Reshuffle at-a-glance: In, out and moved about

Prime Minister David Cameron is reshuffling his top team, with details of new appointments and exits being unveiled.

William Hague (moved)
  • Was foreign secretary, now leader of the House of Commons
William Hague

Mr Hague has left his job as foreign secretary, but will remain in the cabinet as leader of the Commons before leaving Parliament at the next election. He led the Conservative Party between 1997 and 2001, and shadowed the Foreign Office brief for five years before taking the helm at the department in 2010.

Philip Hammond (moved)
  • Was defence secretary, now foreign secretary
Philip Hammond

Mr Hammond has left the Ministry of Defence to become foreign secretary. He has been defence secretary since 2011, having previously held the transport brief.

Michael Gove (moved)
  • Was education secretary, now chief whip
Michael Gove

Mr Gove has left his job as education secretary after four years. He will become Chief Whip in the House of Commons, responsible for party discipline. Downing Street said he would also have an "enhanced role in campaigning and doing broadcast media interviews".

Nicky Morgan (promoted to Cabinet)
  • Was a junior Treasury minister, now education secretary
Nicky Morgan

Mrs Morgan has been made education secretary, taking over from Mr Gove. The former lawyer has been a Treasury minister since 2013, having joined the government a year earlier. She will continue in her role as minister for women.

Liz Truss (promoted to Cabinet)
  • Was an education minister, now secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs
Liz Truss

The 38-year Ms Truss becomes secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs. An MP since 2010, Ms Truss joined the government in 2012 as an education minister.

Jeremy Wright (promoted to cabinet)
  • Was a junior justice minister, now attorney general
Jeremy Wright

The 41-year-old was first elected to Parliament in 2005, becoming a Conservative whip in opposition from 2007-2010 and then in government for two years before becoming a minister in the Ministry of Justice. He has now been promoted to cabinet as attorney general.

Michael Fallon (promoted to Cabinet)
  • Was a business and energy minister, now defence secretary
Michael Fallon

Mr Fallon, a Conservative MP since 1983, has been made defence secretary. He is regarded as a trouble-shooter who deals effectively with crises. Previously he held three jobs - as a business minister, minister of state for energy and minister for Portsmouth.

Stephen Crabb (promoted to Cabinet)
  • Was a junior Welsh Office minister, now Welsh secretary
Stephen Crabb

The MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire joins the cabinet as secretary of state for Wales. He has been a junior minister in the Welsh Office since 2012, having been first elected to Parliament in 2010.

Baroness Stowell (promoted to Cabinet)
  • Was a local government minister, now leader of the House of Lords
Baroness Stowell

The Conservative peer is to become leader of the House of Lords. A former civil servant, she worked as deputy chief of staff to William Hague when he was Conservative leader in the late 1990s. After a spell working in corporate affairs for the BBC, she was ennobled in 2011. Since then, she has served as a whip and a junior minister for local government.

Greg Clark (moved)
  • Keeps existing Cabinet Office role but gains higher education and science brief
Greg Clark

Mr Clark retains his job as minister for the constitution and cities in the Cabinet Office. But he has been given additional responsibilities as minister for science and universities.

Matthew Hancock (moved)
  • Gets more senior role in business department and takes on role of energy minister
Matthew Hancock

The MP, who is a close ally of Chancellor George Osborne, is taking on Michael Fallon's old portfolio of jobs as minister of state for energy, business and Portsmouth.

Nick Boles (moved)
  • Was planning minister, now skills and enterprise minister
Nick Boles

Nick Boles has been appointed as minister of state at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education. David Cameron said part of his brief will be equal marriage implementation.

Mike Penning (moved)
  • Was work and pensions minister, now policing and criminal justice minister
Mike Penning

Mr Penning (above) moves from the Department for Work and Pensions to a joint ministerial role in both the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.

John Hayes (moved)
  • Becomes minister of state at the Department for Transport
John Hayes

John Hayes becomes minister of state in the Department for Transport will retaining his existing responsibilities at the Cabinet Office.

Mark Harper (brought back)
  • Returns to government as minister for disabled people
Mark Harper

The MP quit his role as immigration minister earlier this year after admitting to having employed an illegal immigrant as a cleaner. He is now back as minister of state in the Department for Work and Pensions.

Claire Perry (promoted)
  • Was a government whip, now a junior transport minister
Claire Perry

The former investment banker, who became MP for Devizes in 2010, moves from the whips office to become a junior transport minister.

Anna Soubry (promoted)
  • Promoted to more senior role at Ministry of Defence
Anna Soubry

Anna Soubry, a former barrister and journalist, has been promoted to minister of state in the Ministry of Defence, having held a more junior position for the past year.

Amber Rudd (promoted)
  • Was a whip, now a junior energy minister
Amber Rudd

Amber Rudd, a former aide to George Osborne, also gets a promotion from the whips office to junior minister at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, with responsibility for energy efficiency, fuel poverty, carbon budgets and the green industry.

Priti Patel (brought in)
  • Was not previously in government, now exchequer secretary to the Treasury
Priti Patel

Priti Patel joins George Osborne's Treasury team as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, replacing David Gauke, who himself is promoted to Financial Secretary. The former public relations consultant has yet to serve in government and has rebelled in the past over the issue of an EU referendum.

Penny Mordaunt (brought in)
  • Was an unpaid ministerial aide, now a local government and communities minister
Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt joins the government as a junior minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government. The MP has served as an unpaid ministerial aide to the defence secretary for the past few years and made a splash, literally, by taking part in a reality TV show in which contestants learned how to dive.

Robert Buckland (brought in)
  • Joins government as solicitor general
Robert Buckland

Robert Buckland, the MP for Swindon South since 2010, becomes solicitor general - the second most senior law officer in the government. The barrister is one of the most pro-European voices in the party.

