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  1. The number of people out of work in the UK fell by 97,000 to 1.86 million in the three months to December, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said
  2. David Cameron addressed employees at Rolls Royce in Sussex and said unemployment figures show that "more people are in work than ever before"
  3. But Labour said the figures also showed that youth unemployment had risen
  4. The number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK has risen by 15% year-on-year, ONS figures showed
  5. Lord Kinnock said Labour's planned mansion tax would cost the wealthy no more than an expensive lunch
  6. There are 78 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Nick Eardley and Tim Fenton

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Goodnight

    That's it for another day of Politics Live, folks. Today, we've had statistics showing UK unemployment falling to 1.86 million, new figures showing the number of Bulgarians and Romanians working in the UK and a former Labour leader saying the "mansion tax" would cost the wealthy no more than an expensive lunch. Tomorrow, details of party donations for the final quarter of 2014 will be published. We'll bring you all the details, plus everything else you need to know from the world of politics, from tomorrow morning. See you then.

  2. Independent front page

    Independent front page

    Tomorrow's Independent runs with the front page headline: "No 10 'systemically negligent' with national security secrets"

  3. NME 'honours' Nigel Farage

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage was among the winners at tonight's annual NME awards ceremony. Mr Farage was named Villain of the Year, beating Bono, David Cameron, Harry Styles, Russell Brand and Taylor Swift to the title. Hero of the Year went to Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys. More here.

  4. Daily Mail front page

    Daily Mail
  5. The Scotsman front page

    The Scotsman
  6. What future for FPTP?


    Could first-past-the-post face a fresh challenge after the election as more parties compete seriously for votes? Newsnight has been looking at the issue tonight. Former cabinet secretary Lord O'Donnell says there has been a long-term trend showing decline in support for the two main parties. Eventually, that could lead to more questions over the voting system being thrown up. "We will then end up with all sorts of parties where the relationship between the percentage of votes received and the percentage of seats they get won't be very proportionate," he says. "I think that will raise some legitimacy questions."

  7. The Times front page

    The Times

    The Times front page runs with the headline: "Stamp out sick-note culture, GPs told"

  8. Newsnight


    Tweets: Telegraph not only offender, many other media where lines between advertorial and editorial are blurred, claims media analyst Claire Enders

  9. Daily Record front page

    Daily Record

    The Daily Record front page focuses on its poll on Scottish voting intentions, saying the SNP is "in line to win dozens of seats as new Scottish leader Jim [Murphy] fails to halt surge"

  10. The House

    Precious Lewis

    Newsnight is also running the first of its The House packages tonight, featuring families talking about politics and the issues dominating the general election. The first to feature is Precious Lewis and her family discussing the merits of voting. Her daughter admits to not knowing who any of the party leaders are. You can watch the programme in our live coverage tab on desktop.

  11. Editorial v commercial content

    Newsnight spoke to journalists from other publications about pressure from advertisers. Emma Tucker, deputy editor of The Times, said: "To the absolute credit of our commercial department they never ever try to put pressure on us in that way. Because I think they understand just as we understand that it's in nobody's interests to cross that wall." HuffingtonPost UK editor Stephen Hull said: "We always have a church and state arrangement. So editors and advertisers and the commercial team are always very separate. My editors are never asked to write commercial content. I wouldn't accept it and I wouldn't expect it from our commercial department."

  12. The Telegraph claims

    Newsnight is looking at the relationship between the editorial and commercial arms of the Telegraph newspaper following Peter Oborne's resignation yesterday. Desktop users can watch the programme on the live coverage tab.

  13. The Sun newspaper


    tweets: YouGov/Sun poll tonight - Labour lead by two: CON 32%, LAB 34%, LD 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 6%

  14. Guardian front page


    The Guardian splashes on Ukraine. On its front page wing it has a story about former prime minister Tony Blair agreeing a deal to advise Serbia.

  15. Telegraph front page

    The Telegraph

    The Telegraph front page leads on comments by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon about the Ukraine ceasefire. Its headline reads: Putin will target the Baltic next, says Fallon

  16. Financial Times front page

    FT front page

    Tomorrow's Financial Times splashes on prosecutors in Switzerland launching a "historic raid" on HSBC over tax claims.

  17. SNP on Survation poll

    SNP MP Angus Robertson is quick to respond to tonight's Survation/Daily Record poll on Scottish general election voting intentions. He says: "This is another excellent poll for the SNP showing that our strong lead over Labour is continuing - but we are taking absolutely nothing for granted, and are working hard for every vote and every seat in May. Labour's loss of support under the gaffe-prone leadership of Jim Murphy is now so stark that on these figures they would actually win fewer seats at the next Scottish Parliament election than they did under Iain Gray - while the SNP would build on our record result in 2011."

  18. SNP lead edges back

    A new poll for the Daily Record in Scotland suggests a very small recovery for Labour following the appointment of Jim Murphy as leader. The Survation poll of Scottish voters suggests the SNP lead over Labour has fallen slightly. The SNP are down 1% on 45%. Labour is up 1% at 28%. If these figures were reproduced on polling day, Survation says Labour would lose 21 of their Scottish seats to the SNP and the Liberal Democrats would lose 9. More details here.

