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Summary

  1. Danny Alexander announces a Lib Dem plan to introduce a new offence for firms that fail to act to prevent economic crime following the recent HSBC tax row
  2. Ed Miliband says he's brought Lord Prescott back as a climate change adviser because he "knows how to knock heads together".
  3. Labour MP Austin Mitchell dismisses claims he said the party could retain the seat at the election even if its candidate was an "alcoholic" or "paedophile".
  4. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP should be included in pre-election talks with the civil service in Whitehall.
  5. Rolling coverage of the day's political news, views and reaction from the BBC
  6. There are 74 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Victoria King and Sarah Weaver

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Bye for now

    Well, that's all for today. Thank you for joining us. We've seen a proposal from the Lib Dems for a new law against corporate tax evasion and a slightly surreal row about Labour MP Austin Mitchell and the "raving alcoholic sex paedophile" whom he suggests could succeed him as MP. UKIP's Nigel Farage also popped up to condemn his party's ex-councillor Rozanne Duncan for racism and to lend some support to Ed Miliband, whom he thinks gets an unfair ride from the press. Victoria King and Dominic Howell will be back from 06:00 GMT on Monday as Parliament returns from recess. We'll take you all the way from Breakfast and Today to Newsnight and Today in Parliament, so do come back then.

  2. Post update

    Fasial Islam, Political Editor, Sky News

    has tweeted a YouGov survey of UKIP voters, which found just under half described themselves as "not prejudiced at all" against other races, versus 42% who said they were "a little prejudiced". Two thirds (64%) said they did not "have any views that are racist".

  3. Tory win would 'suit' SNP

    The Guardian

    Andrew Rawnsley

    In his Observer column, Andrew Rawnsley argues that the SNP leadership - albeit privately - would prefer an overall Tory majority as the fastest route to Scottish independence. And all talk of a "progressive alliance" with Labour is actually designed to hand the election to the Conservatives.

    He said: "Though they'd never admit this, it suits the nationalists' central ambition for the Tories to do well. It equally suits the short-term electoral interests of the Tories, if not the long-term health of the union that Mr Cameron claims to care so much about, if the nationalists rob Labour of a lot of its seats north of the border."

    He added: "What a mighty irony it would be if voting SNP were to put David Cameron back in Downing Street."

  4. Post update

    Guardian Politics

    Tweets: Spot the difference? Are the Tories taking lessons from the 2004 Australian election http://d.gu.com/8h63MX

  5. Post update

    BBC Newsnight

    Tweets: Our most popular video last week was @RichardDawkins on Palestine, Jews, Science and the Burqa. Watch it here

  6. Digby Jones: Labour must 'pay tribute' to business

    The Daily Mail

    Lord Digby Jones

    The relationship between Labour and business has been much debated in recent days. Lord Digby Jones, former head of the CBI, uses his column in today's Daily Mail to urge Ed Miliband to voice support for business.

    He welcomes the recent slew of positive economic data but doesn't credit George Osborne, calling the chancellor "plain lucky". Although he served as trade minister in Gordon Brown's government, the cross-bench peer writes from a non-partisan perspective and reserves his worst criticism for Labour, writing: "On the economy, Miliband and his team have called it wrong time and time again," adding: "I'm still waiting to hear Ed Miliband pay tribute to business."

  7. Tory Miliband attack ads 'bullying'

    The Daily Telegraph

    In today's Sunday Telegraph, columnist Janet Daley criticises the Tory election strategy of using social media to target Ed Miliband - but the piece will make cold comfort for the Labour leader, as she also argues Mr Miliband is too soft a target.

    She writes: "When they [the Tories] ridicule Ed Miliband personally, they are in danger of looking like smirking public schoolboys making fun of the geeky scholarship kid. Ed's very hopelessness works against them. Trying to make an effective politician look idiotic might have some point, but making one who already looks foolish seem even more comically inept is just gross."

  8. Sleeping on the job

    Tuesday's pick is probably health questions from 11.30 GMT, while Wednesday sees the return of Prime Minister's Questions after the half-term recess. Looking further ahead to Thursday and Friday, we're expecting a lot of time to be devoted to private members bills. Among those hoping for a moment in the sun is Labour MP Thomas Docherty - who was seen sleeping overnight in the Public Bill Office in order to win this debating time, in the recent BBC documentary Inside the Commons.