Andrew Murrison (moved)
  • Moved from Ministry of Defence to Northern Ireland Office
Andrew Murrison MP

The former Royal Naval medical officer and doctor leaves the Ministry of Defence and becomes a junior minister at the Northern Ireland Office.

Nick Gibb (brought back)
  • Returns to government as education minister
Nick Gibb

One of a rare breed, the so-called ministerial re-treads, who return to government after having been sacked. He was ousted as schools minister in the 2012 reshuffle. He now returns to the Department for Education.

Desmond Swayne (moved)
  • Was a whip, now an international development minister
David Cameron (left) and Desmond Swayne (right)

A former soldier and jogging partner of David Cameron, Mr Swayne moves from the whips office to a junior ministerial role at the department for international development.

Julian Brazier (brought in)
  • Joins government as defence minister
Julian Brazier

The 60-year old former soldier was briefly a ministerial aide in 1992-3 and gets his first taste of government at for more than 20 years. He has been an MP since 1987.

Brooks Newmark (brought in)
  • Joins government as junior Cabinet Office minister
Brooks Newmark

The US-born MP for Braintree joins the government for the first time. He takes over responsibility for civil society issues, such as volunteering, charities and social enterprise.

George Freeman (brought in)
  • Joins government as business and health minister
George Freeman

One of the "class of 2010" MPs to be rewarded with their first job in government. His junior ministerial role straddles the Department of Health and the Department for Business. Before entering Parliament, he had a career in the biomedical venture capital industry.

Sam Gyimah (brought in)
  • Was aide to David Cameron, now a junior education minister
Sam Gyimah

Sam Gyimah's promotion is perhaps one of the least surprising announcements in the reshuffle. For the last year, he has been a ministerial aide to David Cameron - a traditional springboard for ministerial office. He now becomes a junior minister at the Department for Education.

Alun Cairns (brought in)
  • Becomes junior minister at Wales Office
Alun Cairns

Mr Cairns has been Conservative MP for Vale of Glamorgan since 2010. He is a former banker and used to represent South Wales West in the Welsh Assembly.

Tobias Ellwood (brought in)
  • Joins government as junior Foreign Office minister
Tobias Ellwood

Mr Ellwood has worked as an aide for Liam Fox when he was defence secretary between 2010 and 2011, and was until recently the aide to Europe Minister David Lidington.

Jo Johnson (moved)
  • Moves to more senior Cabinet Office role
Jo Johnson and David Cameron

Boris Johnson's younger brother gets a promotion at the Cabinet Office, moving from unpaid parliamentary secretary to minister of state. The former journalist, who was also a whip before the reshuffle, remains as the head of the No 10 Policy Unit.

Ken Clarke (out)
  • Was minister without portfolio, has now left government
Ken Clarke

Mr Clarke, who attended cabinet as minister without portfolio, has left the government. He had held a number of top cabinet positions under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including home secretary and chancellor of the exchequer. During his 44 years in the Commons, Mr Clarke spent more than 20 years as a minister.

Owen Paterson (out)
  • Was environment secretary, has now left government
Owen Paterson

Mr Paterson will no longer be environment secretary, a post he has held since 2012 when he replaced Caroline Spelman. Prior to that, he had served in the cabinet as Northern Ireland secretary.

David Jones (out)
  • Was Welsh secretary, has now left government
David Jones Mr Jones leaves his post after just 22 months in the job

Mr Jones has been sacked as Welsh secretary, having been in the cabinet post for two years. He had previously been a more junior minister in the Wales Office.

Sir George Young (out)
  • Was chief whip, has now left government
Sir George Young

Sir George has resigned as chief whip. He was the leader of the Commons from 2010 to 2012. The 72-year-old North West Hampshire MP is one of the most experienced members of the coalition government, having held office under Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

David Willetts (out)
  • Was universities and science minister, has now left government
David Willetts

Mr Willetts, the MP for Havant who was dubbed "two brains" by colleagues, has resigned as universities minister. He served as Paymaster General under John Major. He will also step down as an MP next year.

Hugh Robertson (out)
  • Was a Foreign Office minister, has now left government
Hugh Robertson

The MP for Faversham and Mid Kent has quit as a Foreign Office minister. He previously played a key role in delivering the 2012 Olympics as sports minister between 2010 and 2013.

Greg Barker (out)
  • Was climate change minister, has now left government
Greg Barker

Mr Barker has left his job as an energy and climate change minister - a post he has held since 2010. He was one of the first MPs to support David Cameron in the 2005 Tory leadership contest.

Nick Hurd (out)
  • Was Big Society minister, has now left the government
Nick Hurd

The MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, son of former foreign secretary Lord Hurd, has quit his job as minister for civil society after four years. He leaves the government.

Alan Duncan (out)
  • Was international development minister, has now left government
Alan Duncan

Mr Duncan, one of the most high-profile gay ministers in government, has resigned as international development minister, a post he has held since 2010.

Andrew Robathan (out)
  • Was junior Northern Ireland minister, has now left government
Andrew Robathan

Mr Robathan, a former soldier, has resigned as Northern Ireland minister. He was previously a defence minister until the October 2013 reshuffle.

Damian Green (out)
  • Was policing minister, has now left government
Damian Green

Mr Green has resigned as policing minister. He had been immigration minister from 2010 to 2012.

Cabinet ministers and others staying in their jobs
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
  • Home Secretary Theresa May
  • Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt
  • Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin
  • Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers
  • International Development Secretary Justine Greening
  • Justice Secretary Chris Grayling
  • Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith
  • Culture Secretary Sajid Javid
  • Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles
  • Conservative chairman Grant Shapps
  • Employment minister Esther McVey (but will attend cabinet)
  • Minister for government policy Oliver Letwin
  • Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude
  • Culture minister Ed Vaizey (promoted to minister of state)
  • Local Government minister Brandon Lewis (promoted to minister of state)

More UK Politics stories


Politics Live

    23:56: Good night

    That's all we've got for today - join us again for live coverage of the political scene at 06:00 tomorrow. The NHS has dominated today's headlines, whether over the integration of health and social care services, or questions about when hospitals are expected to declare a "major incident". There'll be plenty more of that to come in the months ahead. Tomorrow the parties will continue to set out their stall, and we'll be bringing you the news and reaction as it happens.