  19. Jim Murphy lays out economic plans

    Jim Murphy

    Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy says growing inequality is the "biggest moral, social and economic challenge" facing Scotland. In a speech in Edinburgh tonight, Mr Murphy said a radical approach was required but promised not to increase taxes on the "mainstream middle classes". He promised extra spending on education and the NHS and said cash would come from the annual tax on properties worth more than £2m, a 50p top rate tax on incomes of £150,000 and a tax on bankers' bonuses.

  20. Oborne speak to the Guardian

    The Guardian

    Peter Oborne has been interviewed by the Guardian about his decision to quit The Telegraph. He tells the former that he had "huge reservations" about quitting the latter, but says he felt a sense of relief after his letter criticising practices at The Telegraph was posted online. He says: "I was worried about giving ammunition to rivals. I failed to press it two or three times. But I did. And after a while, I felt relief. Because then the die was cast." More here.

  21. UK Prime Minster David Cameron


    tweets: Record levels of female employment - 14.47 million women in work #GetBritainWorking

    Female employment figures from DWP
  22. Government concedes rights breach

    Policies on the handling of communications between lawyers and clients have not fully met the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights, according to a statement issued by the Government today. More details here.

  23. Spread bet millionaire predicts big gains for UKIP

    Channel 4

    UKIP "might easily" get into the teens in terms of seats, according to spread betting tycoon Stuart Wheeler. Mr Wheeler told Channel 4 News that, whatever the result, he very much doubted party leader Nigel Farage would accept a role in government. He described current polls as "very, very swingy." It was earlier announced Mr Wheeler had made a £100,000 donation to UKIP's campaign funds.

  24. Poll tracker

    Over the next few weeks, we'll bring you the latest polling data when it is published - including tonight's Survation poll. You can also see how the fortunes of the parties have changed by looking at our poll tracker.

  25. Mike Smithson, polling analyst


    tweets: New Survation Scottish poll for D Record due at 10pm. Last month SNP 20% ahead. What will tonight bring?

  26. Further devolution negotiations?

    The SNP could use any post-election talks aimed at forming a new Westminster government to win enhanced powers for Holyrood, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested. Draft clauses that will form the basis of a new devolution Bill have already been set out. But Ms Sturgeon told MSPs there may be "further negotiation that further refines" these following May's general election. More on our Scotland Live page.

  27. Lord Ashcroft, Conservative peer and pollster


    tweets: My next constituency polls will be released tomorrow at 11am. Sign up at Lord Ashcroft Polls to get results by email.

  28. Allegra Stratton, Newsnight political editor


    tweets: Later, we launch Newsnight's kitchen cabinet: "This House believes..." 3 families followed, over dinner, deciding how to vote. It's a treat.

  29. Survation, polling firm


    tweets: **POLL ALERT** 77 days until the General Election - New Scottish Westminster and Holyrood voting intention for @Daily_Record coming at 10pm

  30. Still much to play for on the economy

    Ben Wright, BBC political correspondent

    Despite the improving state of the economy - highlighted again today by better unemployment figures - the Tories will try to avoid sounding triumphant, says BBC political correspondent Ben Wright. "The Tories do not want voters to think the job is done and argue only a vigorous economy can protect the public services Labour polls well on," he writes.

  31. Grant Shapps, Conservative chairman and MP


    tweets: Now down at 5.6% UK unemployment is nearly half that of France. Yet Lab want to replicate the French economy here!

    Conservative poster
  32. 'Woolly ideas'

    A Conservative spokesman has also responded to Michael Dugher's comments on public control of the railways. The spokesman said: "These woolly ideas would create chaos on infrastructure that is so vital to passengers and our economy. As part of our long-term economic plan we are investing a record £38 billion in our railways. Labour are yet to set out how this funding would be affected by their intention to be both player and referee."

  33. 'Warped narrative' of violent extremists

    Theresa May

    Theresa May has highlighted the need to counter the "warped narrative" of violent extremists at a summit in Washington DC. Mrs May was speaking at a conference on tackling violent extremism called by Barack Obama in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Condemning recent "shocking" attacks she said they underscored the fact that extremism in a "global problem". The home secretary added: "Terrorists and extremists use a range of methods, including social media, to promote their twisted ideology and we need to be equally able to counter and defeat their warped narrative. Coming together at events such as this can only help inform our ongoing work, including the development of our new extremism strategy to confront and defeat extremism in all its forms."

  34. 'Government plays a major role in rail'

    Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group, representing rail operators and Network Rail, has responded to comments made by Michael Dugher, the shadow transport secretary, earlier. Mr Dugher said Labour will introduce "more public control" of the railways if elected in May. Mr Roberts says: "Government plays a major role in rail through investment and setting out what it expects Network Rail and train companies to deliver. We will continue to work with government, passenger bodies, suppliers and other key stakeholders in delivering a better deal for passengers and taxpayers."

  35. Six O'clock News

    Tonight's BBC Six O'clock News leads with the latest unemployment figures. Desktop users can watch the programme using the Live Coverage tab above.

  36. McVey declaration "a mistake"

    The Independent

    Esther McVey

    Conservative MP Esther McVey's admission she would like to be prime minister was a mistake, according to the Independent's political columnist, Steve Richards. Ms McVey revealed her ambition on today's Loose Women programme on ITV. Mr Richards told Radio 4's PM programme that "she was being honest and making a terrible mistake...If you display obvious, naked ambition, you never reach the goal you declare you want to reach."

