One poll shows a Conservative lead. Another a Labour lead.  And with no Tory breakthrough to date, the Prime Minister appeals to LibDem and UKIP voters to switch

David Cameron 11-04-15“So if you are considering voting Ukip or Lib Dem, I urge you to think of the chaos of a weak Ed Miliband, propped up by Nicola Sturgeon demanding ever more borrowing and more taxes. Only a Conservative vote in your local constituency will keep Ed Miliband and the SNP out and secure Britain’s future. If you want a brighter future for you and your family, please use your vote carefully. Let’s see through the job we’ve started — and make our great country greater still.” - Sunday Times (£)

YouGov shows Labour ahead…

“Today’s YouGov survey puts Labour on 36% with the Tories on 33%, the largest lead that Miliband has enjoyed for a week….Senior Conservatives last night compared the leadership to the failed generals of the First World War.” - Sunday Times (£)

…And Kellner says that Miliband is winning the campaign…

KELLNER Peter“The facts have changed, so I have changed my mind. Until last week I expected the Conservatives to remain the largest party in next month’s election. Now the contest looks too close to call….It’s not just our voting intention figures. What our survey makes clear is that the Tories are losing both the air war and the ground war. Voters are warming to the idea of an Ed Miliband-led government.” – Sunday Times (£)

…But Opinium finds the Conservatives ahead by four points

“The Conservatives have opened up a four-point lead over Labour, according to the latest Opinium/Observer poll. The Tories are unchanged on 36% compared with last weekend, while Labour is down two points on 32%.” – The Observer

Boris is unleashed: he takes to the Mail on Sunday to declare the election “a battle for Britain”

Screen shot 2015-04-19 at 08.43.29“Labour wants to go back to the 1970s, Ukip to some non-existent version of a monochrome 1950s, the Greens would like to go back to the middle of the stone age, and the Lib Dems would probably settle for any epoch in which they were above five per cent in the polls.  There is only one party presenting itself for election on May 7 that seems to believe in the genius of this country, and that has a plan to take it forward. It is only the Conservatives that understand the real economic and social significance of all those British cars lined up at Bristol.” – Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Boris. Out and about in Finchley. And Chiswick. And Chippenham. And Stroud. And…

Other Comment:

  • Bogeymen are breaking the two-party system – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • There will be no single party government – Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer
  • There’s a real difference between the two big parties – Janet Daley, Sunday Telegraph
  • Why the Conservatives should talk up success – Camilla Cavendish, Sunday Times (£)
  • Any good Tory can surely see that this right to buy is wrong – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)

Cameron and Osborne play latest Thatcherite card – a ‘Tell Sid’ sale of Lloyds Bank shares

Screen shot 2015-04-19 at 08.31.27“Millions of people will be able to buy shares in Lloyds Bank, under a dramatic Conservative plan to launch a “Tell Sid”-style mass privatisation of the bailed-out banking firm. David Cameron is promising to order the sale of billions of pounds of Lloyds shares to the public within a year, at a discount of at least 5 per cent, if the Tories win the election on May 7.” – Sunday Telegraph

Other campaign news

  • Wing and a prayer: Cameron speaks at Christian “Festival of Life”… Sunday Express
  • …and dons traditional orange patka while Sam Cameron sports a blue headscarf as they campaign in Gravesend’s Gurdwara – Sunday Telegraph
  • (Cameron’s clashes with Sam over whether their children should be allowed to have tattoos – Sun on Sunday (£) )
  • Housing Minister Kris Hopkins feared risks from right-to-buy homes sell-off plan - The Observer
  • We will help schools with pressure from immigration – Nicky Morgan interview, Sunday Telegraph
  • Tesco Chairman attacks EU referendum plan - Independent on Sunday
  • Pickles moves to scrap local authority “golden goodbyes”- Sunday Express
  • Zac Goldsmith: I’ll trigger a by-election over Heathrow – Independent on Sunday
  • Jesse Norman to be probed by police over claims he tried to ‘bribe’ voters with chocolate cake (following the case UKIP candidate investigated for offering voters sausage rolls) – Mail on Sunday
  • Richard Graham court case tweets drama – Mail on Sunday
  • “Top Tories fear that calling the next royal baby Edward could win Miliband votes” - Sun on Sunday (£)

And the assault on the Miliband continues: New Tory poster shows how puppet-master Nicola Sturgeon would help lead Britain by pulling his strings