    23:50: Tuition fees
    Ed Miliband speaking

    At Prospect magazine, Emran Mian wonders what exactly Labour's policy on higher education funding is.

    23:34: Lessons from Greece The Times

    David Aaronovitch, writing in Thursday's Times (behind a paywall), says: "Socialists like to think Syriza's victory will usher in a new economic order. In truth they are completely without ideas."

    23:14: Terrorism LBC

    Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has told LBC that aiding and abetting groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS - whether by Facebook support or donating funds, and including membership of the organisation - would be classified as illegal under a Green government, and "prosecuted under the full effect of the law".

    @BBCNews 23:01: Tomorrow's papers BBC News UK

    tweets: Thursday's Daily Mail: "Don't dial 999" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Mail front page
    @BBCNews 23:01: Tomorrow's papers BBC News UK

    tweets: Thursday's Telegraph: "Men must prove a woman said yes" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Telegraph front page
    @BBCNews 23:01: Tomorrow's papers BBC News UK

    tweets: Thursday's FT: "Goldman and SocGen eye peer to peer lending push" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's FT front page
    @BBCNews 23:01: Tomorrow's papers BBC News UK

    tweets: Thursday's Times: "Bank chief condemns German austerity" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Times front page
    @BBCNews 22:51: Tomorrow's papers BBC News UK

    tweets: Thursday's Guardian: "Rapists hiding tracks online, police warned" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

    Tomorrow's Guardian
    @michaelsavage 22:50: Michael Savage, chief political correspondent for The Times

    tweets: Lord Kinnock also calls for unity, warning internal splits will be far worse than the attacks of political opponents.

    @michaelsavage 22:38: Michael Savage, chief political correspondent for The Times

    tweets: In tomorrow's Times - Lord Kinnock warns Ed Miliband will receive worse treatment in this election campaign than he received in 1992.

    BBC Newsnight BBC Two, 22:30

    tweets: Coming, #newsnight speaks to the journalist who was held hostage for 10 months by so-called Islamic State

    22:29: Senior Greens LBC

    Natalie Bennett tells LBC there will "absolutely not" be a "scrap" between former party leader Caroline Lucas and herself over who appears in the TV debates. She says she expects "at the moment" that she will appear in the debates, but media and campaign appearances by the party's senior figures will be split.

    @GoodwinMJ 22:29: Matthew Goodwin, associate professor at Nottingham University

    tweets: Again look at Lab & Ukip. "Society becoming less fair" (agree)

    Lab 78%

    Ukip 75%

    LD 67%

    Con 42%

    Source: YouGov

    @BBCAllegra 22:21: Allegra Stratton, BBC Newsnight political editor

    tweets: 4/ I suspect that Brady may prefer not to join actual team, but instead to run rule over agreement at key moments.


    tweets: Chris Huhne, 2010 negotiator, tells us: "The first + foremost lesson: make sure everybody has hands dipped in blood on both sides, or all 3"

    22:15: Green policies LBC

    Green Party leader Natalie Bennett tells LBC radio that some of the party's aspirations listed on its website are not likely to be in the party's "fully-costed manifesto" - which will appear in March - but are hopes for the next few decades.

    22:07: High society

    British company Debrett's - which describes itself as "the trusted source on British social skills, etiquette and style" - has released its annual list of the 500 most influential people in Britain. Its politics section contains many familiar names, and a few notable absences.

    @BBCAllegra 22:06: Allegra Stratton, BBC Newsnight political editor

    tweets: 1/ on Newsnight: expect Tory backbench 22 cttee to have role in coalition negotiations. Not just secret ballot after.


    tweets: 2/ ideas being discussed in No 10: either chair of 22 cttee Graham Brady is in actual negotiating team, or he is consulted throughout


    tweets: 3/ Liam Fox tells us if there's a coalition: "I would have thought the parli party wd demand some sort of say in what the conditions were".

    @BBCNews 21:49: Tomorrow's papers BBC News UK

    tweets: Thursday's Independent: "Outcry over doctors' 'cash for referrals'" (via @hendopolis) #tomorrowspaperstoday

    Tomorrow's Independent front page
    21:40: Today in Parliament, 23:30 BBC Radio 4
    The Palace of Westminster at night

    Join the BBC's Today in Parliament team at 23:30 on Radio 4 for the highlights from today's action in the Palace of Westminster. On the programme: the best bits from Prime Minister's Questions; robust debate in the Commons over healthcare policy; the House of Lords talk counter-terrorism; and Northern Ireland Office ministers answer MPs.

    21:33: Counter-terror plans criticised Sean Curran Parliamentary correspondent, BBC News
    Eliza Manningham-Buller

    A former head of MI5 has criticised plans by Home Secretary Theresa May to put a programme to stop young Muslims being radicalised by extremists on a statutory footing. At the moment the Prevent programme involves community groups but the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill gives some organisations and councils legal duties.

    During a House of Lords debate on the bill, Lady Manningham-Buller, who was head of the security service at the time of the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, added her voice to criticism of the plans. A number of peers complained that the proposals would undermine freedom of speech in universities because non-violent extremists would be banned from speaking.

    Lady Manningham-Buller, a cross-bench (or independent) peer, said she understood the government's concern, but added "we have been reminded only recently that we have a right to insult and we should avoid double standards here". She said the work to stop people becoming extremists needed to be carried out with "sensitivity, proportionality and care", and she feared that putting the scheme on a statutory basis in universities would jeopardise all three.