  37. Conservative Home on unemployment figures

    Conservative Home

    On Conservative Home, Harry Phibbs has been considering the implications of today's unemployment figures. He writes: "It should help the Conservatives, of course. But some voters may feel that it shows we can afford to ease up on the "toughness" of the Conservatives and have some "tenderness" from a Labour Government." More here.

    Do you agree with the comments above? Send us your views on this, or any other subject featured on the Live Page, using the Get Involved tab on desktop. Mobile users can email text 61124

  38. Ed Miliband, Labour leader


    tweets: I'm proud to support Children's Mental Health Week. We must end the scandal of the neglect of child mental health #ChildrensMHW

  39. PM a fan of Church's shoes

    David Cameron

    The prime minister has revealed he is a fan of Church's - the upmarket shoemaker where a pair of shoes can cost more than £400. Speaking to BBC Radio Northampton, David Cameron was asked where he bought his shoes. He said: "I've bought pairs of Clarks in the past. I've bought all sorts of different pairs of shoes. I can't quite remember where." Pressed on whether he had any from Northamptonshire - famous for its shoemaking - the PM added: "Church's is obviously the big business. I have had Church's shoes in the past. I'm trying to think whether I've got some at the moment. I think I'd better make a resolution here on the radio show to go out and buy a pair of Church's."

  40. Kinnock on mansion tax

    More on former Labour leader Neil Kinnock's comments on the 'mansion tax'. Speaking to the Financial Times, he says the proposed tax on expensive properties in the UK would cost the wealthy no more than a good lunch. "For the people who are asset-rich and very prosperous, a couple of hundred quid a month isn't going to make a difference. They would spend that on lunch," he says. More here.

  41. Opinion polls

    What do opinion polls tells us and what impact do they have on political debate? David Cowling, editor of the BBC political research unit, has been exploring their increasing role and what we know ahead of the election. More here.

  42. Farage challenged on immigration

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage should apologise for comments he made about the number of Romanians and Bulgarians who could move to the UK once temporary controls were lifted Peter Wilding, director of the pro-EU think-tank British Influence, has said. Mr Wilding says a new report from the ONS shows the net rise by the end of last year was 22,000. He said: "Nigel Farage said 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians would come, 22,000 showed up. There's such a thing as getting it wrong but to get it wrong by a factor of 1318 is almost comical."

  43. 'Double dose of good news'

    David Cameron

    Prime Minister David Cameron has been answering journalists' questions about today's employment figures. He says it is encouraging that, if you take the year as a whole, "every region in our country has seen employment growth". The prime minister says a combination of the "lowest inflation on record" and "highest employment rate on record" provide a "double dose of good news". He claims a Labour Government would put them at risk.

  44. Oborne claims assessed

    Media Standards Trust Research Fellow Dr Gordon Ramsay assesses the evidence for Peter Oborne's attack on the Telegraph.

  45. Jim Pickard, chief political correspondent for the Financial Times


    tweets: Important to remember that £250 a month mansion tax is only the first rung (£2m to £3m). Average is £1000 a month so many will be higher.

  46. Ladbrokes Politics


    Tweets: Esther McVey is 50/1 to be next Tory Leader.

  47. Giles Fraser in bishops' letter

    The Guardian

    Over on the Guardian, Giles Fraser has been exploring the controversy surrounding the bishops' letter yesterday, in which they raise questions over the UK's political culture. Dr Fraser, who is priest-in-charge at St Mary's Newington in south London, writes that the letter reflects "widespread dissatisfaction with political actors who are being made to work with the same lines over and over again". He says their complaint is "more about the absence of a better political philosophy" than "those who are desperately squeezing significance from cliché-ridden speeches". More here.

  48. UKIP


    tweets: David Cameron's U-Turn on Grammar Schools is a direct imitation of a popular UKIP policy, says UKIP Deputy Leader @paulnuttallukip

  49. Question time panel

    Question Time

    Question Time has just tweeted its line-up for tomorrow night's programme: Lord Heseltine, the Tory peer, Labour's Caroline Flint, Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, Scotland's SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and businessman Duncan Bannatyne.

  50. Fox hunting ban

    The Spectator

    Tim Bonner, who is director of campaigns for the Countryside Alliance, has written a piece for The Spectator about the fox hunting ban. Today marks a decade since the ban came in. In his piece, Mr Bonner says the Hunting Act is a a "fundamentally bad law" and calls for it to be repealed. More here.

  51. Get Involved

    What are your views on today's big political issues? Remember to let us know your thoughts using the Get Involved tab on desktop or by emailing

  52. Shift change

    It's time for us to hand over to the late shift now. Thanks for your company so far today - Tim Fenton and Nick Eardley will be your hosts for the rest of Wednesday, They'll take keep you up to speed with all the goings on from Radio 4's PM, the Six and Ten O'Clock news and Newsnight. You'll also get tomorrow's newspapers as soon as we have them, plus anything else that crops up along the way.

  53. David Cameron on Chelsea fans footage

    Metro incident

    David Cameron has given his view on the video which appears to show a group of Chelsea fans stopping a black man from boarding a Paris train. The prime minister says the footage is "extremely disturbing and very worrying". He told LBC radio: "It's obviously potentially a criminal offence and so I'm sure the French police will be looking at it very seriously. Chelsea will co-operate with that fully. These are very, very serious matters."