  9. Monday matters

    Elsewhere in Parliament on Monday, the Serious Crime Bill is back in the Commons for further debate. Among the important amendments on offer is one from Conservative Fiona Bruce which would outlaw sex-selective abortions. For their part, the Lords will be picking over the Modern Slavery Bill.

  10. Clegg on crime

    Tomorrow we'll be getting a big speech from Nick Clegg on crime and justice, in particular his plans to reverse the seemingly inexorable rise in the prison population. Earlier, Lib Dem Justice Minister Simon Hughes told Sky's Murnaghan programme the number of inmates had doubled in 20 years. "I cant believe that we are twice as dangerous, twice as evil, a society as 20 years ago. There's something else going on." Women, recreational drug users and those with mental health problems are some of the groups Mr Hughes went on to suggest very often didn't need incarceration.

  11. Looking forward

    As things have quietened down a bit here, let's see if we can get you ahead of the game on some things coming up in the next few days. Mark D'Arcy has done it in depth here, but we'll cherry pick a few things from his comprehensive run-down.

  12. McBride: Election impossible to predict

    The Sun

    Damian McBride

    In today's Sun on Sunday, former Labour spin doctor Damian McBride imagines how the country will look under an Ed Miliband government.

    McBride - who, despite sharing Brownite history with Miliband, is frequently critical of the Labour leader - identifies the economy and education as the thorniest issues in the Labour leader's potential in-tray, but is supportive of the party's approach to the NHS.

    He parks himself firmly on the fence in predicting an election result, writing: "Only one thing is certain: there will always be something to talk about and we'll all look forward to the holidays."

  13. Mitchell slip-up

    Robin Brant

    Political Correspondent, BBC News

    Austin Mitchell's comments may not seem particularly significant, but they touch on a bigger issue for Labour. This kind of off-the-cuff, off message talk is only going to assist those on the UKIP side who are knocking on doors and telling people in north Lincolnshire that Labour is taking them for granted. This is exactly the kind of slip-up that will really suit them.

  14. Kick in the teeth for Miliband

    Daily Express

    LBC's Nick Ferrari rakes over Ant and Dec's criticism of Ed Miliband in his column in today's Sunday Express.

    Of the TV presenting duo, who are self-professedly "staunchly Labour", reflecting earlier this week that they couldn't picture Mr Miliband as prime minister Ferrari writes: "This is as big a kick in his impressive set of gnashers as there could be."

    He concludes: "Remember when Labour used to be cool Britannia? Now it's more Wallace and Forget it."

  15. Marr in full

    We brought you plenty of snippets from the Andrew Marr show this morning, but if you'd like to watch the big interviews back in full, here are Danny Alexander and William Hague.

  16. SNP 'dishonest' over Trident

    BBC Radio 4

    This morning Danny Alexander threw the issue of new laws against tax evasion into the mix for any future coalition negotiations. A short while later, the SNP's Angus Robertson said his party "would not support the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapons system" if it was a policy of a possible coalition partner. In response to that, Labour shadow defence minister Kevan Jones called the SNP's position "dishonest". He told The World This Weekend the nationalists advocated Scotland - and the wider UK - remain a part of Nato, and "Nato is a nuclear alliance".

  17. Crematorium selfie

    Josh Mason's 'selfie' at the crematorium

    A Liberal Democrat candidate has apologised for taking a selfie in front of a crematorium furnace and posting it to a dating app. Josh Mason expressed "deep regret" for his actions.

  18. Kyoto record

    John Prescott, campaigning in 2001

    Back in 1997, Lord - then just regular John - Prescott was the EU's lead negotiator on the Kyoto Protocol, which for the first time, committed signatory countries to binding agreements on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. He said the part he played was "one of my proudest moments". His appointment by Ed Miliband comes ahead of crucial United Nations talks in Paris on climate change at the end of the year.

  19. Prescott back in play

    Lord Prescott himself has written in today's Sunday Mirror about his new job as Ed Miliband's climate change adviser. "My brief is to engage heads of state and governments, to raise their ambition," he says. "But as well as advising Ed I'm also prepared to work with the current UK government. This should be above politics - we need to work together."