    21:29: Newsnight preview BBC Newsnight BBC Two, 22:30

    Tune in to @BBCNewsnight tonight for more in-depth analysis of the Greek elections, as well as the latest on the hostages being held by Islamic State. The programme's political editor, Allegra Stratton, will be reporting on apparent plans for the Conservative Party to give its backbenchers a key role in any coalition talks after the election.

    21:25: NHS in 'chronic state' The Daily Telegraph

    The Telegraph's Allison Pearson thinks British politicians are unwilling to tell the truth about the NHS: "There is more chance of calling an ambulance in south Wales and having it turn up in under an hour than there is of the main parties admitting the chronic state of the NHS they claim to love so much," she says.

    21:12: Newer Labour? The Guardian

    At The Guardian, John Harris writes that the comments by two former Labour ministers on the party's current NHS policy highlight the complex relationship between the Labour Party of the Blair era and that of today.

    @patrickwintour 20:57: Patrick Wintour, political editor of The Guardian

    tweets: Milibandites & some Blairites still fuming Milburn chose NHS pledge launch day to mount attack. "Not about changing policy, but positioning"

    20:48: 'Absent' details New Statesman
    Andy Burnham

    Over at the New Statesman, Benedict Cooper takes a look at the shadow health secretary's rhetoric on healthcare, and says "key details are thunderingly absent in Andy Burnham's ten-year plan for the NHS, but his stark anti-market tones are comforting after four-and-a-half years of business talk".

    @jameschappers 20:37: James Chapman, Daily Mail political editor

    tweets: Stuff of nightmares: dead heat + only 3-way coalition viable MT "@Election4castUK Latest forecast Con 283 Lab 283 SNP 33 LD 27 DUP 8 UKIP 3"

    19:58: UKIP's rise Sky News

    Former Conservative Party treasure Lord Ashcroft is on Sky News, talking about UKIP. He says: "The UKIP phenomenon is down to the arrogance of the Conservatives and the complacency of Labour"

    19:42: Wales poll BBC Wales News

    As few as two Welsh seats could change hands at the general election in May, a new poll for BBC Wales suggests.

    The ICM survey puts Labour on 38%, as in a previous poll in September.

    The survey puts the Conservatives down two percentage points to 21%, UKIP on 13% (down one), Plaid Cymru on 12% (down one), the Lib Dems unchanged at 7% and the Green Party up from 2% in September to 6% now.

    19:38: NHS crisis guidelines Channel 4

    Channel 4 political editor Gary Gibbon says that the row about guidance to hospitals over when they call "major incidents" is leading some Labour MPs to "claim anecdotally that they think it is helping them in their constituencies" - but showing little sign of definitely helping the party nationally.

    He also says the intervention of former Labour ministers Alan Milburn and John Hutton yesterday - who argued that Ed Miliband had to go beyond simply advocating for more NHS spending to offering a programme for proper healthcare reform - was made for two reasons. One, to make sure Labour "honours the past reforms of the Labour government, honours the Blairite years".

    Secondly, he says, the intervention was "very much targeted at a future Labour leadership contest" - to ensure that Labour does not "draw the wrong conclusions from a defeat" and "just go and find a more telegenic version of Ed Miliband, and don't go for Andy Burnham".

    19:26: 'Deserve to lose' The Daily Telegraph

    The Telegraph's Dan Hodges says shadow health secretary Andy Burnham's interview with Kirsty Wark on BBC Newsnight on Tuesday night shows "why Labour deserve to lose" in May. He says that far from re-building and uniting Labour after his election as leader, Ed Miliband "has placed it into a medically induced coma following the trauma of the party's 2010 defeat".

    19:15: Awards season

    The Political Book Awards, hosted by impressionist Rory Bremner, is taking place in London this evening. Many familiar names from the green benches in the Commons, and beyond, are competing in a number of categories, from Political Book of the Year to "Practical Politics Book of the Year".

    See all the categories, and all the contenders, here.

    19:13: European finances Robert Peston Economics editor
    European Central Bank

    The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has tonight made what can only be described as a thinly-disguised attack on the German government's refusal to spend and borrow more to promote growth throughout the eurozone.

    Germany is not once mentioned by name in his speech - entitled "Fortune favours the bold" - which he gave this evening on the fringes of the eurozone, in Dublin.

    But in saying that monetary union cannot work without fiscal union - or the ability and willingness of countries with stronger public finances to support those that are struggling to grow under the burden of big debts - he is in effect saying that Germany ought to do more to support the likes of Italy, Spain and France.

    Read the rest of the story from Robert Peston here.

    19:10: NHS guidelines 'well intentioned' BBC Radio 5 live

    Diane Wake, the chief executive of Barnsley Hospital, tells BBC Radio 5live that the new guidelines on when hospitals can declare a "major incident" will only have been issued with the best of intentions. She says she is "certain that a lot of the checks on the 17 point checklist" would have already been undertaken by hospitals before declaring a major incident. She assumes that the new guidelines are "just about standardisation".

    18:57: More PMQs reaction The Spectator

    At The Spectator, Lloyd Evans sketches PMQs and focuses on the continuing controversy over the word "weaponise". He says: "This is helpful to Cameron who has turned a complete non-issue into an astonishingly useful defence."

    18:54: Lord Wigley apology 'not enough'
    Lord Wigley was forced to apologise earlier

    Gemma Doyle, shadow defence minister, has written to Plaid Cymru peer Lord Wigley after he earlier drew parallels between Britain's nuclear deterrent and Nazi death camps. "I have read your apology and I am sorry to say I don't think it is good enough," she tells him, suggesting a "direct and unreserved apology to the naval and civilian workforce" on the Clyde is necessary. Ms Doyle is happy to facilitate such a move, adding: "I would be more than happy to forward such an apology on to the union convenors and to the Naval Base Commander."

