An independent report into how the Liberal Democrats dealt with harassment claims has revealed a series of failings.
ITV News elections analyst Professor Colin Rallings says Labour will make gains in the local elections, but there will be surprises too.
A ComRes Poll for The Coalition for Marriage released on Tuesday night suggested that UKIP could win a staggering 22% of the vote.
In a statement released through the party Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock has said he is withdrawing from the party whip:
– Mike Hancock MP
Following our meeting today I have decided to offer to temporarily withdraw from the parliamentary party in the Commons until the civil court case against me has been concluded.
I can assure you that I will continue to vigorously defend my position and that I completely refute the allegations made against me.
I'm doing this in the best interests of the party nationally and in Portsmouth and for my family.
I will continue to work hard for my constituents in Portsmouth as I have always done.
The Liberal Democrats have hit out at Labour after the shadow chancellor Ed Balls called for the richest pensioners to be stripped of their winter fuel payments.
Susan Kramer, co-chair of the Lib Dem Parliamentary Party Treasury Committee, said: “Three years into this parliament and Labour still has no credible economic policies.
"Ed Balls’ proposed savings are a drop in the ocean.
"The idea Labour can demonstrate ‘iron discipline’ on spending is laughable."
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says Westminster needs "top-to-toe" reform, but it will take time to get things right.
Mr Clegg pushed the case for a statutory register of lobbyists and a mechanism to sack rule-breaking MPs:
The deputy leader of the House of Commons, Tom Brake, has said there is a need to "clean up politics" and admitted that there are some "rotten apples" who give the majority of politicians a bad name.
The Liberal Democrat MP told Daybreak that a statutory register of lobbyists would "provide some transparency" by helping MPs "know who they're meeting and for what purpose".
Nick Clegg has said that "greater transparency" is needed at Westminster in a bid to stop people abusing the system.
Writing in The Telegraph after the suspension of two peers and the resignation of a third amid allegations of wrong-doing, he says: "We need to be realistic: there is no single, magical protection against an individual politician determined to behave unethically or inappropriately.
"We also need to be fair: the overwhelming majority of lobbying activity is legitimate, and much of it actively serves the public interest by ensuring decision makers know what’s at stake in the decisions they make.
"But clearly there are instances where access is abused – further undermining the already weak public trust in our institutions – and greater transparency is a key part of the antidote."
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has pledged to introduce new regulation to tackle lobbying. Among his reforms, detailed in The Telegraph, are:
- A new power of recall
– Nick Clegg writing in The Telegraph
In the remaining two years of this parliament there are still a number of worthwhile changes we can make. One is a new power of recall, where any MP guilty of serious misconduct could be forced to resign if enough of their constituents wanted them to. We need to tread carefully though: kangaroo courts are as corrosive for our democracy as errant MPs. So the new mechanism must not be open to abuse by political opponents looking to oust one another from their parliamentary seats.
- A statutory register of lobbyists
– Nick Clegg writing in The Telegraph
Another is better regulation of the lobbying industry through a statutory register of lobbyists... As set out in the Coalition Agreement, the Prime Minister and I are both determined that the register should go ahead as part of a broad package of measures to clean up the way politics is done in this country.
Nick Clegg has pledged new regulation to tackle lobbying in a bid to create a "cleaner and better politics".
Following the suspension of two peers and the resignation of a third amid allegations they offered to exercise influence in return for cash, the Deputy Prime Minister has said the current political system is "crying out for head-to-toe reform".
Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Clegg says: "Westminster remains a place where power is hoarded, decisions are opaque, and the people who take those decisions are not properly held to account. Our political system has long been crying out for head-to-toe reform."
– Liberal Democrat spokesperson
Following Mike Hancock's receipt of legal papers in a High Court civil action, Nick Clegg asked the Chief Whip to convene an urgent meeting under the disciplinary procedures of the parliamentary party between Nick Clegg, Simon Hughes, the Chief Whip and Mike Hancock.
This meeting will take place in Westminster on Monday afternoon. Mike Hancock strenuously denies the accusations.
We are not pre-judging the outcome of the case, but given the seriousness of the allegations, Nick Clegg has instructed the Chief Whip to invoke the disciplinary procedures of the party.
Liberal Democrat spokesman on Mike Hancock: The urgent meeting under party disciplinary procedures will take place in Westminster on Monday afternoon.
A Lib Dem spokesperson said the party is still "hoping to have this meeting today" but if that was not possible they will hold it at the earliest opportunity.