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Balls: 'I want Lloyds and RBS back in the private sector'

Labour's shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has said he wants bailed out banks back in the private sector but would need to look more closely at a share sale.

Ed Balls: 'I want Lloyds and RBS back in the private sector'. Credit: PA

I am not going to do it by discounting the price at sale, which ends up with a big rise in prices afterwards, which means the killing goes to institutional investors and doesn't go to the tax payer and the national debt.

I hope David Cameron and George Osborne now admit they got the Royal Mail sale badly wrong. I promise you this - I will not short change the tax payer on Lloyds and RBS.

– Labour's shadow Chancellor Ed Balls

Speaking on the Murnaghan show, he said: "I want Lloyds and RBS back in the private sector to get our money back to get the national debt down. Of course I do."

Treasury chief criticises Tory Lloyds share sell-off plan

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has criticised the Conservatives' proposal to sell shares in the bailed-out Lloyds bank.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. Credit: PA

This idea is one that we have looked at several times in government... and decided against, because it's not been clear that we'd be able, through this method, to get the money back for the taxpayer.

The British people have put a lot of money and made a lot of sacrifices as a consequence of the financial crisis, and as we are able to return these banks to the private sector, people should be able to benefit.

The point I'm making about this Tory plan is, I'm not sure anyone can have any certainty it will actually happen... unless the Conservatives are saying that they'd sell these shares even if they didn't get the taxpayers' money back, and I think that would be a highly irresponsible thing to do.

– Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live


Cameron: Tories still targeting overall majority

David Cameron says he is not going to "not going to talk about anything other than winning an overall majority" in May's election.

Prime Minister David Cameron. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

Asked whether his private pollsters were saying an Conservative majority was increasingly unlikely, Mr Cameron told Andrew Marr: "No."

The Prime Minister said he was not planning to do any post-election deals with any other party, including Ukip.

He also refused to comment on whether he would step down as leader if he failed to win a majority.

Sturgeon: 'I have no plans for another referendum'

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said she has "no plans for another referendum" adding that "something substantive would have to change".

Sturgeon: 'I have no plans for another referendum'. Credit: PA

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Ms Sturgeon admitted that she did believe that Scotland would become an independent country at some stage but that "the people are in charge at every step of the way".

Vince Cable 'pretty sure' Tories won't win majority

Business Secretary Vince Cable says he is "pretty sure" the Tories will not secure an overall majority at the general election.

Vince Cable speaking this morning. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

Mr Cable admitted it would be "difficult to work with the Conservatives or Labour" in the event of a hung Parliament, but added that it was the Liberal Democrat's mindset to show "we can work with other parties in the national interest".

The Business Secretary told the BBC's Andrew Marr that he did not have any "personal preferences" as to who he would rather work with, but he label the Tories' spending plans as "potentially horrendous" and criticise Labour's policy on cutting the deficit.

He also denied suggestions he was in communication with Labour leader Ed Miliband behind the scenes.

Mr Cable said it was "very clear" Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg will retain his seat in Sheffield Hallam, as he refused to be drawn on his own leadership ambitions.

Cameron calls for tactical voting to stop Labour and the SNP

The Prime Minister has called for voters to use tactical voting to stop Labour and the SNP taking power. David Cameron wrote in the The Sunday Times, urging UKip and Liberal Democrat and Ukip supporters not to “waste” their votes.

Vote for Ukip or the Liberal Democrats and you take Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon a step closer to Downing Street — and our government, economy and country a step closer to chaos.

– David Cameron

He wrote that Nicola Sturgeon is a “hostage-taker” who would demand “more borrowing, more taxes and more welfare”.


Maltese PM: 'Many feared dead' after boat capsizes

"Many" people are feared to have died after a boat carrying hundreds of migrants capsized in the Mediterranean, the Maltese prime minister has said.

Boat 'carrying 700 migrants capsizes near Lampedusa'

A boat carrying as many as 700 migrants has capsized near the Italian island of Lampedusa, prompting a major search operation, according to reports.

Credit: ITV News

Twenty-eight people have been rescued after the incident, which occurred around 120 miles off Lampedusa, the Times of Malta said.

The migrants are believed to have fallen overboard just after midnight when the group moved to one side of the vessel as a merchant ship approached.

The reported incident comes just days after 400 migrants are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean.

Labour: Most important thing is best value for taxpayers

Reacting to the Tories' pledge to offer cut-price Lloyds shares to small investors, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie said:

The Tories have now announced this seven times.

They promised it before the last election and they're turning to it again just weeks before this election.

The most important thing is getting best value for money for the taxpayer.

That's why we have said all the proceeds from selling back the government's stakes in Lloyds and RBS should be used to repay the national debt.

– Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to Treasury
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