    18:49: Guardian polls analysis The Guardian

    Earlier today The Guardian offered its latest analysis of what the polls are saying about the final result on 7 May. Its projection about how many MPs each party can expect to win if the polls don't budge between now and election day (with movement on 2010 numbers in brackets) is:

    • Conservatives 273 (-33)
    • Labour 273 (+15)
    • SNP 49 (+43)
    • Lib Dems 28 (-29)
    • Ukip 5 (+5)
    • Greens 1 (--)
    • Others 21

    Critically, though, it points out there are 50 marginal seats where the result is far too close to call. "The result in these contests will often depend on how well UKIP and the Greens perform," analyst Alberto Nardelli says.

    @DUPleader 18:39: Peter Robinson, DUP leader

    tweets: 1/2) received irrational response from BBC DG re: debates. No valid reason for DUP's exclusion offered.


    tweets: 2/2) offered excuse that they couldn't invite 1 NI party without the others. Ignores fact that 3 parties currently invited stand in NI.

    18:38: Mansion tax Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News
    Jim Murphy

    Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has defended his pledge to use Labour's proposed mansion tax - which would raise most money from properties in the south east of England - to fund Scottish nurses. It follows an opinion poll by YouGov in London's Evening Standard which suggests that his remarks may have damaged his own party's support in London.

    It was one of Mr Murphy's first policy announcements. Responding to the survey Mr Murphy said: "I'm the leader of the Scottish Labour party and I do what Scotland wants. I'm not standing for election in London, I'm doing what's right for Scotland."

    @markdevenport 18:35: Mark Devenport, BBC NI political editor

    tweets: Sinn Fein is describing Sun story on talks with Labour as "lazy, fantasy journalism" and repeating it won't take any seats in the Commons

    18:30: Unprecedented ambulance calls BBC Radio 5 live

    Tracy Myhill, the interim chief executive at the Welsh Ambulance Service, tells BBC Radio 5Live that December was a record in terms of high demand. She says there were more than 40,000 calls and within that an unpredicted 25% increase in "red one" calls, which involve the sickest patients. She says there are complex reasons as to why response times for urgent ambulance calls in Wales are the worst on record. The chief executive adds that solutions could be found within the service itself by looking at staff rotas, for example. However, she says the ambulance service is part of a wider care system and there are issues within it that need to be addressed.

    @TimReidBBC 18:25: Tim Reid, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has said that Labour "does not want, expect or need" to have deals with any other parties post #ge2015

    18:15: Integrated health care BBC News Channel
    NHS logo

    BBC social affairs correspondent Alison Holt says the "pressure that people are feeling at every level" of the health and social care system shows "no sign of easing up" as the UK's population ages. She says the difficulties arising are "not going away quickly" and are "going to be there as a problem for whomever forms the next government".

    She adds that "all the political parties are saying that the route out of this is better integration of health and social care - the arguments are going to lie in how each achieve that".

    18:10: Integrated health care BBC News Channel

    Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb tells BBC News: "All parties need to come together this year in a non-partisan review of both NHS and care budgets, engaging the public about how we engage the system, how we bring the system together."

    @schofieldkevin 18:02: Kevin Schofield, chief political correspondent of The Sun

    tweets: Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty on whether senior Lab MPs "casually" ask for their support: "More than casually, they bring it up quite bluntly."

    18:01: Fit MPs

    MPs who like to stay in shape are sure to welcome the news that Parliament's gym has been re-opened, by Commons Speaker John Bercow. Anyone that doesn't want to see Labour MP Jack Straw and Mr Bercow riding exercise bikes should not look at lobby journalist Tony Grew's tweet from the scene.

    17:52: TV debates Ben Wright Political correspondent, BBC News

    Here's the BBC's Ben Wright for Radio 4 - looking at today's reaction to the ongoing debates row.

    The TV debate negotiations have run into another hurdle. After David Cameron said he would take part in debates only if the Green Party was included too the broadcasters proposed a new line-up: two debates featuring the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. But parties in Northern Ireland were furious at their exclusion - and yesterday David Cameron gave them his support, saying a "deal could be done" if they were involved too. Last week Peter Robinson, the leader of the DUP - the largest Northern Ireland Party with eight MPs at Westminster - wrote to the BBC and ITV asking them to justify their position. Now the director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, has replied to the DUP rejecting their demand to be included in the debates. It is understood Lord Hall said the decision complied with the BBC's obligations of impartiality. The DUP is considering taking legal action, as is Sinn Fein. The debate about debates seems a long way from concluding.

    17:48: The Milibands The Independent
    Ed and David Miliband

    Reflecting on Ed Miliband's standing in Labour, The Independent's John Rentoul posts some statistics to remind colleagues - and readers - that "most Labour MPs and most Labour Party members are Blairites, in that they voted for David Miliband rather than for his brother". Ed Miliband won the bloc of votes from union members by some margin.

    @tom_watson 17:40: Labour MP Tom Watson

    tweets: Great afternoon with @SharonStevenage and her lovely team. 99 days #countdown

    17:37: NHS guidelines BBC Radio 5 live

    Roy Lilley, a former NHS Trust chairman, tells 5live the criteria for declaring a major incident had been very tight anyway and it was highly unusual for hospitals to take this step. He said that where this criteria has been made more difficult to meet, it exposes patients to an enhanced risk of being taken into a hospital that is full and perhaps not as safe as it could be. It also "places more difficulties with the ambulance services who are queuing up outside and can not unload their patients". Additionally, it puts "more pressure on social services who are already trying to find safe places to take particularly the elderly and frail".

    17:33: On 'weaponising' the NHS The Mirror

    Kevin Maguire, the associate editor of the Daily Mirror, takes David Cameron to task for his outrage over the idea of "weaponising" the NHS: "The National Health Service IS is a huge political issue. David Cameron knew that when he claimed 10 years ago he wanted to be defined by the letters NHS."