  20. gov.uk site branded a "total nightmare"

    The official gov.uk site comes in for trenchant criticism.

    The Register has seen internal documents warning officials that the Cabinet Office scheme to move all government websites to the gov.uk platform had caused "chaos" in the Home Office visas pages. It led to "a breakdown in fact-checking, described by more than one person as 'general chaos' and 'a total nightmare'."

    Despite warnings about workability, the Cabinet Office ploughed ahead, moving a further 300 sites to the portal with, as Newsnight's Chris Cook reported, mixed results.

    The idea was supposed to save £91 million.

  21. SNP election demands

    We mentioned a while ago now demands from the SNP to be included in pre-election talks with civil servants alongside other Westminster opposition parties. Our colleagues in Scotland have written up the full story.

  22. Rail renationalisation 'not the answer'

    Travellers at Paddington Station

    Now for something completely different. Calls by Labour to renationalise sections of the railways have been dismissed by a transport expert.

    Professor of transport at the University of South Wales Stuart Cole has told BBC Radio Wales that while the "franchise system has not been performing" a public sector approach is not the answer.

    He was reacting to a recent New Statesman interview with shadow transport minister Michael Dugher MP, when he said "the public sector will be running sections of our rail network as soon as we can do that."

  23. Islamic State 'romantic' appeal

    BBC Radio 4

    MI6 former head of counter terrorism Richard Barrett told The World This Weekend that the attraction of Islamic State to young women was not terrorism but social factors.

    He said: "The appeal to young women to go over to the Islamic State, I doubt, is to train to come back and blow up their families in the United Kingdom. I'm sure it's much more to do with some sort of romantic notion of what life over there might be like."

  24. Coming up

    The World This Weekend is starting soon on Radio 4 - at 13:00 GMT. As ever, you can listen through our Live Coverage tab.

  25. Gillian Duffy backs Miliband

    The Guardian

    The Observer is reporting that Gillian Duffy - the pensioner Gordon Brown labelled a "bigoted woman" when she voiced concerns over immigration during the 2010 election campaign - has come out in support of Ed Miliband.

    Mrs Duffy reportedly previously criticised Ed Miliband for being a "privileged" career politician in contrast to Nigel Farage, who liked a pint like "working class people". But, it seems, Mrs Duffy has come back round to her party. She said: "I'm 100% behind Ed Miliband and we have to get rid of this coalition government. It is how I have been brought up. I just want to get rid of this Tory government."

  26. Lunchtime round up

    A quick recap on what we've been up to this morning:

    Danny Alexander announced a new Lib Dem idea of a tougher penalty for firms who turn a blind eye to tax evasion. Labour were unimpressed.

    Nigel Farage has reiterated his condemnation of a former UKIP councillor, kicked out for racist remarks.

    Labour's Austin Mitchell MP is involved in a bit of a row after saying a "raving alcoholic sex paedophile" could get elected in his Grimbsy seat if they wore a Labour badge.

    Various MPs have also been doing the rounds discussing the Ukraine crisis, radicalisation among young people and possible future coalition machinations.

  27. Labour tax reaction

    Labour has tweeted its statement in response to today's announcement by Danny Alexander of his plans for new penalties for corporate tax evasion.

    Chris Leslie MP, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: "The amount of uncollected tax has gone up by £3 billion under Danny Alexander and George Osborne. This government has refused to close loopholes which Labour has highlighted. And ministers still need to explain why there has been just one prosecution out of 1,100 names in the HSBC case and why the head of the bank was made a Tory minister."

  28. Grimsby row 'shot in the arm' for UKIP

    Nigel Farage has reacted gleefully to Austin Mitchell's comments - covered here earlier - that Grimsby would elect a "raving alcoholic sex paedophile" if they stood for Labour saying the remarks have "just given UKIP a massive shot in the arm".

    He told the BBC: "I've always been a fan of Austin Mitchell. He's one of those back-bench MPs who speaks his mind and on the big questions about democracy and Britain's relationship with the European Union. I would say, as a Ukipper, to Austin: 'You're one of us.'"