  54. PM's motoring tour continues

    David Cameron

    David Cameron gets shown the back door as he visits a Vauxhall vehicle production plant in Luton this afternoon. Fortunately for him, however, it's the back door of a Vivaro commercial van... Has he found a rival to Labour's pink minibus?

  55. Migration Watch on foreign-born workers

    Migration Watch has responded to today's ONS figures on the number of foreign-born workers in the UK. Alp Mehmet, vice chairman of the campaign group, says: "Today's figures show that 70% of the increase in the foreign-born workforce over the past year has come from the EU. These new statistics sharply underline the need for effective measures to reduce the inflow of workers from Europe if the scale of immigration is to be brought under control."

  56. Post update

    The Spectator

    The Spectator

    The Spectator has just tweeted the front page of its new edition. It leads on Russian President Vladimir Putin and what the magazine calls his "dream of a new Iron Curtain".

  57. Poll boost for Labour

    A new poll by marketing company TNS puts Labour on 35% (up 2% on last month), the Conservatives on 28%, UKIP on 18%, the Lib Dems on 6% and the Greens on 7%. According to the poll, Labour is now the most trusted party on healthcare, reducing unemployment and improving education. The Conservatives are the most trusted on generating economic growth. To see the bigger picture, here's our poll tracker.

  58. Not in the driving seat

    Churchill driving

    David Cameron said earlier today that he has not driven a car for more than four years. But when did prime ministers stop getting behind the wheel? Pippa Simm and Brian Wheeler take a look.

  59. £250? 'They'd spend that on lunch' - Kinnock

    Ross Hawkins

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    Neil Kinnock

    Labour grandee Lord Kinnock has said his party's planned mansion tax would not cost the wealthy any more than they would spend on lunch. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has previously said those owning homes worth between £2m and £3m would pay £250 a month. Speaking to the Financial Times, Lord Kinnock said: "For the people who are asset-rich and very prosperous, a couple of hundred quid a month isn't going to make a difference. They would spend that on lunch." The former leader is an enthusiastic supporter of Ed Miliband.

  60. New Statesman front page

    New Statesman

    News Statesman

    The New Statesman has just tweeted its front page for this week. It poses the question: Are we ready for the chaos if no one wins the next election?

  61. Harriet Harman


    tweets: Exclusive! Inside the #pinkbus!! #uklabour

    Labour pink bus
  62. More detail on intel agencies

    A bit more detail on the government's admission that policies and procedures used by its intelligence agencies have not met the full requirements of human rights law. The concession has been made in relation to an ongoing legal claim brought on behalf of rendition victim Abdel Hakim Belhaj, who claims communications with lawyers were unlawfully intercepted and may have been used to provide the government with an advantage in court.

    A recent judgment made by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ruled that safeguards applied by agencies to intercept material must be made "sufficiently public" in order to satisfy requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights.

  63. Michael Dugher promises 'public control' of railways

    Clapham junction

    Michael Dugher, the shadow transport secretary, has told the New Statesman the Labour Party will introduce "more public control" of the railways if elected in May. He tells the magazine privatisation "was a disaster for the railways", adding: "The public sector will be running sections of our rail network as soon as we can do that." More here.

  64. Intel agencies 'not met requirements'

    News just in. The government has admitted that intelligence agencies' policies and procedures governing the handling of legally-privileged communications have not met the full requirements of European human rights law since 2010. Earlier in the month, UK surveillance agency GCHQ was officially censured for not revealing enough about how it shares information with its American counterparts. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal said GCHQ failed until December 2014 to make clear enough details of how it shared data from mass internet surveillance.

  65. 'Not a sexy message'

    A bit more on what Esther McVey had to say to the Loose Women earlier. Asked why she's a Conservative, she replied: "For me, it is about safety and security - not just of the individual, but also of the country. The Conservative message has never been a sexy one; it's like: 'live within your means, you can't spend what you haven't got, but work hard, endeavour, and you will succeed.' And you know what, that is true in life, full stop. There isn't magic money falling from the trees; you can't promise to give stuff you haven't got, you've got to earn it, you've got to have it."

  66. 'Lady campaign'

    Labour's pink bus

    Grazia magazine gives its view on Labour's much-maligned pink bus. Political editor Gaby Hinsliff writes: "Is it really the paint job that's the problem? Or could it be that the idea of women doing something for other women is all too often trivialised and ridiculed, especially by the kind of men who love cutting powerful women down to size?"

    She adds: "It's true we shouldn't need a special 'lady campaign'... But the sneering backlash against the pink bus is, in a way, proof of why it's needed."

  67. Cigarette packaging

    Cigarettes on shop shelves

    Isabel Hardman, of the Spectator, says she's got wind of efforts to try to derail the introduction of plain cigarette packaging by Tory backbenchers.

  68. Post update

    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    Nicola Sturgeon working her way through a wide range of policy topics.

  69. Early days

    BBC Radio 4

    The BBC's Jonty Bloom says wages may be continuing to rise faster than prices, but it's still early days in terms of a widespread feel-good factor. "If you look at how much people lost from high inflation and low wage rises over the past five years, we're on average still 6.7% worse off than we were in 2008."

