freely if they are qualified and able and many of them have been students here and often have to leave rather than work in the country they have come to call home," he added.

     
  95.  
    @asabenn Asa Bennett, @HuffPostUK business reporter

    tweets: Ukip's migration cap joins the flat tax and their 2010 manifesto in the "dumped by @Nigel_Farage" list

     
  96.  
    09:42: Coming up later Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Transport minister Claire Perry and shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn join Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn throughout the programme. They'll look ahead to the election with Tim Farron from the Liberal Democrats, and UKIP MP Mark Reckless will be on to discuss his party's immigration plans. Journalist and editor of Briebart UK James Delingpole will say why he thinks obese people are putting too much of a strain on the NHS, and there will be live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions. Desktop users can watch the programme live, or later, via the Live Coverage tab above.

     
  97.  
    09:40: Existing immigration cap

    It's also probably worth pointing out that last week, the Institute of Directors (IoD) said the current cap on skilled migrants entering the UK from outside the European Union - yes there already is one - of 20,700 annually was "damaging and restrictive" to the UK economy. It called on the government to raise the limit.

    In theory, as they argue, UKIP would be able to bring net migration down very swiftly if the UK were to leave the EU as they desire. Last week, official figures showed 57% of those coming to the UK were from Europe.

     
  98.  
    @paulwaugh Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome.com

    tweets: Farage: "Our intention is to bring net migration to between 20k + 50k". From cap to target to ambition. And now an 'intention'

     
  99.  
    09:32: Salary target

    On the subject of migrants' salaries, you might be interested to know that Nigel Farage pays his wife, who was born in Germany, £27,000 a year to be his secretary. Here's the Daily Mail's story from last year about that.

     
  100.  
    09:28: 'Unskilled mass migration' BBC News Channel

    Pressed further by the BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith over his immigration policy, Nigel Farage says: "We need a degree of flexibility over what we need, and what we don't need is the continued mass migration into the UK of unskilled workers. Our intention is to bring net migration to between 20,000 and 50,000." He says the media are "obsessed by targets, let's talk about policy".

     

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