  29. 'Virus of racism'

    Some very strong words from Chuka Umunna a short time ago on UKIP. "There is a virus of racism at the heart of that party that needs to be rooted out and sorted out and it isn't helped when, for example, at their spring conference last year they adopted 'Love Britain', the former slogan of the BNP as their strapline," he said.

    "You cannot go around saying you don't have problems with racism in your party when again and again we see examples of this. I don't think it's in keeping with British values of fair play, of respect for one another and of openness to the world. They need to answer for these continuous examples of prejudice that we see."

  30. Russian planes in Cornwall a 'mission rehearsal'

    Sky News

    As we covered earlier, William Hague confirmed today on Marr that the government has no plans to arm Ukrainian forces against Russia. But former chief of the defence staff Air Chief Marshal Lord Stirrup says Britain should consider supplying arms as a show of strength. Speaking on the Murnaghan programme, he said: "If Nato is weak or is perceived to be weak by Putin then the risk of miscalculation is much greater and our security is much lowered as a result.

    He added: "These aircraft - Russian Bears for example - are not going on these very flights simply as joy rides. They are mission rehearsals. They are testing us, they are testing our defences."

  31. Post update

    Matthew Goodwin, politics professor at Nottingham University and Chatham House fellow,

    Tweets: Conservatives & Kippers have been having very different experience of the 'long-term economic plan' (@YouGov data) ->

    YouGov poll graph showing Conservative and UKIP experiences of the economy
  32. Labour worried Grimsby voters 'insulted'

    Labour has dismissed the comments made by one of its MPs, Austin Mitchell, that the support he enjoys in his Great Grimsby seat is so staunch that the party could put up a "raving alcoholic sex paedophile" and still be elected.

    Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna told the BBC: "Well I don't agree with any of those comments at all."

    He went on: "We're not seeking to insult anybody here. The voters will make up their own minds based on the detailed plans they see of all the different parties. We believe we've got the right plans - helping tackle low pay, reducing insecurity, helping people with their childcare in Grimsby."

  33. 'Wrong side'

    Baroness Warsi

    Baroness Warsi spoke again about her own resignation from the cabinet over the handling of Gaza. "I took the decision that I would rather be on the wrong side of government than the wrong side of history," she said.

  34. 'Radicalised in their bedrooms'

    Sky News

    Baroness Warsi has brought the battle to prevent Islamic radicalisation of young people to the home.

    The former Conservative Party chairman told Sky's Murnaghan programme: "Sometimes we've been wanting to find an easy answer, we've said, 'Look, mosques should do more, madrassas should do more and it's becoming more and more apparent that people are not being radicalised in places of worship, but actually are being radicalised in their bedrooms by being on the internet."

    She added that, at present: "We are fighting an ever-losing battle against extremist groups."

  35. Talking tough on tax

    Joe Lynam

    BBC Business Reporter

    There's been more comment about facilitating tax evasion in the fortnight since the Panorama programme on HSBC than in the five years before that.

    Danny Alexander's new plan to make it a crime for banks and accountants to look the other way while their clients knowingly evade tax may appear to be a populist reaction - very late in the life of this coalition. The public may feel it's better late than never though. They see benefit fraudsters (rightly) brought before the courts and small firms harangued by the tax man for modest VAT bills while giant firms and high net worth individuals know it's unlikely they'll be prosecuted for not paying all their taxes.

    Making the professional advisers pay the same fine as their clients will also send a chill down the spine of many of the big four accountants and all of the banks.

    Danny Alexander concedes it might be a big ask to get a new law through Parliament making inaction in the face of tax evasion a crime but the Lib Dems will try. He says there's a much better chance of bolting on the financial penalties side of his proposal to next month's Budget though. And he may even get cross-party support.

  36. Prescott election role

    Sky News

    Douglas Alexander

    Pressed on Sky's Murnaghan programme about what part the former deputy prime minister could play in the election, Douglas Alexander said: "The role and brief that John's been given right now is to focus on climate change but I fully expect that as well as that policy role, he'll continue to support the Labour campaign in the months ahead."