  70. Sturgeon welfare aims

    Among the topics covered, Nicola Sturgeon has been asked about the NHS, housing market and welfare policy. Asked what she'd like to change about the latter, she said she would like to pay the housing element of Universal Credit directly to landlords, get rid of the bedroom tax, vary the frequency of payments, and increase carers' allowance.

  71. First Minister quizzed

    If Scottish politics is more your thing, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is giving evidence live at Holyrood right now on her legislative programme.

  72. Post update

    BBC Radio 4

    The World at One is currently on air on BBC Radio 4. Click our live tab above to listen - or stick with us and we'll bring you anything that pricks our ears.

  73. Post update

    Alex Forsyth

    Political correspondent, BBC News

    Endorsement from Esther McVey ; she's not doing a pink bus but believes in choice & tells Harriet H "go broom broom that pink bus"

  74. 'No personal attacks'

    In answering a question from journalist Janet Street-Porter, Ms McVey also said she didn't agree with personalising politics.

    Asked about the Tory party's YouTube adverts which pick on certain aspects of Labour leader Ed Miliband, she said: "I don't do that, I don't personalise anything, I believe in policy."

  75. Esther McVey 'wants to be PM'

    Former TV presenter turned Tory cabinet minister Esther McVey has conceded that she wants to be prime minister.

    Her admission was met with applause as she chatted about her life on ITV's Loose Women. She also jovially recalled a time she stood as a Tory candidate in a school election in 1979 and her slogan was "vote McVey vote the right way".

  76. Latest poll

    The latest YouGov voting intention figures, for The Sun newspaper, are Conservative 33%, Labour 34%, Lib Dem 6%, UKIP 15%, and Green 7%.

  77. Badger approval


    The Badger Trust has voiced its approval of Labour's pledge to fight animal cruelty by measures including a ban on wild animals in circuses and ending the "inhumane and ineffective" badger cull.

    Its chief executive Dominic Dyer said: "With a recent Mori poll showing that the badger cull was the fifth most common issue of complaint to MPs in 2014, Ed Milliband is only too aware of the huge, intense public anger over this cruel and ineffective policy.

    "I am pleased to see that the Labour Party recognise that the badger cull has been a massive failure on scientific, economic and humaneness grounds and that playing the badger blame game must be stopped when it comes to reducing the spread of bovine TB."

  78. Register to vote

    If you want to take part and vote in the forthcoming general election, you have to register to vote. It takes five minutes and you will need your national insurance number to hand. There has been a drive to get people registered to vote in February after it was revealed that nearly one million people had dropped off the register since last summer.

  79. Post update


    Mark Easton

    Home editor

    Tweets: Sanctions against JSA claimaints in year to September DOWN 19% from previous year. @DWPgovuk

  80. High fibre lunch

    If you're about to go on your lunch break and need an in-depth, considered piece of writing to pass the time, then David Cowling - editor of the BBC's political research unit - has got just the thing for you. Give it a read. It's about how opinion polls actually work.

  81. Childcare costs

    young boy playing in a park in 2010

    The Family and Childcare Trust's latest annual survey of childcare costs will be published tomorrow. Expect some new figures on the rising cost of sending a toddler to nursery part time. One to watch.

  82. Wales A&E pressures

    BBC health editor Hugh Pym has visited the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in south Wales to hear about the challenges its A&E faces and the efforts it is making to improve. Click here to listen to the report of the visit.

    Dr Ruth Alcolado, clinical director of acute medicine and A&E at Cwm Taf University Health Board, said social changes were a key factor. "We now have large cohorts of frail elderly with multiple other illnesses that they carry with them, because medicine has been successful in keeping people alive for longer."

  83. Warning on police cuts

    ITV News

    Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, has issued a warning about how his force might have to deal with future cuts, which he says could total £40 million in the next year. ITV News has produced an online video on the issue.

  84. 'Economy on the right track'

    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has also responded to the unemployment figures. "Well, this is good news for the UK economy, we've created 608,000 in the last twelve months. That shows that the recovery plan is working, that the Liberal Democrat efforts of government to get the economy on the right track are being successful."

  85. Energy report reaction

    BBC News Channel

    Consumer rights campaigner Martin Lewis is unimpressed with both Labour and the Tories on the issue of energy prices. "The Tories cannot admit that competition hasn't worked. Labour don't want to get into the language of renationalisation. All of their solutions are frankly illogical.

    "A competitive market means some people pay more than others. You cant say, 'We want market competition, but we want everyone to be on the cheapest deal.'"

    The real "disgrace", he added, was that the person paying more was "the 80-year-old grandmother without the internet", not someone like him.

  86. No new statistics on poverty

    The Guardian

    No new statistics on poverty and inequality will be published before the general election, which makes an informed assessment about coalition cuts impossible, writes Guardian columnist Dawn Foster. She argues that the public can't vote on this government's welfare record with out-of-date data.

  87. Wales unemployment figures

    Job Centre window

    In Wales, the unemployment rate has fallen to 99,000 with 3,000 more people finding work from October to December compared to the previous three months. The unemployment rate now stands at 6.7%, compared with 5.7% across the UK as a whole.