Screen shot 2015-04-19 at 05.55.55“SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon pulls “puppet” Ed Miliband’s strings in a new Tory poster . Conservative chairman Grant Shapps said: “The only way Miliband might crawl to No10 is if he’s carried there by the SNP.” Labour is sending 20 campaigners who impressed in last year’s referendum to fight the SNP amid fears of a wipeout.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • SNP back Labour on English tuition fees – Scotsman
  • Party supporters tell Andrew Gilligan that MI5 rigged the independence referendum – Sunday Telegraph
  • SNP government milks wind farms for cash – Sunday Express
  • Sturgeon can hit next PM where it hurts – Isabel Hardman – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • (But Robert Harris asks: Could Sturgeon prop up Cameron? – Sunday Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – It’s time for Cameron to get out the soap box

> Yesterday: Andy Morris on Comment – Why I’m relishing the chance of making the moral case for conservatism in Glasgow

May slams DPP’s decision not to prosecute Greville Janner

“Theresa May became the first Cabinet Minister to question the DPP’s judgment in ruling that the 86-year-old should not be prosecuted on the grounds that his dementia is now too advanced for him to have a fair trial. The Home Secretary told the BBC: ‘I was very concerned when I heard about this decision. I have been very clear in everything I have said so far about the child sexual abuse issue… I expect to see justice done.’” – Mail on Sunday

Miliband says: One Nation Tories, vote for me

MILIBAND party broadcast“Ed Miliband has made a direct pitch for the support of disaffected “one nation” Tories, insisting that he is on “the centre ground of politics” and would save the country from David Cameron’s rightwing, anti-EU agenda. In an interview with the Observer, two-and-a-half weeks before polling day, Miliband reaches out to moderate Tories, saying Labour is now a party of “fiscal discipline” and social conscience that would tackle inequality and keep the UK firmly at the heart of Europe.” – The Observer

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – Labour should cease weaponising foodbanks

Is Clegg dropping hints that the LibDems will back Cameron?…

CURSE OF CLEGG one“Despite growing public confidence in the economic recovery, Clegg said: “It is still very fragile, it’s much more fragile than people think. The great danger is complacency that somehow the economic recovery is now on autopilot. It is not. It can be thrown into reverse in a millisecond.” After our chat I am told that this form of words, with its allusions to Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, is not a coincidence. It should be spelt “Mili-second”.” – Sunday Times (£)

…And will UKIP be down to one seat – Carswell’s?

CARSWELL Douglas Marr“Leading academics say Nigel Farage will fail in his bid to reach the Commons. And they warn current MP Mark Reckless will also suffer an embarrassing defeat in his Rochester & Strood seat. Only Tory turncoat Douglas Carswell will hang on to his seat leaving him as Ukip’s sole MP and triggering a leadership contest. The stark forecast makes a mockery of Mr Farage’s prediction five months ago that his party would win up to 40 seats. And it comes as Ukip insiders raised serious doubts about the party’s campaign, with one saying: “The ground game has gone to sh*t.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Greens “could ban England from World Cup games”

“Matches with Argentina and Spain may also be axed under the eco-warriors’ plans. The Greens want to give ministers the power to stop sports games with nations “with whom normal friendly, respectful, or diplomatic relations aren’t possible”. The veto would also apply to countries with poor human rights.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

The Palace is nervous of being dragged into party politics if the Commons is hung

Screen shot 2015-04-19 at 08.38.08“Sources close to the royal household said last night that neither leader should approach the Queen to form a government until they are sure they can command the confidence of the House of Commons. With a hung parliament on the cards, courtiers are concerned that either leader could ambush the Queen with an attempt to rule as a minority government and “borrow her support” to cement their claims to power.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • The civil service sharpens the axe for up to nine ministries  – Sunday Times (£)
  • Last ditch drive to get missing million on register – The Observer

> Today: Mark Fox on Comment – Never mind the scoffers and cynics. This election is a moment to celebrate our democracy

Labour candidate wins four-year ‘wife beater’ legal fight against the London Bangla, a Lutfur Rahman-supporting freshet, which eventually admitted ‘there was no truth to the allegation’

“The weekly freesheet – written in Bengali and English – was a fierce supporter of Mr Rahman and was distributed outside mosques in the area. Mr Abbas started court proceedings against London Bangla’s editor, Shah Yousuf, 35, soon after the election. After a four-year legal battle, Mr Yousuf has admitted there was ‘no truth to the allegation’ and has agreed to pay damages and legal costs.” – Mail on Sunday

News in Brief

…And finally: Students cheer as Tony Abbott downs a beer in six seconds

“Mr Abbott was asked to have a drink by University of Technology Sydney Bats coach Simon Carradous, and the Prime Minister happily obliged. It appeared to take the Prime Minister about six seconds to down the schooner, as players cheered and chanted ‘skol’ and ‘Tony’.” – Mail on Sunday

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