  37. Cameron 'awol' in Ukraine crisis

    Sky News

    Douglas Alexander has criticised David Cameron for lack of involvement with European allies in the negotiations with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

    Speaking on Sky News' Murnaghan programme, the shadow foreign secretary said: "I think there's been an abject diplomatic failure. If you look at the report of the All-Party House of Lords Select Committee this week it was a damning indictment of Britain's loss of diplomatic influence.

    "We're in a position where, when the French president and German chancellor are going to Minsk, the British prime minister is going awol."

  38. Post update

    Sunny Hundal, journalist,

    Tweets: Baroness @SayeedaWarsi now on #murnaghan says there isn't just a single driver of radicalisation and people joining ISIS. She's right

  39. Post update

    Telegraph Politics

    Tweets: William Hague: Labour must stop 'whingeing' about Tory attack adverts http://tgr.ph/1D6cTva

  40. Lib Dem dig

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Stewart Hosie has a dig at the Lib Dems. "You've just claimed credit for all the good things, which is what the Lib Dems always do, but you need to accept responsibility for the fact that the deficit has not come down as fast as promised."

  41. Post update

    Ed Miliband has tweeted about why he gave John Prescott the job of climate change special advisor.

    Prescott's selling point in the eyes of the Labour leader? That he "knows how to knock heads together."

  42. SNP: Labour 'have to' speak to us

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Deputy SNP leader Stewart Hosie MP has set out a stark negotiating position for Labour, if they fail to win a majority.

    He told Pienaar's Politics: "If there's a minority administration then they [Labour] would have to speak to us."

    He added: "There would have to be some form of negotiation - perhaps a supply and confidence arrangement - to get their programme through."

  43. Tax evasion proposals

    Here's the full story on Danny Alexander's proposed new penalties for tax evasion. He says that if the measures - a new offence for firms that fail to act to prevent economic crime - "cannot be introduced in this Parliament they will be part of the Liberal Democrat offering for the next government".

  44. 'Tittle tattle'

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Chuka Umunna

    Asked if all was "harmonious" in the Labour Party despite some rumours of briefings against Ed Balls, Mr Umunna was unequivocal. "I don't accept your characterisation of sniping... of course, there's tittle tattle in Conservative-supporting newspapers", he said, but insisted the "duo" of Balls and Miliband was strong.

  45. 'Share the load'

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Mr Umunna did say Labour wanted the situation with tuition fees to change, but was still working out how that could be done. He said the Conservatives "want to dump the entire burden" of fees on the student, whereas Labour believed a young person's decision to go to university isn't just good for their own family - business and the wider country benefit too, so should meet some of the cost.

  46. Cutting tuition fees

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Chuka Umunna refused to commit the Labour Party to cutting tuition fees: "We are determined not to repeat the mistakes of Nick Clegg and make promises in our manifesto that we cant deliver."

    Speaking about a former proposal to cut fees from £9,000 to £6,000, he told John Pienaar that the calculations have changed - specifically the volume of student loans that will be written off.

    "The government estimated that it was going to have to write off about 30% of the loans it was giving to the system. The latest figures show that they are going to have to write of 49.5% of those loans."

    "A lot has changed."

  47. SNP 'preparing' for government

    BBC Radio 5 live

    One last snippet from William Hague. He says the SNP's call to be granted the same access to civil servants before the election as the main Westminster opposition parties is a sign of how seriously they are anticipating a coalition with Labour. Unsurprisingly, he thinks such a coalition would be "chaotic" and "catastrophic" for economic security.

    He told John Pienaar any decision to grant access to the SNP would be up to the Cabinet Secretary.

  48. On now

    Chuka Umunna, Labour's shadow business secretary, now on Pienaar's Politics.

  49. Post update

    Patrick Wintour, political editor at the Guardian,

    Tweets: The Times reporting Labour is planning to target pensioners to pay for cut in tuition fees. Think Times correct. Old to young.

  50. Farage frustrations

    Matt Cole, political correspondent

    BBC News

    UKIP is desperate to professionalise, to bring itself into the political mainstream. You only have to look at the last conference, at Doncaster racecourse. It was very slick, well-organised, a world away from the homespun affairs of just a few years ago. Therefore, this sort of headline, about Rozanne Duncan, will frustrate Nigel Farage - taking attention away from what he really wants to be talking about - policy.