  88. Scotland unemployment figures

    Teasing out a bit more from those unemployment statistics, in Scotland, the jobless figure fell by 15,000 in the three months to December and now stands at 149,000. Employment rose to a record high of 2,625,000. Get the full story here.

  89. 'Tiny blip'

    On today's unemployment figures, Tory minister Esther McVey has said that the increase of 3,000 in youth unemployment was a "tiny blip", and that all other trends showed falling joblessness and increased employment.

  90. Post update

    Mark Easton

    Home editor

    Tweets: Lone parents claiming JSA now 84,515, DOWN 43% from 148,745 two years earlier. @DWPgovuk

  91. Labour on jobs

    Shadow employment minister Stephen Timms welcomed the overall fall in unemployment, but added: "It's troubling that youth unemployment has actually risen on the quarter. Also there's an increase in the number of men over 50 out of work long term."

  92. Rolls Royce visit

    David Cameron with staff at Rolls Royce factory in Sussex

    Another one to add to the politician-dons-utility-wear photo album - David Cameron getting a tour of the Rolls Royce factory.

  93. PM on Aston Villa

    On a lighter note Mr Cameron said he was "hopeful" the new Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood will be able to turn things round for the club. Villa are currently in the relegation zone. He admitted though it did make him "nervous" when teams changed their managers.

  94. HS2

    Will HS2 actually happen, the PM is asked. "Yes, definitely," he insists.

  95. PM on Russia

    Russia's behaviour towards Ukraine is "completely unacceptable", the prime minister said, and would have "economic and financial consequences for many years to come". He said Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine were using Russian rocket launchers and tanks.

    "You can't get that off eBay," Mr Cameron said, "So we have to be very firm."

  96. IDS on employment

    Iain Duncan Smith

    Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has, naturally, welcomed the latest fall in unemployment. And he's optimistic it'll continue, adding: "This isn't coming to an end because the vacancies now are at almost record highs."

  97. Maths problem

    One thing we spotted a short time ago was that the PM said he had 82 days left to persuade voters to back him. But in fact, he's only got 78 days until 7 May - election day - so he'd better get cracking.

  98. PM on more women in jobs

    Mr Cameron said a future Tory government would want to "turbo charge the change" of getting more women into industry sectors where they are not particularly well represented. "We should encourage people to do what they think their talent can achieve," he said, and added that it was time to stop thinking that certain work was only suitable to either men or women.

  99. UKIP coalition

    Asked about a possible deal with UKIP in the event of a hung Parliament, Mr Cameron said he wanted a "Conservative only" government and running a coalition was sometimes "frustrating" because compromises had to be made and "often behind closed doors".

    "I don't know what UKIP would do if they had a bunch of MPs, but they might well ally with Labour," he added, and Green and SNP MPs would probably ally with Labour too.

  100. A&E in Wales

    Away from David Cameron, latest figures show that in Wales 82.3% of patients were seen within four hours in Accident and Emergency units in January, up from 81% in December.

    This was still well below the 95% target and behind the figures recorded in England and Scotland but higher than Northern Ireland.

  101. Post update

    Paul Waugh, editor of,

    Tweets: Worker at RollsRoyce factory tells David Cameron he's disappointed. When told 'DC' would turn up, he expected 'David Coulthard'

  102. Sporting divide

    "I've got a Chelsea fan for a son, an Arsenal fan for a sister." David Cameron bemoans the lack of loyalty to his own team, Aston Villa, from within the family ranks.

  103. Terror threat

    "It's the struggle of our time" - the fight against Islamist extremism, says Mr Cameron, in answer to his first question from the floor. He says that fight must involve strengthening security at home and helping others under threat help themselves - and doing the latter without "charging in to other people's countries".

  104. 'More people in work than ever before'

    Opening up the question and answer session at Rolls Royce in Sussex, David Cameron said his government "was well on the way to getting Britain back in the black". He said there were now 1.85 million people in work, which he said equated to 1,000 new jobs created every day since this government has been in office.

    Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, he added: "There are more people in work today then ever before in our history."

  105. Post update

    David Cameron at PM Direct event
  106. Cameron questions

    Jacket off, David Cameron is on a roll. He thanks the audience at Rolls Royce for not being too disappointed at learning who it was coming to speak to them - he says he found out from a group of teachers he'd visited recently that they were actually hoping for Tom Jones.

  107. Live Coverage tab

    For those of you that want to watch David Cameron facing questions at his "PM Direct" event then simply click on the "Live Coverage" tab above.

  108. Wage rises

    Average earnings increased by 2.1% in the year to December, 0.3% up on the previous month.

  109. Benefit claims

    The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance last month fell by 38,600 to 823,000, the Office for National Statistics said.

  110. Unemployment down

    Unemployment fell by 97,000 between October and December to 1.86 million, official figures show.

  111. HSBC police search

    Swiss police are searching offices of the Geneva subsidiary of HSBC bank in an inquiry into alleged money laundering. Get the full story here.

  112. Post update


    Nuffield Trust

    Tweets: If you found that @BBCr4today report on Welsh NHS interesting, read our analysis here and here

  113. PM Direct - Sussex

    Prime Minister David Cameron is about to face questions from the public at a "PM Direct" event in Sussex. We will be keeping you updated with his answers... More to follow

  114. Welsh NHS spending

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    In between Davey and Oborne, Today looked at the report we mentioned earlier about variations in health and social care spending in England and Wales.