    17:30: Munt on fracking resignation BBC Radio 4
    Lib Dem MP Tessa Munt

    Tessa Munt, the Liberal Democrat MP who quit her government job as an aide to business secretary Vince Cable over fracking, has been explaining why she opposes her colleagues' views. She says her mind was made up when she found out a major insurer in her constituency will not insure farmers and others against the impact of fracking. "If farmers have no choice about the fact this is going to happen under their land," she told BBC Radio 4's PM programme, "I think it's utterly unfair they're then not able to insure themselves against the impact of something somebody else is doing under their land without their say so."

    17:25: TV debates BBC News Channel

    BBC chief political correspondent Vicki Young sums up the current feeling on potential TV election debates by saying that the broadcasters' latest offer has left "all sorts of parties unhappy about where we are".

    While the Greens are happy to be in the debates, the Liberal Democrats are upset they have been seemingly relegated to minor party status, and Labour is worried about the presence of the SNP. Today, the DUP learned from BBC Director-General Tony Hall that it will not be invited to take part. Many parties, she adds, are unhappy the broadcasters appear to have "bent over backward" to accommodate David Cameron's conditions.

    17:24: Health outcomes BBC News Channel

    More from Frank Field. He says the growth in health spending under the last Labour government was not rewarded with much better treatment. Although he praised individual members of the NHS for their work, Mr Field said that "collectively they've not delivered on the new money with increased outcomes, with more of us being treated".

    17:19: NHS funding BBC News Channel
    Frank Field

    Frank Field, the Labour MP for Birkenhead, tells the BBC's Gavin Esler that the NHS is in serious need of more money for health and social care, and says electoral debates over the NHS must focus on providing answers to two difficult questions: "How do we get the new money? And how do we spend the new money in driving through reforms?"

    17:18: 'Politics down the pub'
    Chloe Smith's surgery flyer

    Chloe Smith, the Tory MP who won her Norwich North seat in a 2009 by-election, has taken to Twitter to advertise a 'politics in the pub' surgery where constituents can seek her help. The move echoes Nigel Farage's pub-based politics, but - unless there's a typo on her flyer - it seems she's planning on an all-nighter to win over voters...

    17:09: Archive treat No 98: Robin Day v Enoch Powell Alex Hunt Politics editor, BBC News Online
    Robin Day interviewing Enoch Powell

    Robin Day crosses swords with Enoch Powell with counting under way ahead of the Conservative victory in the general election of 1970, questioning him on his links with the political left and his relationship with his party leader and new Prime Minister Edward Heath.

    Each day from now until 7 May we'll be bringing you a classic election clip from the BBC archives. We've already selected a fair few but do feel free to suggest some via email at or via Twitter @bbcpolitics

    17:08: NHS row Chris Mason Political correspondent, BBC News

    BBC political correspondent Chris Mason reports on the NHS row that has dominated the political news today.

    17:07: TV debates: What the bookies think
    David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown in the 2010 leaders' debates

    Today's fresh question-marks over the proposed TV debates aren't bothering William Hill, which has cut the odds it's offering on David Cameron not participating from 11/4 to 12/5. Spokesman Graham Sharpe says: "There is a widespread feeling that Mr Cameron would really like to find a way of avoiding taking part in the tv debates as he has the most to lose if he does so, but the humiliation of potentially being represented by an empty chair is likely to result in him ultimately taking part."

    16:57: Care spending down BBC Radio 5 live

    The BBC'S Nick Triggle tells 5Live that despite government funding cuts councils on average are spending proportionally more and more of their budgets on care. However, they are struggling to keep up with an ageing population. According to BBC analysis of official figures, the average spend per person in England dropped from 12-hundred pounds in 2003 - down to around 950 pounds ten years later- that's a fall of 20 per cent.

    @BBCNormanS Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor

    tweets: Scottish Govt announce halt to fracking in Scotland pending consultation and public health assessment

    16:56: Lessons from Greece
    Alexis Tsipras

    Carl Packman at the blog Left Foot Forward is the latest commentator to discuss "what the British left can learn from Greece", after the election victory of Syriza this week.

    16:51: Afternoon lobby briefing Ben Wright Political correspondent, BBC News

    The Prime Minister's spokesman updated journalists in parliament earlier this afternoon:

    • He made clear that, to the best of his knowledge, no minister is looking at plans to move Trident from Scotland to Wales, as had been reported earlier
    • He said Britain would not be changing its position on negotiating with terrorists, after Jordan suggested it would be prepared to consider swapping an Islamic State-held hostage with a terrorist
    • And on Sinn Fein, which is reportedly being courted by Labour to help prop up a potential Ed Miliband government, he said David Cameron had not changed his view on whether Sinn Fein should take its Commons seats.
    @AndrewCooper__ Conservative peer and pollster Andrew Cooper

    tweets: There is no credible rationale for including Plaid Cymru in TV debates and not DUP: 3 MPs vs 8 MPs & 168,216 votes in 2010 vs. 165,394 votes

    16:50: Minimum wage
    Stuart Broad

    Yesterday England cricketer Stuart Broad faced criticism for an allegedly offensive tweet he posted about the minimum wage. The sportsman's tweet read: "I've heard if you earn minimum wage in England you're in the top 10% earners in the World. #stay #humble".

    Today, Ryan Bourne from free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs argues "that the reason why so many people are so annoyed is that this factual claim simply undermines the egalitarian arguments that the rich are the cause of our woes".

    But Zoe Williams, writing in The Guardian, says it shows "Broad has just swallowed the vindictive rhetoric on the feckless poor."

    16:45: Welfare cuts

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank has delivered its verdict on the coalition's welfare reforms. Despite all the fuss over universal credit, Andrew Hood and David Phillips argue, delayed implementation means the changes have been "an evolution of the system rather than a revolution". Real terms benefit spending in 2015 is exactly the same as in 2010, at £220 billion, and is only seven per cent lower than it otherwise would have been. What's to blame for this? "An ageing population, but also weak wage growth and rising private rents," they say.