  51. Hague's 'horror' at missing girls

    BBC Radio 5 live

    William Hague has made his way over to join John Pienaar on 5live and voiced strong feeling at the missing London schoolgirls' apparent support for Islamic State.

    He said: "I feel absolute horror that girls could go off and support ISIS in any way.

    "This is an organisation that abuses women, that enslaves women, that rapes women, that sells women, in some cases". He urged women to be aware that IS is "particularly horrible to the women it comes into contact with".

  52. Farage defends Miliband

    BBC Radio 4

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has found an unlikely friend in Nigel Farage this morning. The UKIP leader - who is on BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme - condemned the media for what he perceives as negative coverage of Mr Miliband, who is "getting such a doing over every single day it's going beyond the bounds of fairness". Asked by Terry Wogan, another panellist on the show, if his comments mark the first step to a Labour-UKIP coalition, he laughs and says: "No, but a little bit of sympathy on a human level is not a bad thing."

  53. Post update

    PoliticsHome

    Tweets: @Nigel_Farage on John Prescott's appointment as Ed Miliband's climate change adviser: "I think they're a bit short of talent"

  54. On now

    Pienaar's Politics is about to get going on BBC Radio 5live. Stick with us and listen via the live tab above.

  55. Hague: 'want to see more of my wife'

    Asked why he plans to leave politics after the election, William Hague said: "It's 20 years since I first joining the cabinet - that is a long time. There are many other things to do in life.

    "I like writing, I love music. I want to see more of my wife. And I'm allowed to do those things."

  56. Social media surveillance 'necessary'

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Evidence that the missing London schoolgirls believed to be en route to Syria planned their trip on social media demonstrates the value of government powers of surveillance, William Hague says.

    He told Marr: "There's been a lot of criticism over the last year of the government doing too much surveillance. It's been difficult to get agreement on powers to update the government powers to intercept communications.

    "This can be an example of why it is necessary to be able to do that, in some cases."

  57. Hague and UKIP

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Mr Hague isn't biting on UKIP. A Conservative majority is the only choice to keep the country stable and on the right track, he says. "I think it's premature to go into all the hypotheticals of the election," he adds.

  58. Islamic State threat

    The Andrew Marr Show

    On the growth of Islamic State in Libya, Mr Hague says "the right way to lasting success" in defeating those sorts of challenges is supporting countries in the region to deal with them - "rather than send our own armies to those places".

  59. Hague: 'no plans' to send arms to Ukraine

    The Andrew Marr Show

    William Hague told the Marr show: "If Russia continues to destabilise the Ukraine there will be a price." But this did not include arming the Ukrainian government, he said. "We are sending some help. We are sending non-lethal equipment and training.

    "We are not planning, as the UK, to send arms to Ukraine. It hasn't been our approach in any recent conflict in recent years recent years to send arms into those conflicts."

    He added: "We want to see a diplomatic solution."

  60. Post update

    Tim Montgomerie, Conservative blogger and Times columnist,

    Tweets: Bit unfair to say Labour talking about climate change now because of Green surge. May explain timing but Miliband is genuinely, deeply green

  61. 'Right decision'

    BBC Radio 4

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage is on BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House as part of the panel reviewing this morning's papers. He's asked about Rozanne Duncan, a councillor expelled by the party, over what he called "deeply racist comments".

    Mr Farage reiterates that her comments were "horrible" and "unacceptable" which is why, he says, the party got rid of her. "Clearly she doesn't have any understanding of the deep offence she has caused by her comments, and we took the right decision," he adds.

  62. Post update

    Nick Robinson

    Political editor

    Tweets: Lib Dems = "come back kids" says @dannyalexander. Attacks "Clueless Labour, Heartless Tories" (tho hopes will soon be in Cabinet with them)

  63. Hague on Marr

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Leader of the Commons William Hague now in the hot seat. First up, the Ukraine situation.

  64. EU referendum 'not a Lib Dem priority'

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Danny Alexander wouldn't be drawn on whether the Lib Dems would refuse to form a coalition with the Conservatives if they insisted on an EU referendum."What I'm doing is setting out the priorities for the next Parliament," going on to list them - minus any mention of Europe:

    "Making sure we have a balanced budget, that we deliver that fairly, income tax cuts for working people, measures to support young people in the school system. Those are the things that are at the top of our agenda."