    David Jones, former Welsh Secretary and Conservative MP for Clywd West, said that on "almost every measure you care to mention Wales does significantly worse than England" and even where spending is higher, on social care, "that is not translating into improvement in the NHS".

    In reply, Vaughan Gething, Labour Welsh Assembly member for Cardiff South and Penarth and Deputy Minister for Health, said: "We do have an older sicker population - that is not an excuse - we have had to make incredibly difficult choices."

    He insisted there were some performance indicators in the NHS where Wales came out on top.

  115. 'Money laundering probe'

    AP news agency is reporting that Swiss prosecutors say they're probing a local HSBC subsidiary for suspected money laundering.

  116. Oborne latest

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    Westminster stalwart Peter Oborne was audibly furious when he spoke to Radio 4's Today programme a short time ago about his decision to quit the Daily Telegraph.

    He claims coverage of the HSBC tax scandal was influenced by pressure from those in charge of the paper's advertising contract with the bank. He says the paper must carry out an independent review.

    "If they want to trash what I wrote yesterday then they have to come out and explain what editorial guidelines they were using."

  117. Post update

    Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian columnist and Grazia political editor,

    Tweets: Hmm. Bishops can & do block/amend/expedite govt's will every day in the Lords but sending a measly letter is Church 'wading into politics'?

  118. Labour reacts to energy report

    Shadow energy and climate change secretary Caroline Flint

    Labour has weighed in on the Big Six report. Caroline Flint, shadow energy and climate change secretary, says it proves what her party has been saying - that the energy market is "broken".

    "Energy bills are £300 a year higher under the Tories, and David Cameron has let the energy companies get away with overcharging millions of consumers.

    "That's why the next Labour government will freeze energy prices until 2017, so that bills can fall but not rise, give the regulator the power to force energy suppliers to cut their prices and end overcharging once and for all."

  119. Post update

    Mikey Smith, Daily Mirror Online

    Tweets: Once again Ed Davey won't regulate the energy market. Essentially blaming the public for not switching providers more. #R4today

  120. More from Ed Davey

    BBC Radio 4

    The energy secretary says: "If there needs to be further action I certainly wouldn't shrink from seeing an energy company being broken up." But he also added that he would only do so based on real evidence from the Competition and Markets Authority.

  121. Ed Davey on energy report

    BBC Radio 4

    Energy Secretary Ed Davey says he strongly "welcomes the direction of travel" of today's energy report findings and has been very vocal about getting people to "encourage switching". He adds: "We won't flinch to take further action if that's what's needed."

  122. Vulnerable customers

    This morning's energy report has also highlighted how customers stuck on more expensive, standard types of tariff tend to be less educated, less well-off, less likely to own their own home or have internet access and more likely to be disabled or a single parent.

  123. Jobs figures

    Yesterday, inflation. Today, unemployment. The latest figures on the number of people out of work are due to be released at 9.30am. Last month, we learned that the fall in joblessness continued to fall with 58,000 fewer people out of work in the three months to the end of November.

  124. 'Why I quit the Telegraph'

    Peter Oborne

    Political big hitter Peter Oborne quit the Daily Telegraph last night. Here's a piece from him explaining why, in which he accuses the paper of a "form of fraud on its readers' for its coverage of HSBC and its Swiss tax-dodging scandal.

  125. 'Female firsts'

    Esther McVey

    How long will it be until the UK has its first female head of the Bank of England, BBC or CBI? Employment Minister Esther McVey says we've already waited too long for those sorts of significant female "firsts" - although women in general are getting into work faster than in any other country in the G7.

    She is also set to appear on ITV Loose Women later today to promote the #notjustforboys campaign which is aimed at trying to boost the number of women in jobs where they are under-represented such as in construction science, IT and engineering.

  126. Post update

    John Moylan

    Industry correspondent, BBC News

    Tweets: #CMA on supplier retail profits.. "we are continuing to look at whether overall profit in retail has exceeded an appropriate benchmark.."

  127. Post update

    Richard Gaisford, chief correspondent, Good Morning Britain

    Tweets: 19 million UK customers buy gas & electricity from one of big 6 energy firms. CMA says 95% could save up to £234 by switching. More @GMB

  128. Energy report

    Just to remind you, the Big Six firms are Centrica, SSE, npower, EDF, Scottish Power and E.ON.

    Energy Secretary Ed Davey will appear on BBC Radio 4's Today programme just after 8am - we'll let you know what he has to say, and you can also listen to him by clicking our live tab above.

  129. Energy analysis

    John Moylan

    Industry correspondent, BBC News

    It's important to understand that this report is an update on early evidence from a competition probe into the Big Six energy companies, and not any official findings.

    But it's quite clear that they [the Competition and Markets Authority] are more concerned about the retail market than the energy generating market, and as a result it's unlikely they'll end up calling for the Big Six to be broken up.

    The report also scrutinises industry regulator Ofgem closely, and questions whether the regulatory hoops that companies have to jump through are actually hindering competition.

  130. 'More Tube attacks'

    Underground sign

    Labour has called for more protection for London Underground workers after figures showed a 44% increase in assaults on staff since 2009. The party said the number of attacks had increased from 1,917 in 2009-10 to 2,753 in 2013-14, sparking renewed concern about plans to cut hundreds of jobs through the closure of Tube ticket offices.