    16:33: TV debates BBC News Channel

    An update from Norman Smith on the TV debates saga - BBC director general Lord Hall has written to the Democratic Unionist Party rejecting their request to be included. DUP sources have reacted with anger to the decision. They say they believe it is "very difficult to justify" the BBC's decision and are considering taking legal action over the debates. A judicial review could snarl up any deal being reached, Norman Smith warns.

    16:27: Election winners
    Pound coins has a guide to betting on the general election, with some advice, cautionary tales, and a few striking statistics: "The two biggest bookmakers, William Hill and Ladbrokes, both had a turnover of more than £3m in the Scottish referendum."

    16:27: PMQs reaction Guido Fawkes

    Simon Carr at the Guido Fawkes blog gives his verdict on today's Prime Minister's Questions - with harsh words for David Cameron, but harsher ones for Ed Miliband.

    16:26: NHS funding House of Commons Parliament

    MPs have voted against Labour's opposition amendment criticising the government's funding of the NHS. The government wins with 298 votes - a majority of 70 over the opposition's 228 MPs. The Commons swiftly moves on to its next debate - on sustainable development goals.

    16:24: PMQs reaction

    Ed Miliband's attempt to "weaponise" the NHS, as David Cameron puts it, prompts a tongue-in-cheek analysis from's Adam Bienkov of the Labour leader's performance in wielding the weapon. "Miliband was visibly angry, aggressive and yet somehow totally unintimidating as he waved his new-found weapon around," he writes. "Perhaps he'd left the safety on, perhaps it was just a replica, but either way Cameron never seemed in the slightest danger of actually being hit."

    @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Bus workers in London are to stage three fresh 24-hour strikes next month in a dispute over pay, said the Unite union.

    16:23: NHS funding House of Commons Parliament
    Health minister Jane Ellison

    The debate over the NHS didn't finish when Ed Miliband sat down in PMQs - in fact in the Commons it was only just starting, as MPs have spent the afternoon debating the government's health spending. Shadow minister Liz Kendall, summing up, says the coalition has been busy "wasting three years and £3bn of taxpayers' money". Jane Ellison, the Conservative health minister, says NHS funding has risen every year since 2010. She tells the Commons: "Tough decisions were taken at the beginning of this parliament to protect the NHS budget, against the advice of the Labour Party."

    16:22: Shapps on the homeless LBC

    Conservative chairman Grant Shapps was also criticised by a caller, the chairman of a homeless charity, over plans to remove jobseeker's allowance from 18 to 21-year-olds. Mr Shapps, a former housing minister, says the reason people end up on the streets is "never as black and white" as people assume. He also says he would not give cash to a homeless person because he would not know how it would be spent, saying it is better to "bring them help".

    16:21: Labour health policy ITN

    ITV political editor Tom Bradby tweets, alongside a video of Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham on BBC Newsnight last night: "I usually think of Andy Burnham as a smart guy, but after listening to this I have no idea what Labour policy is."

    16:19: New Tory poster
    Conservative election poster showing Miliband, Salmond and Adams

    The Conservatives have released their latest campaign poster, which will be appearing on billboards shortly. It's a variation on a theme: having warned of the possibility of a Labour-SNP coalition, the Tories have now picked up on a Sinn Fein MP's claim that his party is being pursued by Labour. The Conservative poster adds Gerry Adams' face and the Sun's headline - but Labour insists their story is untrue. "We are working towards a Labour majority government and only towards a Labour majority government," a spokesman said.

    16:10: Bomb threat BBC News UK
    Daithí McKay

    The BBC has learned that police in Northern Ireland are investigating reports that a bomb has been left at the home of Sinn Féin's North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay.

    An anonymous caller contacted the MLA's Dunloy office claiming a device had been left at the family home.

    16:00: Defending PMQs LBC
    Grant Shapps

    Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has been defending Prime Minister's Questions during a phone-in on LBC radio. Host Shelagh Fogarty said the exchanges on the NHS were the worst she could remember. "I'm not going to pretend it's the pinnacle of political debate," Mr Shapps replied. But he pointed to the viewing figures it attracts and added that he had a five-year waiting list of constituents wanting to come and watch. "It keeps the prime minister on his or her toes," he added.

    15:52: What is a major incident?

    David Cameron and Ed Miliband have clashed in the Commons over the NHS, amid a row about guidance to hospitals over when they can call a "major incident". So what exactly is a major incident?

    • An internal major incident is activated when a trust is under significant pressure that is internal to the organisation - and is not the result of an external event.
    • It is a business continuity arrangement, where a decision is taken to reduce some services to support higher priority ones.
    • A major incident is a significant incident or emergency that cannot be managed within routine service arrangements.
    • It requires the implementation of special procedures and involves one or more of the emergency services, the NHS or a local authority.

    Source: NHS England - London region

    15:42: 'Weaponising' policy
    George Osborne

    Amid continuing Conservative criticism of Ed Miliband for his suggestion he would "weaponise" the NHS, Paul Waugh at PoliticsHome reports that Chancellor George Osborne apparently previously used the word "weaponise" in a political context.

    15:36: The SNP halts fracking

    Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing announces a moratorium on planning consent for all fracking north of the border. He's targeting the Tories rather than Labour, calling the Conservatives' plan to remove landowners' right to object to shale gas extraction "a disgrace". By contrast, he says, the Scottish government is taking a "responsible, cautious and evidence-based approach".

    Fracking in Balcombe, southern England
    @ChrisMasonBBC Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Scotland's First Minister says she'd find it "strange" if Labour refused to deal with the SNP following the election, rpts @TimReidBBC


    tweets: It follows the shadow Chancellor Ed Balls remarks yesterday in which he appeared to rule out a coalition with the Scottish nationalists.