  65. Post update

    James Ball, the Guardian,

    Tweets: Danny Alexander a fair bit more forceful than his treasury colleague George Osborne there... #Marr

  66. Seat under threat

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Can you hold onto your own seat in May, asks Andrew Marr? "Yes, I can," Mr Alexander replies. "I think I've got a battle, of course, with the nationalists, but I'm doing a lot to support the Highlands through this government."

    He adds: "I think the Liberal Democrats will be the comeback kids at this election."

  67. New corporate tax evasion penalties

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Danny Alexander has just announced new penalties for companies that help clients evade tax, in the wake of the HSBC affair.

    The chief secretary to the Treasury told the Marr show: "We should create a new offence of corporate failure to avoid preventing an economic crime and also that organisations who facilitate or encourage evasion should face the same penalty as the evaders themselves."

  68. Alexander on Marr

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Danny Alexander up now. First questions - on tax collection, HSBC and HMRC.

  69. TV debates would be 'game changing'

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Alastair Campbell

    Alastair Campbell claims the real reason for David Cameron's reluctance to participate in pre-election TV debates is not nervousness over Nigel Farage, but Ed Miliband.

    Speaking on Marr, he said: "The debates are one of those things that can be a game-changing moment" and speculated that the PM is worried that Mr Miliband would do better than people expect.

  70. Western ''impotence' over Putin

    The Andrew Marr Show

    Speaking on The Andrew Marr show, former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said: "I sense a real sort of impotence in some of the western powers and what they're doing."

    Going on to describe Putin's thought process, he said: "Frankly, he looks at the West surrounded by people who are scared really to tell him what they think.

    "I think he has become a classic near-totalitarian leader who does have an agenda and who frankly looks at the West and thinks that we're just scared to do anything."

  71. Spat over UKIP support in Grimsby

    Austin Mitchell

    A smaller UKIP story comes from comments made by Labour MP Austin Mitchell that UKIP stand little chance of success in his Great Grimsby seat. Mr Mitchell claimed voters would elect a "raving alcoholic sex paedophile", provided they were a Labour candidate.

    The Independent on Sunday is reporting UKIP candidate Victoria Ayling's reaction. She said: "Austin Mitchell has been a respected constituency MP but he's assuming that people don't think very carefully about how they vote. People do think very carefully and I don't like Mr Mitchell insulting the people of Grimsby."

  72. On now

    The Andrew Marr show has just started on BBC1 - you can also watch it by clicking on our live tab above.

  73. 'Knives out' for Balls

    One person who might not be enjoying the papers this morning - or the Sunday Times at least - is shadow chancellor Ed Balls. The paper claims the knives are out for him and some in the Labour Party want him to be demoted after the general election.

  74. UKIP 'deeply racist comments' row

    Ex-UKIP councillor Rozanne Duncan has declared she has no regrets over remarks - described as "deeply racist" by party leader Nigel Farage - that saw her expelled from the party.

    The comments were revealed in BBC documentary Meet the Ukippers, on tonight at 22:00 GMT on BBC Two.

  75. Prescott reaction

    Lord Prescott

    Some scepticism among the reactions this morning to John Prescott's new role as an unpaid climate change adviser to Ed Miliband. James Landale has tweeted the former deputy prime minister's previous criticism of special advisers.

    Last year, Lord Prescott wrote about how he sold his second car, to demonstrate his commitment to the cause.

  76. Front pages

    Before Marr gets going at 9am, here's our digest of Sunday's newspapers for you to peruse over your cornflakes.

  77. Coming up

    We're expecting Conservative Leader of the Commons William Hague and Lib Dem Chief Secretary Danny Alexander to get this week's grilling from Andrew Marr. For those of you who like a well-rounded start to Sunday, he'll also be speaking to actor Mark Strong.

  78. Good morning

    Alex Hunt

    Politics editor, BBC News Online

    Hello and welcome to another day in the pre-election battle. Victoria King and Sarah Weaver will bring you all the action, reaction and analysis in text and you'll be able to watch and listen to all the main BBC political programmes, including the Andrew Marr Show, on this page. Here's how Friday unfolded.

  79. Post update