  131. 'Unnerving alien-ness'

    Another blog for you to ponder. Matthew Norman, in the Independent, is shocked at the "fiasco" of Ed Balls and his odd job receipts. "The most destructive aspect of this mirthless farce" from Labour's point of view, he says, "is the unnerving impression of alien-ness projected by his original statement.

    "Earthlings are not interested in recording transactions, for tax or any purpose, with the odd-jobbing community. It would never cross our minds."

  132. Energy probe

    If you're interested in reading the full report on fuel bills from the Competition and Markets Authority here it is.

  133. 'Switching could have saved you cash'

    Our top story today is a report which has found that energy suppliers are routinely charging their long-term customers higher prices. In total, 95% of dual fuel customers on standard variable tariffs would have saved between £158 and £234 a year if they had switched provider between 2011 and 2014, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found. Many of these customers will be vulnerable customers.

    The findings - which have come to light through a competition probe into the the "Big Six" energy companies - raise fresh questions over the market power of the main suppliers. Full story here.

  134. Referendum rush?

    We're having a trawl through the political blogs for you this morning and one that jumps out is Rafael Behr's in the Guardian. He says there's growing feeling in Downing Street that the much vaunted EU referendum should be held in 2016, rather than 2017, assuming David Cameron is victorious in May.

    "The later it is left, the more depleted will be Cameron's stock of political capital and the likelier it becomes that Britain flounces out of the EU in a spasm of mid-term, anti-government protest," he writes.

  135. 'I will support UKIP'

    Harriet Yeo

    A quick recap of a story which broke fairly late last night and you may have missed. The former chairwoman of Labour's ruling National Executive Committee says she's left the party to support UKIP at the general election.

    Harriet Yeo, a councillor in Ashford, Kent, said she wanted a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. But she said she would not become a UKIP member because she wanted to judge things from a voter's perspective. Labour said it was united on Europe and an EU exit would "cost British jobs and influence". Full story here.

  136. Different views on bishops' letter

    As we mentioned, the papers are divided over Tuesday's bishops' letter. According to the Independent, the bishops carefully steered clear of endorsing any party and accused all political leaders of resorting to aiming "sterile arguments" at swing voters instead of addressing the big questions facing the country.

    However, covering topics like a living wage and Britain's relationship with the European Union, it also, suggests the Times, contained "tacit criticism" of the government's welfare reforms, leaving the prime minister "incensed". The Times leading article says it was a "political letter" which is "unsolicited, disingenuous and in at least half a dozen respects nakedly partisan".

  137. 'No more circus wild animals'

    Riders and dogs of the Old Surrey Burstow and West Kent Hunt

    Labour is pledging to fight animal cruelty with measures including a ban on wild animals in circuses and ending the "inhumane and ineffective" badger cull.

    The policies, unveiled 10 years after the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales was introduced, include a vow to reduce cruelty on shooting estates.

    Labour also promised to defend the Hunting Act, saying the Conservatives might legalise hunting with dogs. The Tories are committed to a free vote on the issue in the next Parliament. Read the full story here.

  138. 'Urgent devolution of powers'

    A woman with her arm round the shoulder of an older man

    Public services like adult social care could "collapse" unless councils get new funding powers - that's the dramatic-sounding conclusion of a report by the Independent Commission on Local Government Finance.

    It says England's local authorities need "urgent devolution of powers, funding and taxes" to help protect threatened services.

    Read the full story here.

  139. Quick look at today's papers

    As you sip your first (or fourth, as it is here on Politics Live) coffee of the day, why not take a moment to have a quick scan of the front pages in today's newspapers. Yesterday's pastoral letter by Church of England bishops urging congregations to vote in the general election has provoked much comment.

  140. A&E pressures

    In other health matters, there'll be a renewed focus on accident and emergency performance today with January figures due out for Wales. In December, Wales lagged behind England and Scotland but was ahead of Northern Ireland when it came to reaching treatment targets.

  141. England vs Wales split on spending

    Hugh Pym

    Health editor

    One of this morning's top stories concerns a report highlighting differences in health and social care spending in England and Wales. Health editor Hugh Pym unpicks it for us.

    Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that while the Welsh Government - unlike the Department of Health in Whitehall - has opted to cut its health budget, spending on social care provided by Welsh local authorities has been better protected than England's.

    With the NHS in Wales run by a Labour administration and the coalition running health in England, there has been an increasingly acrimonious debate on their respective performance. The IFS says that between 2010 and the current financial year health spending in England rose by 4.3% while the Welsh Government cut its health budget by 2%.

    But for social care provided by local authorities there was a drop in England of 11.5% while in Wales the equivalent budget was reduced by just 0.8. This reflects the Welsh administration's chosen trade off between these two key areas of spending.

  142. Good morning

    Hello and welcome to another action-packed Politics Live day. It may be recess in Parliament and the half term break for many schools, but there's little sign of a let-up in the pace of campaigning as we move closer to the 7 May election. Victoria King and Dominic Howell will bring you all the action, reaction and analysis throughout the day in text and you'll be able to watch and listen to all the main BBC political programmes on this page. Here's how Tuesday unfolded.