    @robindbrant Robin Brant, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: .@UKIP give a taster of what's to come in #ge2015 manifesto with list of 100 things they'd do - link

    15:09: Afghanistan service Peter Hunt Royal correspondent, BBC News
    The Queen at the Cenotaph memorial service

    The BBC's Peter Hunt tweets that Prince Charles - and not the Queen - will attend a service in March commemorating the end of combat operations in Afghanistan. The Queen, in 2009, attended a service marking the end of combat operations in Iraq.

    Earlier today in the House of Commons, David Cameron announced the service would take place on 13 March.

    15:01: Consensus collapsing? The Guardian

    George Monbiot writes in The Guardian that the rise of more left-wing parties across Europe - such as Syriza and the Scottish National Party - heralds the "sudden death of the neoliberal consensus". He claims: "If people voted for what they wanted, the Greens would be the party of government."

    Natalie Bennett and Green Party supporters
    14:51: Tim Reid Political correspondent, BBC News

    Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, speaking before the apology, described Lord Wigley's remarks - comparing the Trident base on the Clyde to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz - as "offensive". Mr Carmichael said the Welsh nationalist peer's comments were offensive to those who died and to those who worked at the Faslane naval base.

    14:43: PMQs reaction The Spectator

    The Spectator's political editor James Forsyth says that, with little of substance said between the party leaders, "at the end of PMQs, politics was in the same place as it was at the start" - and this suits David Cameron and the Conservatives, who are "now convinced that events are moving their way".

    14:35: If I were PM... The Independent
    10 Downing Street

    The Independent is counting down the days to the general election by inviting one contributor every day to describe what he or she would do as prime minister. Political commentator John Rentoul was first up yesterday, saying he'd be like "a free-market version of Natalie Bennett".

    Today it's the turn of Frances Crook, the chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

    14:31: House of Commons Parliament

    Over in the House of Commons, the debate on government spending on the NHS is - quite predictably - proving to be a tetchy session. Health minister Dr Daniel Poulter is batting for the government, but there are lots of shouts being directed at him from sedentary positions on the Labour benches.

    House of Commons wide shot
    14:25: Election battlegrounds The Daily Telegraph
    David Cameron and Ed Miliband

    Over at The Telegraph, James Kirkup provides a brief summary of the issues set to dominate the election - from the NHS and the economy to housing and "Dave vs Ed".

    14:22: Auschwitz comments

    Comments made by Ex-Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley (pictured) comparing the Trident base in Scotland to Auschwitz concentration camp are branded "crass" and "offensive" by Conservative former Wales Secretary, David Jones. Mr Jones, Clwyd West MP, says it is right the peer apologised, albeit in a "mealy-mouthed" way. He says it was "not appropriate at any time" to use Auschwitz to make political points, "but to say it at Holocaust memorial time is even worse".

    Ex-Plaid Cymru leader Lord Wigley
    @TimReidBBC Tim Reid, BBC political correspondent

    tweets: Nicola Sturgeon says Europe at heart of SNP election campaign - party will seek future vote that EU exit only poss if all 4 nations agree

    14:14: PMQs reaction The Mirror

    At the Mirror online, Sunday People political editor Nigel Nelson sketches a frustrating bout between David Cameron and Ed Miliband: "The PM has adopted a curious habit for these sessions of late. Whatever the Labour leader asks, Mr Cameron answers an entirely different question."

    14:08: NHS major incidents BBC News Channel

    Commenting on the new guidelines given in the West Midlands, former NHS Trust chairman Roy Lilley says they are "sensible but... very tough". He says it is clear the timing is to do with the forthcoming general election "because the more hospitals that go in to declaring a major emergency the more embarrassing it gets for the government". But he says it puts hospitals in a "very difficult place" as the harder it becomes to declare a major incident, the greater the "risk" in delivering services.

    13:58: PMQs reaction

    Something about today's PMQs seems to have got a lot of commentators rather frustrated. Mark Ferguson of the LabourList blog tweets: "I hate having to watch PMQs. Worst part of the job. Writing about this turgid nonsense is like drowning in nonsense." Mehdi Hasan, the Huffington Post UK's political director, is just as desperate in his tweet: "Completely pointless and childish #pmqs today. Seems to get worse each week. British politics at its most dire and unappealing."

    13:56: Lord Wigley's statement Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Lord Wigley has apologised for his remarks about Auschwitz. He said he was sorry if his remarks were open to misinterpretation. In a statement he said: "I am certainly sorry if my remarks were open to any misinterpretation and I apologise for any offence that has been caused. The point I was trying to make was that you can't have jobs at any cost and I reiterate that."

    13:55: Apology for Auschwitz comments

    Plaid Cymru peer Lord Wigley has apologised for "any offence caused" after he compared the effects of a Trident submarine base to a Nazi death camp. Here's our story about his original comments which came on BBC Radio 4's World at One.

    13:53: NHS strike in N Ireland

    A strike by NHS workers in Northern Ireland, including ambulance staff, is to go ahead tomorrow after the "failure" to match a pay offer in England, the GMB union has said.

    13:48: TV debates The World at One BBC Radio 4

    Turning to the TV election debates, Lib Dem minister Simon Hughes predicts that they probably won't go ahead - but tells the World at One that the Lib Dems want them to. He says the situation has shifted from the initial proposition - which didn't allow the Lib Dems to put their case "equally" as a party of government - to a position where there are so many prospective players "it becomes a very difficult place". He adds that the Tories and Labour are now saying they're not happy unless the Northern Ireland parties are involved - but questions whether including a further three or four parties is realistic. "Honest judgement, money on it, I think probably they won't but we would like them to as long as there is fair treatment for us and others."

    13:40: PMQs verdict New Statesman

    Over at the New Statesman, George Eaton judges David Cameron's "chutzpah" to have carried him over the line in this week's PMQs. "The session descended into one of the ugliest encounters yet between the two men," he writes, before notching up yet another defeat for Ed Miliband: "Most voters will notice Miliband's equivocation and the rhetorical exaggerations that Cameron provokes... the PM's ruthless form was testimony to his increasing confidence."



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